The 2023 BFI London Film Festival Line Up Is Absolutely Stacked

Paul Mescal as Harry and Andrew Scott as Adam are lovers in 'All of Us Strangers'

Paul Mescal as Harry and Andrew Scott as Adam in 'All of Us Strangers'

Searchlight Pictures

October is typically considered the height of autumn, and as such, it goes by many names: Pumpkin Spice season, Decorative Gourd season, Spooky season, etc. However, in the entertainment business, it's the heart of film festival season, as major indie films and awards contenders head from high-profile event to high-profile event, walking red carpets and promoting titles. While Hollywood is centered in America, British fare is considered some of the most prestige entries, and the British Film Institute's London Film Festival is the place to be.

Some of the titles that will be playing have already premiered in the last few weeks at the Venice International Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival, such as the Holocaust drama One Life, starring Johnny Flynn and Anthony Hopkins; Poor Things, the highly-acclaimed sci-fi "steampunk" film from Yorgos Lanthimos and starring Emma Stone; and Fingernails, the Apple TV+ film starring Jessie Buckley and Riz Ahmed, which is technically an American production, since Apple is an American company, but a Greek director and British cast.

However, London will have several high-profile debuts of British films during its two-week run from October 4th through the 15th. The festival's Opening Night Gala's presentation will be Emerald Fennell's highly-anticipated modern-day Brideshead, Saltburn. The Closing Night Gala will debut Daniel Kaluuya's directorial debut (co-directed with Kibwe Tavares), The Kitchen. The Mayor of London’s Gala will have the return of Aardman Animations claymation genius and the feature film Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget. And there's the romantic fantasy film All of Us Strangers, starring Paul Mescal and Andrew Scott, the trailer of which just arrived the other day.

Here's the full rundown of the festival's lineup:

Headline Galas

  • Opening Night Gala: Saltburn (UK, Emerald Fennell)
  • The Mayor of London’s Gala: Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget (UK, Sam Fell)
  • American Express Gala: One Life (UK, James Hawes)
  • Cunard Gala: The Holdovers (USA, Alexander Payne)
  • Closing Night Gala: The Kitchen (UK, Kibwe Tavares, Daniel Kaluuya)
  • All of Us Strangers (UK, Andrew Haigh)
  • Poor Things (UK, Yorgos Lanthimos)
  • The Bikeriders (USA, Jeff Nichols)
  • The Book of Clarence (USA, Jeymes Samuel)
  • The Killer (USA, David Fincher)
  • Killers of the Flower Moons (USA, Martin Scorsese)
  • Maestro (USA, Bradley Cooper)
  • May December (USA, Todd Haynes)
  • Nyad (USA, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Jimmy Chin)

Special Presentations

  • BFI Patron’s Special Presentation: The End We Start From (UK, Mahalia Belo)
  • BFI Flare Special Presentation: Housekeeping for Beginners (North Macedonia-Poland-Croatia-Serbia-Kosovo, Goran Stolevski)
  • Series Special Presentation: Grime Kids (UK, Abdou Cisse)
  • Occupied City (UK-Netherlands, Steve McQueen)
  • The Zone of Interest (USA-UK-Poland, Jonathan Glazer)
  • Priscilla (USA-Italy, Sofia Coppola)
  • Les Indesirables (France-Belgium, Ladj Ly)
  • Foe (Australia, Garth Davis)
  • Hit Man (USA, Richard Linklater)
  • Memory (Mexico-USA-Chile, Michel Franco)
  • Fallen Leaves (Finland, Aki Kaurismäki)
  • The Boy & The Heron (Japan, Hayao Miyazaki) 
  • Cobweb (South Korea, Kim Jee-woon)

Official Competition

  • Starve Acre (UK, Daniel Kokotajilo)
  • Baltimore (Ireland-UK, Christine Molloy, Joe Lawlor)
  • Europa (Austria-UK, Sudabeh Mortezai)
  • Fingernails (USA, Christos Nikou)
  • Gasoline Rainbow (USA, Bill Ross IV, Turner Ross)
  • I Am Sirat (Canada, Deepa Mehta, Sirat Taneja)
  • The Royal Hotel (Australia, Kitty Green)
  • Together 99 (Sweden-Denmark, Lukas Moodyson)
  • Evil Does Not Exist (Japan, Ryusuke Hamaguchi)
  • Dear Jassi (India, Tarsem Singh Dhandwar)
  • Self Portrait: 47 KM 2020 (China, Zhang Mengqi)

First Feature Competition

  • Black Dog (UK, George Jaques)
  • Hoard (UK, Luna Carmoon)
  • In Camera (UK, Naqqash Khalid)
  • Sky Petals (UK, Moin Hussain)
  • Tuesday (UK-USA, Daina O. Pusić)
  • Earth Mama (USA-UK, Savanah Leaf)
  • The Queen of My Dreams (Canada, Fawzia Mirza)
  • Mambar Pierrette (Belgium-Cameroon Rosine Mbakam)
  • Paradise is Burning (Sweden-Italy-Denmark-Finland, Mika Gustafson)
  • Pena Cordillera (Chile-Brazil, Felipe Carmona)
  • Tiger Stripes (Malaysia-Taiwan-Singapore-France-Germany-Netherlands-Indonesia-Qatar, Amanda Nell Eu)

Documentary Competition

  • Bye-Bye Tiberias (France-Palestine-Belgium-Qatar, Lina Soualem)
  • Celluloid Underground (UK-Iran, Ehsan Khoshbakht)
  • Chasing Chasing Amy (USA, Sav Rodgers) 
  • A Common Sequence (USA-Mexico, Mary Helena Clark, Mike Gibisser)

The BFI London Film Festival's main screening is at the Royal Festival Hall in the Southbank Centre and also runs in cinemas and venues across central London alongside nine LFF partner cinemas across the UK, from Wednesday, October 4 to Sunday, October 15, 2023.


Ani Bundel has been blogging professionally since 2010. A DC native, Hufflepuff, and Keyboard Khaleesi, she spends all her non-writing time taking pictures of her cats. Regular bylines also found on MSNBC, Paste, Primetimer, and others. 

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