BBC films out in force at London Film Festival

Published: 1 September 2022

Updated: 1 September 2022

Congratulations to all the filmmakers and their teams, backed by BBC Film, who have been selected for this year’s exceptional programme at BFI London Film Festival.”— Eva Yates, Director of BBC Film

Storyville documentaries Blue Bag Life and Casa Susanna will also screen to festival-goers. 

The BBC has backed a bumper crop of films selected for this year’s BFI London Film Festival (LFF), including several by first and second-time British filmmakers.

The Damned Don’t Cry (Les damnés ne pleurent pas), Fyzal Boulifa’s second film backed by BBC Film, the feature filmmaking arm of the BBC, will screen in the Official Competition for the Best Film Award, following its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival.

Blue Jean, from debut feature filmmaker Georgia Oakley, starring Rosy McEwen, Kerrie Hayes and newcomer Lucy Halliday, is in the First Feature Competition and will also premiere in Venice before coming to London.

Joining Blue Jean in the First Feature Competition is Medusa Deluxe, the debut feature from Thomas Hardiman, which premiered at the Locarno Film Festival in August. Pretty Red Dress, the debut feature of Dionne Edwards starring Natey Jones, Alexandra Burke and newcomer Temilola Olatunbosun will receive its world premiere in London.

The Eternal Daughter, the latest film from Joanna Hogg, which continues her creative collaboration with Tilda Swinton, will have its UK premiere in London as a Special Presentation, following a world premiere in Venice. Both The Eternal Daughter and Blue Jean have also been selected for the Toronto Film Festival, where Allelujah, directed by Richard Eyre with a stellar cast including Jennifer Saunders, newcomer Bally Gill and Judi Dench, will have its world premiere before its European premiere as a Special Selection in London. Allelujah opens in UK cinemas on 17 February 2023.

The festival will also host the European premiere of Aisha, written and directed by Frank Berry, starring Letitia Wright and Josh O’Connor, which first screened at the Tribeca Festival in New York.

Ruben Östlund’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner Triangle Of Sadness, starring Harris Dickinson and Charlbi Dean, will screen as a Special Selection before opening in UK cinemas on 28 October. Also selected for the London Film Festival is Scottish filmmaker Charlotte Wells’ debut feature Aftersun, which won a jury prize in Cannes Critics’ Week and received its UK premiere at this year’s Edinburgh Film Festival. Aftersun opens in UK cinemas on 18 November. Triangle Of Sadness and Aftersun will both have their North American premieres in Toronto.

The nine BBC Film features are joined by short film My Eyes Are Up Here, directed by Nathan Morris, which will be shown as part of the short film programme.

Two films backed by Storyville, the BBC’s international feature documentary strand, have been selected for the London Film Festival: Blue Bag Life, a film by Lisa Selby, Rebecca Lloyd-Evans, Alex Fry, Josie Cole and Natasha Dack Ojumu, will have its world premiere, alongside the UK premiere of Casa Susanna, directed by Sébastien Lifshitz, which is in the Documentary Competition for the Grierson Award and will also shortly be seen in Venice and Toronto.

Eva Yates, Director of BBC Film, says: “Congratulations to all the filmmakers and their teams, backed by BBC Film, who have been selected for this year’s exceptional programme at BFI London Film Festival. It is particularly significant that, included in these titles by many of the most exciting filmmakers working today, are outstanding debuts from three British women filmmakers.”

In response to the sudden death of Charlbi Dean, which was announced this week, Eva Yates added: “Now and during the festival, our thoughts are particularly with the loved ones and colleagues of Charlbi Dean, whose Triangle Of Sadness sees its UK premiere during LFF.”

Emma Hindley, Interim Lead Commissioning Editor of Storyville, says: “We’re delighted for the teams behind Blue Bag Life and Casa Susanna, two incredibly compelling documentaries from Storyville that we’re proud to bring to UK audiences.”

Additionally, a virtual reality version of Storyville title On the Morning You Wake (To The End Of The World), which is currently available on BBC iPlayer, will be presented as part of the festival’s LFF Expanded strand.

