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National Lottery funded films selected for the BFI London Film Festival

10th Medi 2021

The programme for the BFI London Film Festival, taking place from 6-17 October, has been released and features an incredible 19 films that have received National Lottery funding. Discover our top five feature film highlights heading to the big screen this Autumn, thanks to National Lottery players.

Through the BFI, we're proud to support feature films, documentaries and short films made by diverse creative voices from all over the UK. The BFI London Film Festival is your chance to discover a world of film and, this year, is more accessible than ever! With films showing not just at London’s South Bank and West End, but also at the BFI's partner cinemas in Belfast to Bristol, and on the BFI Player, including free short films – available to enjoy wherever you are in the UK.

Our Top 5 Film Picks...

Mothering Sunday

Our Top 5 Film Picks...

1) Mothering Sunday, directed by Eva Husson

In this beautiful adaptation of Graham Swift’s novel, starring Josh O’Connor and Odessa Young, a writer has a creative awakening steeped in books, love and loss. The story is brought to life through incredible settings, gorgeous costumes, and a terrific extended cast (including Olivia Colman and Colin Firth), making 'Mothering Sunday' one of the Festival's must-sees.

Ali & Ava

2) Ali & Ava, directed by Clio Barnard

Ali, an exuberant music enthusiast and landlord, is struggling to keep his recent separation from his wife a secret from his family. Ava is a pragmatic middle-aged teaching assistant and matriarch to a large and close-knit family, whose latest grandchild has just been born. When a chance encounter unites them, Ali and Ava begin a tentative friendship formed around their shared love of music that quickly blossoms into an unexpected romance...

The Phantom of the Open

3) Phantom of the Open, directed by Craig Roberts

At the age of 46, happy-go-lucky crane operator and family man Maurice Flitcroft (Mark Rylance) feels it’s time to try his hand at something new. Deciding on a whim that golf is his new calling, the budding sportsman sets his sights on mastering the game. But Maurice is not a man to do things by halves, and in a turn of events that you just couldn’t make up, he secures a coveted spot in the qualifying round of the 1976 British Open. With the enduring support of his loving wife and disco-dancing sons, Maurice borrows some books, buys the clobber and gets hold of a set of clubs. There’s only one problem; he has never played a round in his life.

ear for eye

4) ear for eye, written and directed by debbie tucker green

Dynamic and absorbing (as well as brilliantly soundtracked), ear for eye traces racial injustice across time and continents, detailing struggle and triumph, oppression and uprising. Adapted from debbie tucker green’s acclaimed play on racial injustice in the UK and USA, 'ear for eye' is nothing short of mesmerising.


5) Benediction, directed by Terence Davies

Benediction evocatively explores the life of Siegfried Sassoon, known for his poetry on the horrors of the Great War, but also his love affairs with other notable men. Employing a signature collage-style narrative that intercuts dramatic scenes with more expressive sequences, Terence Davies counterpoints key moments in Sassoon’s life – his relationships with Ivor Novello and the aristocrat Stephen Tennant, as well as his later marriage to a woman – with beautiful readings of his poetry over montages of real images of soldiers in wartime.

And don't miss The Souvenir: Part II, True Things, The Feast, Nascondino (Hide and Seek), Earwig (Dare), The Wolf Suit, The Real Charlie Chaplin, and Laika - the other fantastic National Lottery funded films on the programme this year.

True Things

Don't have much time on your hands? Why not try out a short film...

1) Precious Hair & Beauty (Your UK or Mine?)

With observant commentary on the changing landscape of London communities, this is a witty and energetic snapshot of an odd day at a black hair dressers.

2) Hanging On (Find Me Here)

Where there’s money to be made by property developers, there are often lives to be overturned. A subject-lead documentary about displacement that touches on community, identity and value.

3) Diseased & Disorderly (What Are You Looking At?)

Neuro-diverse artist Eden Kötting’s remarkable drawings, paintings and collages create an illusory, animated world where the rules change and everything is possible.

And don’t miss the other National Lottery funded short films, including Know the Grass, Egúngún (Masquerade), and Child of Polycritus.