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BFI_Filmmakers_Issue_5_V10

IT KICKS OFF! WELCOME... o goes the nutshell conceit of Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire, featured in this issue of BFI Filmmakers and an apt motif as pistols are fired on the awards run. There have already been a number of standouts for British film this year, in particular for the films we support with funds from the National Lottery. At Cannes, Ken Loach’s searing I, Daniel Blake justly brought home the big one, while Andrea Arnold’s Jury Prize-winning American Honey electrified the Palais at its memorable premiere. Amma Asante comes full circle with A United Kingdom, opening the 04 BFI.ORG.UK BFI London Film Festival with only her third film. It’s a particularly sweet moment for me, having been on the jury of the Sutherland Prize the year that she was recognised for her debut A Way of Life. At Toronto, two striking debuts made a mark – Hope Dickson Leach’s The Levelling and William Oldroyd’s Lady Macbeth, written by Alice Birch. Both also feature in the LFF and will open next year. The Olympics analogies can write themselves, but the Lottery is vital to our ambitious and world-beating film community; it enables us to take chances on backing talent from an early moment in their careers, in the same way it is used to discover, train and support athletes all the way to an Olympic podium. This is why we are supporting 22 exceptional emerging producers for the first time, through our BFI Vision Awards. Filmmakers in their own right, we also see these producers as our partners in finding and developing writers and directors who can go all the way. Beyond that, Lottery allows us to support stories which can have a deep and lasting cultural impact. It’s hard to think of a time in recent memory when A United Kingdom’s themes of freedom, identity, migration and immigration were in greater need of discussion and argument. A special mention here also to Francis Lee’s upcoming debut God’s Own Country, which tackles these themes in such a delicate and unconscious way it might just break your heart. No less topical are Andrea Arnold’s portrait of young people on the edge of Trump or Clinton’s America in the ultimately hopeful American Honey, and the levels of desperation and humanity felt so powerfully in I, Daniel Blake. Film has the ability to hit each of us in profoundly personal ways. It’s what gets us out of bed in the morning – the expression of ideas, politics and passions through film. That, along with the rush of endorphins we get from those moments when picture, performance, music and sound (along with the odd squib) reach a crescendo in ways that only cinema can deliver. Moments that many of the films in this issue have in abundance. BEN ROBERTS Director of the BFI Film Fund S Sasha Lane in American Honey I, Daniel Blake


BFI_Filmmakers_Issue_5_V10
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