(The festival follows Cannes with an opener directed by a woman.) It’s billed as the European premiere, which means that the eagerly awaited Focus Features release will not premiere at Venice but likely will turn up at Telluride, Toronto and/or New York. Now’s the time the festivals are seeing rough cuts of movies heading for the awards corridor and making plays for competitive gala slots. Telluride is an increasing favorite with the talent, who don’t have to pack their designer finery or walk a red carpet or participate in press conferences and junkets. But Toronto and New York pack a major media wallop for serious awards contenders. And LA’s AFI Fest waits for the films that get out of the editing room late, like last year’s “American Sniper” and “Selma.”
Mulligan and her co-stars Helena Bonham Carter and Meryl Streep will attend the London opening night gala. Brendan Gleeson, Anne-Marie Duff and Ben Whishaw co-star in the film, which opens in England October 30 and stateside October 23.
“Suffragette” marks the first feature film to tell the story of the turn-of-the-century British women who rose up and fought –against armed resistance– for equality and the right to vote. It’s Gavron’s third time at the festival; she reteams with her “Brick Lane” screenwriter Abi Morgan (“The Iron Lady”) to bring to the screen this story of the early fighters of the feminist movement. Many who took to the streets were radicalized working class women like Maud (Mulligan) who recognized that peaceful protest had achieved nothing. They turned to violence as the only route to real change.
Produced by Faye Ward and Alison Owen (“Saving Mr. Banks”), Ruby Films for Pathé, Film4 and the BFI (in association with Redgill Productions and with the participation of Canal+ and Cine-Cinema), the film’s executive producers are Cameron McCracken, Tessa Ross, Rose Garnett, Nik Bower, James Schamus and Teresa Moneo. Christopher Collins was the lead executive for the BFI.
“‘Suffragette’ is an urgent and compelling film,” said Clare Stewart, BFI London Film Festival Director, “made by British women, about British women who changed the course of history and it is, quite simply, a film that everyone must see.”
The 59th BFI London Film Festival runs from Wednesday October 7 to Sunday October 18, 2015. The full program will be announced on September 1, 2015.