The 67th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express is thrilled to announce this year’s line-up of Screen Talks, in which audiences have the chance to hear first-hand from acclaimed UK and global filmmaking talents. The Screen Talks programme will include the iconic filmmaker and passionate champion of cinema, Martin Scorsese, who returns to the LFF with Killers of the Flower Moon and renowned writer, actor and director Emerald Fennell, whose second feature Saltburn opens this year’s festival.
Director Andrew Haigh will discuss his career to date, culminating in the superb All of Us Strangers, while Lulu Wang will reflect on her work including new series Expats, as will Kitty Green, whose latest feature The Royal Hotel is nominated for Best Film at this year’s festival. In addition to filmmakers with work in this year’s festival, LFF is delighted to welcome director, writer and actor Greta Gerwig, a filmmaker with distinctive humour, authentic voice and unique, personal cinematic vision, whose wholly original, critically acclaimed Barbie has become both a cultural phenomenon and a record-breaking box office success.
It is impossible to talk about cinema over the last 50 years without bringing up the name of Martin Scorsese. The world of film preservation is no less indebted to him, for his championing the art form’s rich and storied past. As he unveils his epic historical drama Killers of the Flower Moon, Scorsese and fellow filmmaker Edgar Wright will take the stage for a wide-ranging conversation about a body of work that is as daring as it is beautiful, as ground-breaking as it is thrilling.
From Mean Streets, Taxi Driver and Raging Bull to The Wolf of Wall Street, Silence and The Irishman, Martin Scorsese has investigated the pursuit of power, the questions of honour and betrayal, the tenets of faith and the many forces that shape the world around us. He has done so with an expressive force that is rarely short of breathtaking.
The author of three books, writer of the second series of Killing Eve, co-creator of a revamped musical version of Cinderella and an actor whose work includes Anna Karenina, Vita & Virginia, Any Human Heart, Call the Midwife and The Crown, Emerald Fennell is also one of the UK’s most exciting filmmakers. In 2019, she wrote and directed her feature debut Promising Young Woman. A blackly comic feminist revenge thriller, starring Carey Mulligan as a woman determined to make men think twice about their behaviour, it garnered a BAFTA for Best Screenplay (Original) and Outstanding British Film of the Year, and an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
Saltburn, Emerald Fennell’s highly anticipated second feature sees the filmmaker widen her scope, with a scabrous critique of class and privilege, that will open this year’s festival. The festival will welcome Fennell to discuss these films and her acclaimed career, both in front of and behind the camera.
Over the course of the last 15 years, Andrew Haigh has enraptured audiences with his features and TV series. His first two films, Greek Pete and Weekend, juggled humour and drama as they explored sexuality, sensuality and intimacy. With his award-winning breakthrough 45 Years, the filmmaker displayed a depth of compassion as he told the story of a long and happy relationship gradually torn apart by a moment from the distant past.
Looking – both the series and subsequent feature – gave us an enthralling portrait of gay lives in San Francisco, while the recent The North Water, a startling adaptation of Ian McGuire’s visceral novel, presented a graphic portrait of life aboard a Victorian arctic whaler. And in contrast to the sublime, understated Lean on Pete, which offered up a plaintive pastoral drama, All of Us Strangers embraces an emotional register that will leave no audience member unmoved, when it screens as one this year’s Headline Galas.
It was while studying music and literature at Boston College that Lulu Wang, inspired by Steven Shainberg’s Secretary, decided to become a filmmaker. Her shorts Storyteller – co-directed with fellow student Tony Hale – and Pisces attracted critical acclaim and awards, which eventually led to her setting up a production company. Her first feature, Posthumous, a smart take on the nature of value in the art world, starring Jack Huston and Britt Marling, was released in 2014.
In May 2016, she narrated the story What You Don’t Know for the radio programme The American Life. It was eventually developed into The Farewell, a moving and funny portrait of family dynamics starring Awkwafina. Premiering at Sundance Film Festival in 2019, The Farewell eventually went on to win the Independent Spirit Award for Best Feature. The festival will welcome Lulu Wang to speak about her career and her new series Expats, which delves into the complex dynamics of Hong Kong’s wealthy expat community, in an adaptation of Janice Y. K. Lee’s bestselling novel.
Across two documentaries and two narrative features, filmmaker Kitty Green has made work that grappled with misogyny and prejudice towards women that lie at the heart of so many societies. With her 2013 debut, Ukraine Is Not a Brothel, she joined Ukrainian feminist activists Femen as they adopted a radical strategy to the way they saw women being portrayed in their homeland. In Casting JonBenet the unsolved murder of six-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey is viewed through the sexualisation of young girls.
Green’s international breakthrough, The Assistant, the story of a young employee working for a sexual predator, remains one of the key films to emerge in the aftermath of #MeToo. That drama cemented a partnership with lead actor Julia Garner, who takes centre stage, alongside Jessica Henwick, in the Australian-set backpacker thriller The Royal Hotel, which screens in Official Competition, competing for the Best Film Award at this year’s festival.
Even before the global success of Barbie, Greta Gerwig had established herself as a filmmaker with distinctive humour, an authentic voice and a unique and personal cinematic vision. Gerwig’s early films include the indie classics Hannah Takes the Stairs, which she co-wrote and stars in, and Nights and Weekends, which she co-directed, co-wrote, co-produced and stars in, before her breakout in Noah Baumbach’s film Greenberg opposite Ben Stiller.
She followed up the collaboration with Baumbach co-writing and starring in the critically acclaimed Frances Ha, as well as Mistress America, and they have continued their creative partnership with Gerwig starring in White Noise. Her additional acclaimed performances include standout roles in Jackie and 20th Century Women. Gerwig made her solo feature debut as writer/director of Lady Bird, which was nominated for the Academy Award and the BAFTA for Best Picture.
With the film, Gerwig also became the fifth woman nominated for an Oscar for Best Director and earned Oscar and BAFTA nominations for Best Screenplay. Her second film, also nominated for multiple Oscar and BAFTA awards including Best Picture, was an inventive, emotionally rich adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. Now with Barbie, a wholly original, critically acclaimed, worldwide phenomenon co-written with Baumbach, the filmmaker has delivered one of the most unique filmgoing experiences in years
Thursday 5 October, 12:15 – BFI Southbank
Saturday 7 October, 14:00 – Southbank Centre, Royal Festival Hall
Saturday 7 October, 11:15 – BFI Southbank
Sunday 8 October, 18:00 – BFI Southbank
Monday 9 October, 16:00 – Curzon Soho
Tuesday 10 October, 11:00 – BFI Southbank
On sale on Tuesday 26 September
10:00 – BFI Patrons’ priority booking
11:30 – BFI Champions’ priority booking
12:30 – BFI Members’ priority booking
16:30 – General sale
Ticket prices start from £10 (£5 for BFI 25 & Under account holders) – subject to availability.