Two of Toronto's top treats - David Kane's Born Romantic and Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous bookend the 44th London Film Festival. Unveiling the programme on Wednesday (13th September), festival director Adrian Wootton described it as London's 'biggest and, we believe, best yet'. With attendance's last year of over 120,000, London is already the UK's largest festival, while a title sponsorship deal with Regus Offices has allowed the programme to increase by 20 to 196 features during the two week run.
Cameron Crowe will be in town with cast and crew for the opening Gala - his semi-autobiographical tale Almost Famous which is already being hailed by American critics as the best US film of the year. Born Romantic, David Kane's highly anticipated follow up to UK hit This Year's Love closes the festival. The London-set romantic comedy features Brit stars Craig Ferguson, Ian Hart, Jane Horrocks, Adrian Lester and Catherine McCormack.
Gala screenings include David Mamet's comic film industry expose, State and Main; Woody Allen's Small Time Crooks, staring Hugh Grant and Tracey Ullman; music video director Jonathon Glazer's hotly anticipated debut, Sexy Beast, staring Ray Winstone and Ben Kingsley; Steve Buscemi's Animal Factory; and Phillip Kaufman's Marquis de Sade piece, Quills, staring Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslett and Michael Caine.
Celebrity appears to be a recurring theme at the festival: alongside Almost Famous and State and Main is John Water's Cecil B Demented, Denys Arcand's Stardom and actor-director Griffin Dunne's famous. Real-life celebrities expected to make an appearance include Kate Winslet, Johnny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow, Woody Allen, Melanie Grffith, Charlize Theron and James Caan.
With over £1 million in funding secured over the next three years from Regus, who provide serviced offices, London has been able to expand to an eighth venue, increase the number of films, freeze ticket prices and expand the regional cinema tour of the leading films to thirteen venues. Also new this year is the first Royal Charity Premiere - Into The Arms of Strangers - which will be attended by Prince Charles.
Other major films at the festival include Gurinder Chadha's What's Cooking?; The Yards with Mark Wahlberg and Faye Dunaway; Bruce Paltrow directing daughter Gwyneth in Duets; Dominik Moll's Harry, He's Here to Help; The Big Kahuna with Kevin Spacey and Danny DeVito; Rob Schmidt's Crime and Pubishment in Suburbia; Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Stephen Frear's acclaimed Liam; Darren Aronofsky's Requiem For A Dream; Sally Potter's The Man Who Cried; Kathryn Bigelow's The Weight of Water; Benoit Jacquot's Sade; the European premiere of The Contender, starring Gary Oldman, Joan Allen and Jeff Bridges; and Gregory Moshers The Prime Gig, starring Vince Vaughn, Ed Harris and Julia Ormond.
The festival runs from November 1st to 16th. Tickets range from £6 - £16.50 and can be booked from 29th September. For further details, visit www.lff.co.uk, or phone +44 (0 )7973 100 222 to recceive a free brochure.