The 66th BFI London Film Festival takes place on 5-16 October.


About the films (in alphabetical order):


Francesca Corio and Paul Mescal

Written and directed by Charlotte Wells.

Sophie (newcomer Frankie Corio, and Celia Rowlson-Hall as adult Sophie) reflects on the shared joy and private melancholy of a holiday she took with her father (Paul Mescal) 20 years earlier. Memories real and imagined fill the gaps between miniDV footage, as she tries to reconcile the father she knew with the man she didn’t.

Produced by Adele Romanski, Amy Jackson, Barry Jenkins and Mark Ceryak, Aftersun is a Pastel/Unified Theory production presented by BBC Film, BFI and Screen Scotland in association with Tango. The film was developed with BBC Film and was selected for the Sundance Institute’s Directors and Screenwriters Labs in 2020.


Aisha Osagie (Letitia Wright)Aisha Osagie (Letitia Wright)

Written and directed by Frank Berry.

Aisha charts the experiences of a young Nigerian woman as she seeks international protection in Ireland. Caught in limbo for years in Ireland’s immigration system, Aisha Osagie (Letitia Wright) develops a friendship with former prisoner Conor Healy (Josh O’Connor) whom she meets at one of the accommodation centres. Aisha and Conor’s growing friendship soon looks to be short-lived, as Aisha’s future in Ireland comes under threat.

A Subotica production, Aisha is produced by Tristan Orpen Lynch, Aoife O’Sullivan, Donna Eperon and Park Pictures’ Sam Bisbee. The film was developed and financed by Screen Ireland, BBC Film, RTE and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland in association with Park Pictures, Wavelength and World of Ha Productions.


Allelujah - Ross Tomlinson Gerald conducts the hospital choirAllelujah – Ross Tomlinson Gerald conducts the hospital choir

Directed by Richard Eyre from a screenplay by Heidi Thomas. Based on the stage play by Alan Bennett.

When the geriatric ward in a small Yorkshire hospital is threatened with closure, the hospital decides to fight back by galvanizing the local community – and invite a news crew to film their preparations for a concert in honour of the hospital’s most distinguished nurse. What could go wrong?

Allelujah celebrates the spirit of the elderly patients whilst paying tribute to the deep humanity of the medical staff battling with limited resources and ever-growing demand.

The cast is led by Jennifer Saunders and newcomer Bally Gill, supported by Judi Dench, Derek Jacobi, David Bradley, Russell Tovey and Julia McKenzie.

Allelujah is produced by Kevin Loader and Damian Jones. It is a Pathé, BBC Film and Ingenious Media presentation of a DJ Films/Redstart Production. Executive Producers are Cameron McCracken and Jenny Borgars for Pathé, Rose Garnett for BBC Film, Andrea Scarso for Ingenious Media; Alan Bennett, Nicholas Hytner, Charles Moore and Paul Grindey.

Blue Bag Life

The word 'mum' spray-painted above a bed and RIP on the pillow

A film by Lisa Selby, Rebecca Lloyd-Evans, Alex Fry, Josie Cole and Natasha Dack-Ojumu.

A story gleaned from material collected over a lifetime.

Lisa Selby, an artist and lecturer, has always documented her life in paint, words, photographs and film. As Lisa struggles to comprehend why her mother, Helen, (charismatic, articulate, beautiful and addicted to heroin), didn’t raise her, Helen dies. Lisa now begins to get to know the woman she never called Mother, through the things she left behind and the memories of people who knew her. At the same time, Lisa’s partner Elliot relapses on heroin and is incarcerated.

Through her love for Elliot, Lisa comes to understand addiction, and Helen, differently – and uncovers a new understanding of Motherhood within herself.

