Previously unseen films chronicling life in the UK, rereleases of cinematic classics, bright new British films –

BFI looks ahead to a year packed with film treats for audiences everywhere

The BFI today reveals a selection of highlights to look forward to in 2015.

Heather Stewart, Creative Director of the BFI said: “The BFI’s 2015 programme promises to cater for every cultural taste. We will open up previously unseen films that shine a new light on British life, bring must-see classics back to big screens across the country, and we will help audiences everywhere celebrate the very best of British and world cinema.”

Britain on Film is a major project to reveal the extraordinary treasures and unexpected pleasures of the nation’s film archives, as never before, uncovering rich and rarely seen images of life in the UK. Including key holdings of the BFI National Archive, and in close collaboration with regional archives and commercial partners, Britain on Film will connect 21st century audiences with our shared past. This is an unprecedented opportunity to discover lives lived in previous decades, vanished traditions, dress codes, manners, morals and much else, and by engaging with audiences of all kinds offers us the opportunity to share memories and to reflect on our common history.

Britain on Film will be a UK-wide programme launching in June 2015, and featuring screenings, events and online viewing platforms, including an exclusive collection on BFI Player and a three month season taking place BFI Southbank focusing on London. Late summer open air screenings, local films in local settings, specialist interests and themed programmes, will celebrate life in Britain’s towns and cities across more than a century.

On 12 January audiences in around 400 cinemas across the UK will enjoy a special preview screening of James Kent’s Testament of Youth accompanied by a Q&A with the film’s stars beamed live from BFI Southbank, all as part of a new initiative called BFI Presents, designed to help grow audiences for outstanding British independent films.

Following a year which saw films supported by the BFI Film Fund including Matthew Warchus’ Pride, Mike Leigh’s box office hit Mr Turner, and Jonathan Glazer’s Under The Skin embraced by audiences and critics alike, 2015 will see an exciting array of new BFI-backed films emerge.

Premiering at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival in January is Jerry Rothwell’s How To Change the World about the founding of Greenpeace; Louise Osmond’s Dark Horse; and John Maclean’s Slow WestAndrew Haigh’s 45 Years starring Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay will premiere in competition at February’s Berlin Film Festival. James Kent’s Testament of Youth which premiered at the BFI London Film Festival will be in cinemas from 16 JanuaryBill from the team who created the successful Horrible Histories series, is set for a major release on 27 March. Other films to look forward to include Ben Wheatley’s highly anticipated High Rise starring Tom HiddlestonTerence Davies’ Sunset Song; and John Crowley’s Brooklyn adapted by Nick Hornby from the Colm Toibin best-selling novel.

Spring 2015 sees the BFI continue to bring World Cinema classics to Blu-ray for the first time with the release of Kurosawa’s great enigmatic masterpiece Rashomon (1950) and a box-set of four Carl Theodor Dreyer films: the richly detailed tragicomedy of domestic manners, Master of the House (1925); Day of Wrath (1943), a dark and powerful tale of love and betrayal, and a community gripped by an obsessive fear of witchcraft; Ordet (1955), exploring the religious intolerance and familial tensions within a Danish farming family; and Gertrud (1964) about a woman who rejects the compromise of her marriage, suffers disappointment in her younger lover and retreats into a serene isolation. The set will also contain a selection of Dreyer shorts in HD.

Following the huge success of 2014’s rerelease of Stanley Kubrick’s seminal Sci-Fi classic, 2001: A Space Odyssey, the BFI is keeping the spirit of Sci-Fi alive in 2015 with a major rerelease of Ridley Scott’s dystopian masterpiece Blade Runner: The Final Cut (1982/2007) which can be seen on big screens across the UK from 3 April. Moving away from Sci-Fi, the BFI will also release Federico Fellini’s highly influential, autobiographical drama,  (1963) in May.

BFI Southbank welcomes John Waters to London in September for a month-long retrospective of the director’s films and the films that have inspired him. The legendary Pope of Trash will also be taking part in a special ‘in conversation’ event, which is definitely not to be missed. The work of Orson Welles will also be recognised in July with a special two month season to mark the centenary of his birth.

2015 sees the introduction of BFI Southbank’s new Cult Strand which, designed to compliment the existing BFI London Film Festival Cult programme, will offer audiences a monthly opportunity to see films that are both mind-altering and unclassifiable. Each month screenings will be based around a specific theme and take in horror, fantasy, sci-fi, b-movie and exploitation; providing a space to celebrate genre cinema and reclaim overlooked and little-seen classics.

January’s Cult screenings will pay tribute to H.P. Lovecraft, with screenings of Re-Animator (1985) and In the Mouth of Madness (1995) whilst February will celebrate horror musicals, with screenings of Phantom of the Paradise (1975) and Little Shop of Horrors (Director’s Cut 1986). 

BFI’s ever-popular Family strand expands in 2015 to become a weekly programme screening the very best films to suit all ages and tastes. Each month, a great animated tale, a classic film and an international treat will be showcased; while the ever popular Film Funday will continue to preview upcoming cinema releases accompanied by a lively workshop of activities. January will include a special Film Funday preview screening of Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6 (2014) followed by a Q&A with the film’s directors and will offer the whole family the chance to (re)discover such classics as The Iron Giant (1999), Great Expectations (1948) as well as the lesser seen Dutch gem, Minoes (2001). February’s line up includes a Film Funday preview of Shaun the Sheep Movie (2015) alongside screenings of the classicWatership Down (1979) and The 5,000 Fingers of Dr T (1953).

Documentary programming is a major focus for 2015 and will centre on a series of programmes showing a selection of Sight & Sound’s Greatest Documentaries of All Time poll from July to October.

March sees the return of BFI Flare, the UK’s leading LGBT film festival, and in October the world’s film industry will descend on the UK for the mighty BFI London Film Festival.

And finally… hot on the heels of  the BFI’s huge 2014 blockbuster project, Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder, the largest season ever undertaken by the BFI, 2015’s blockbuster promises to warm hearts during next winter’s cold nights – with further details to be revealed in February.

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