A United Kingdom to open London Film Festival 2016

For the second year running, the BFI London Film Festival is opening with a British film directed by a woman.

Rosamund Pike and David Oyelowo in Amma Asante's A United Kingdom
Rosamund Pike and David Oyelowo in Amma Asante’s A United Kingdom

After last year’s Suffragette, the 60th London Film Festival will launch, on 5th October, with A United Kingdom, a 1940s-set drama about a London office worker marrying the King of modern-day Botswana.

The film, directed by Amma Asante, stars Rosamund Pike and David Oyelowo in the lead roles, with Jack Davenport, Terry Pheto, Tom Felton, Jack Lowden and Laura Carmichael among the supporting cast.

The Opening Night Gala screening, which will be shown simultaneously at cinemas across the UK, will be the film’s European Premiere.

The director of the film festival, Clare Stewart, said the film was “testament to a defiant and enduring love story that also reveals a complex, painful chapter in British history.” She said the film had contemporary relevance and celebrates “the triumph of love and intelligence over intolerance and oppression.”

Asante said it was a privilege to have her film selected to open the festival. “The Festival means a lot to me personally, having showcased my very first film, A Way of Life, here and been honoured with the UK Film Talent Award. I’m a proud Londoner and in A United Kingdom, we’ve been able to film in some of the most beautiful parts of the city as well as in the wonderful landscapes of Botswana.”

The rest of the programme will be announced in September.