Raindance and London Film Festivals make more events free to public

As film festivals around the world continue to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic – with Cannes announcing only yesterday that it will stage a three-day event next month – two of the biggest festivals in the UK have given details of more of their events being made free to the public.

The BFI – which organises next month’s London Film Festival – is to provide free online access to a programme of talks and events featuring stars including Tilda Swinton, Riz Ahmed, Letitia Wright and Miranda July.

The initiative will include a series of in-depth talks that the BFI says are “designed to get audiences thinking and engaged in debate around the pressing issues explored in a number of the Festival titles this year.” There’ll also be a programme of events largely targeted at film enthusiasts under the age of 25.

This year’s London Film Festival Awards will be chosen by online audiences

The head of the festival, Tricia Tuttle, said: “It was important to us to offer many ways to engage with the Festival for free this year, and we are excited that this incredible range of speakers and talks is available for free, not just to anyone in the UK, but also wherever you are in the world.“

The Festival will end with its traditional awards ceremony, but this year, the public will take the place of the jury, choosing the winners in four categories, Best Fiction Feature, Best Documentary Feature, Best Short Film and Best XR, or “extended reality” work. The ceremony will also be used to reveal the winner of this year’s IWC Schaffhausen Filmmaker Bursary Award, presented in association with the BFI.

Raindance – which has been moved to the end of next month – will feature a reduced range of independent films, mostly online and “mostly available free of charge,” although the organisers are asking for donations from those who can afford it, to help them stage the event next year.