Directed by Rebecca Lloyd-Evans, Lisa Selby, Alex Fry, edited by Alex Fry and Rebecca Lloyd-Evans, written by Josie Cole and Lisa Selby and produced by Natasha Dack Ojumu. Commissioning Editor for BBC Storyville is Lucie Kon, Executive Producer for BFI Doc Society Fund is Shanida Scotland and Executive Producer for Tigerlily Productions is Nikki Parrott.

BFI Doc Society Fund presents in association with BBC Storyville a Tigerlily Production.

Blue Jean

Jean (Rosy McEwen)Jean (Rosy McEwen)

Written and directed by Georgia Oakley.

England, 1988. Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government is about to pass a law stigmatizing gays and lesbians, forcing Jean, a gym teacher, to live a double life. As pressure mounts from all sides, the arrival of a new girl at school catalyses a crisis that will challenge Jean to her core.

Blue Jean stars Rosy McEwen as Jean. The cast also includes Kerrie Hayes and newcomer Lucy Halliday.

Produced by Hélène Sifre for Kleio Films, executive produced by Eva Yates for BBC Film and Jim Reeve for Great Point Media and financed by BBC Film and the BFI in association with Great Point Media. Blue Jean was developed through iFeatures 5 (2018) and Inside Out Finance Forum (2019) and with the support of BBC Film.

Casa Susanna


A film by Sébastien Lifshitz with the collaboration of Isabelle Bonnet.

In the 50s and 60s, deep in the American countryside at the foot of the Catskills, a small wooden house with a barn behind it was home to the first clandestine network of cross-dressers.

Diane and Kate are now 80 years old. At the time, they were men and part of this secret organisation. Today, they relate this forgotten but essential chapter of the early days of trans identity. It is a story full of noise and fury, rich in extraordinary characters, including the famous Susanna, who had the courage to create this refuge that came to be known as Casa Susanna.

Casa Susanna is an Agat Films production in coproduction with ARTE France, American Experience Films in association BBC Storyville with the support of La PROCIREP – ANGOA, with the participation of CNC International sales PBS WGHB.

The Eternal Daughter

Tilda Swinton in The Eternal DaughterTilda Swinton in The Eternal Daughter

Written and directed by Joanna Hogg.

An artist and her elderly mother confront long-buried secrets when they return to their former family home, a once-grand manor haunted by its mysterious past. Starring Tilda Swinton, Joseph Mydell, and Carly-Sophia Davies.

The Eternal Daughter is an Element Pictures production in association JWH Films presented by A24 and BBC Film, who backed development and production. The producers are Ed Guiney, Andrew Lowe, Emma Norton, Joanna Hogg. Executive Producers are Rose Garnett and Martin Scorsese.

The Damned Don’t Cry (Les Damnés Ne Pleurent Pas)

Fatima-Zahra (Aicha Tebbae) and Selim (Abdellah El Hajjouji)Fatima-Zahra (Aicha Tebbae) and Selim (Abdellah El Hajjouji)

Written and directed by Fyzal Boulifa.

Fatima-Zahra and her teenage son Selim move from place to place, forever trying to outrun the latest scandal she’s caught up in. When Selim discovers the truth about their past, Fatima-Zahra vows to make a fresh start. In Tangier, new opportunities promise the legitimacy they each crave – but not without pushing the volatile mother-son relationship to breaking point.

Principal cast: Aicha Tebbae, Abdellah El Hajjouji, with the participation of Antoine Reinartz.

BBC Film presents a Vixens production in co-production with Frakas Productions and Kasbah Films in association with Rosetta Productions with the support of BBC Film, Eurimages, Aide aux cinémas du monde – Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée – Institut Français, Centre du cinéma et de l’audiovisuel de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles, Centre Cinématographique Marocain, Fonds Image de la Francophonie, Belga Productions, Tax Shelter du Gouvernement Fédéral Belge, Proximus, Charades and New Story.

The producers are Gary Farkas, Clément Lepoutre, Olivier Muller, Karim Debbagh. The coproducers are Cassandre Warnauts, Jean-Yves Roubin. In association with Camilla Bray. Executive Producer for BBC Film is Eva Yates.

