Following the success of the inaugural Series Strand at last year’s BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express, the 2022 edition sees eight new episodic series grace the big screen at this year’s festival.
The LFF Series programme provides a platform for the best new international television and episodic filmmaking, from high-end TV to more formally experimental episodic work, and explores the increasing convergence between film and television, with creatives moving fluidly across the two mediums.
The series programme is headlined by the world premiere of renowned television auteur Hugo Blick’s (An Honourable Woman, Black Earth Rising) sumptuous Western, THE ENGLISH (BBC/Amazon), which stars Emily Blunt and Chaske Spencer.
The festival also screens the world premiere of A SPY AMONG FRIENDS (ITVX), which reunites Damian Lewis with Homeland executive producer Alexander Cary in an adaptation of Ben Macintyre’s book about the 1963 defection of MI6 agent Kim Philby (Guy Pearce) to the Soviet Union.
James Corden stars in the world premiere of MAMMALS (Amazon Prime), a clever dissection of monogamy and marriage written by celebrated playwright and screenwriter Jez Butterworth (Jerusalem, The Ferryman, Spectre) and directed by Stephanie Laing (Physical, Made For Love). Sally Hawkins co-stars alongside Melia Kreiling and Colin Morgan.
Elsewhere in the programme, Marco Bellocchio returns to the subject of the kidnap and assassination of the former Italian Prime Minister for his first foray into television, EXTERIOR NIGHT (Fremantle). The festival will screen the six part series in its entirety.
Lars von Trier returns to the episodic format with the third season of his supernatural medical drama THE KINGDOM EXODUS (Mubi), 25 years after the first series aired. Pablo and Juan de Dios Larraín (Spencer) serve as producers on taut Mexican thriller SEÑORITA 89 (Fremantle/BBC) from showrunner and director Lucía Puenzo (La Juaria, XXY).
Clea DuVall (Happiest Season, The Intervention) directs queer coming-of-age series HIGH SCHOOL (Amazon Freevee), based on the best-selling memoir by musicians Tegan and Sara Quin and produced by Oscar-winning production company Plan B (Moonlight, Twelve Years A Slave).
The Festival will host the international premiere. The Festival will also host the UK premiere of a series by South African artist William Kentridge who collaborated with celebrated editor and sound designer Walter Murch on SELF PORTRAIT AS A COFFEE POT (Cinephil), a formally inventive dive into his creative process.
Rowan Woods, BFI London Film Festival Series Programmer said: “In its second year, the LFF Series programme continues to celebrate some of the most authored, cinematic and formally exciting work currently being made in the episodic space...
"This year’s line-up showcases an incredible range of creativity across forms and genres, and with work hailing from South Africa, Canada, Denmark, Mexico, Spain, Italy, USA and the UK, it’s clear to see that the international television landscape is in a thrillingly vibrant place.”
Tricia Tuttle, BFI London Film Festival Director, said: “After just one year, the LFF Series programme now feels utterly embedded and essential to the Festival - especially with gems such as these to present...
"The BFI has a long history of screening television year round, and with the BFI National Archive housing the world's biggest collection of British television, it seems fitting that at the heart of this vibrant international selection there are three World Premieres showing off impressive homegrown talents."
Talent from the Series programme will be attending the festival and will also take part in the industry-facing programme, details of which will be announced soon.