It’s time for the London Film Festival again and this year the BFI has reverted to a festival mainly in London cinemas (including the Festival Hall) but thankfully some festival screenings are online and some are being shown in cinemas in different parts of the country, including Glasgow, Belfast and Cardiff. Since I’m staying put in West Yorkshire I haven’t investigated the whole range of venues but I have attempted to navigate the online offer. I have managed to book half a dozen films and my first review will appear soon. As usual, I’ve avoided the ‘big name’ films and gone for the ‘smaller’ offerings. I hope to bring you news of films from Lebanon, Iran, Bangladesh and Japan plus two American independents, one a Native American drama and the other featuring a Ghanaian community in the US.

After last year’s online festival, I’ll be better prepared to make sure I catch all the introductions and Q&As. I don’t think the BFI have yet sorted out a deal which enables me to ‘airplay’ BFI Player screenings direct to my TV screen via Apple TV (there is a BFI app on Apple TV that I’ve been warned away from) which means I’m stuck watching the films on my desktop computer. It’s better than a laptop or iPad but not ideal. (Other festivals make airplay straightforward.) I’m wondering just how it will feel to see a film on a cinema screen again? I think I’ll give it another month or two at least before I find out.

Out of the seven films I watched on last year’s online festival, four actually made it into some form of distribution in the UK, ie. cinemas, streaming or on physical media. I hope we get a similar outcome this year. Watch this space for reviews.