Story by: Jack Foley
SOME of Hollywood's leading actresses are to feature prominently
at this year's London Film Festival, which takes place from October
22 to November 6 this year.
Meg Ryan, Nicole Kidman and Gwyneth Paltrow are some of the established
stars whose new projects will be given a high profile, as will
work by Sofia Coppola, Emily Young and Iranian sisters Samira
and Hana Makhmalbaf.
Ryan's film, In The Cut,
which is produced by Nicole Kidman and directed by Jane Campion,
has been chosen to open the festival, while New Zealander, Christine
Jeffs' Sylvia, starring Gwyneth Paltrow, will bring events to
a close, two weeks later.
Sylvia is the highly anticipated film of the relationship between
American writer, Sylvia Plath, and husband, Ted Hughes, played
by Road To Perdition
star, Daniel Craig.
The festival also marks Sandra Hebron's first as its sole artistic
The programme was launched in London's Leicester Square on Wednesday,
when Ms Hebron said that this year's line-up had 'both glamour
It will represent work from 45 countries - from perfectly formed
three minute shorts to an experimental Chinese epic of over nine
"I'm delighted with the quality and range of the selection,
and pleased to be able to present such a dynamic and relevant
programme," explained Ms Hebron.
"From high profile international premieres and quirky independent
features to socially and culturally illuminating documentaries,
archive restorations and a wealth of short films and videos, this
is without doubt one of our strongest ever programmes.
"The generosity and commitment of so many film-makers planning
to attend the Festival to present their work, combined with an
exciting mix of special events and educational activities, promises
to make this a lively and memorable year."
Of the films to look out for, apart from In The Cut and Sylvia,
are Kidman's duo, Dogville, directed
by Lars von Trier, and The Human
Stain, in which she stars alongside Sir Anthony Hopkins.
The festival's gala section features new works from Bernardo
Bertolucci, John Sayles, Notting Hill's Roger Michell and Amores
Perros director, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu.
Of the more commercial movies, the US horse-racing hit, Seabiscuit,
starring Tobey Maguire, Jeff Bridges and Chris Cooper, as well
as Wonderland - in which Val Kilmer plays legendary porn actor,
John Holmes - and A Mighty Wind, the latest satire from the Spinal
Tap team, will feature in the Film on the Square strand.
BFI director Amanda Nevill said more than 45 countries were represented
at the festival and more than 100,000 filmgoers are expected to
And Robert Thomson, editor of The Times, which is sponsoring
the event for the first time this year, added: "This outstanding
collection of films clearly demonstrate how the Festival celebrates
both the mainstream and the esoteric, the domestic and the foreign,
the youthful and the sagely matured talents who collectively create
the film industry.
"The Times is proud to be the title sponsor of the Festival
and to provide the best coverage of cinema in Britain."