Medusa Deluxe

still from Medusa DeluxeMedusa Deluxe

Written and directed by Thomas Hardiman.

A murder mystery set in a competitive hairdressing competition. Extravagance and excess collide, as the death of one of their own sows seeds of division in a community whose passion for hair verges on obsession.

The film features Clare Perkins, Anita-Joy Uwajeh, Kae Alexander, Harriet Webb, Darrell D’Silva and Luke Pasqualino.

Medusa Deluxe is produced by Michael Elliott, Louise Palmkvist Hansen and Lee Groombridge and is an EMU Films production. The film was developed and financed by the BFI and BBC Film, and produced in association with Time Based Arts. Executive Producers are Eva Yates for BBC Film, Lizzie Francke for BFI, and Jim Mooney & Walli Ullah for EMU.

My Eyes Are Up Here (short film)

Ben Cura and Jillian Mercado in bedBen Cura, Jillian Mercado

Directed by Nathan Morris, written by Aminder Virdee and Arthur Meek.

A disabled woman sets off on a mission to get the morning after pill. The only thing in her way is… everything.

The short film stars Jillian Mercado and Ben Cura. Producers are Katie Dolan, Vanessa Muir and Naomi Wallwork. Executive Producers are Dionne Farrell, Josic Cadoret and Justin Edgar.

BBC Film and BFI Network present a WIP Media production in association with Contentability and Sweet Punch.

Pretty Red Dress

Travis (Natey Jones)Travis (Natey Jones)

Written and directed by Dionne Edwards.

Set against the backdrop of South London and humming with the energy of iconic Tina Turner hits, Pretty Red Dress follows a family tested to their limit when Travis (Natey Jones), fresh out of jail, is found wearing a dress by his partner Candice (Alexandra Burke) and secretive teenage daughter Kenisha (newcomer Temilola Olatunbosun). The family is sent spinning by this startling discovery and the truths that remain.

The film is produced by Georgia Goggin. Executive Producers are Farhana Bhula, Eva Yates, Jim Reeve, Robert Halmi and Bennett McGhee.

BFI and BBC FILM present in association with Magellanic Media Limited with support from Great Point Media a Teng Teng Film.

Triangle Of Sadness

Yaya (Charlbi Dean Kriek) and Carl (Harris Dickinson) Yaya (Charlbi Dean Kriek) and Carl (Harris Dickinson)

Written and directed by Ruben Östlund.

Triangle Of Sadness is an uninhibited satire where roles and class are inverted and the tawdry economic value of beauty is unveiled.

Models Carl (Harris Dickinson) and Yaya (Charlbi Dean) are navigating the world of fashion while exploring the boundaries of their relationship. The couple are invited for a luxury cruise with a rogues’ gallery of super-rich passengers – a Russian oligarch, British arms dealers and an idiosyncratic, alcoholic, Marx-quoting captain (Woody Harrelson). At first, all appears Instagrammable. But a storm is brewing, and heavy seasickness hits the passengers during the seven-course captain’s dinner.

The cruise ends catastrophically. Carl and Yaya find themselves marooned on a desert island with a group of billionaires and one of the ship’s cleaners. Hierarchy is suddenly flipped upside down, as the housekeeper is the only one who knows how to fish.

Triangle Of Sadness is produced by Erik Hemmendorff and Philippe Bober. Among the co-producers are Marina Perales Marhuenda, Giorgos Karnavas, Per Damgaard, Julio Chavezmontes and Mike Goodridge.

Imperative Entertainment presents in association with Film i Väst, BBC Film, 30 West a Plattform Produktion production in co-production with Essential Films, Coproduction Office,Sveriges Television, ZDF/Arte, Arte France Cinéma, TRT Sinema with the support of Svenska Filminstitutet, Eurimages, Council of Europe, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, The Danish Film Institute, MOIN – Film Fund Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein and BFI with the participation of Nordisk Film & TV Fond, Arte France, DR, Canal+ and Cine+, in association with Heretic, Bord Cadre films, Sovereign Films, PIANO.

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