On the eve of the 61st BFI London Film Festival, a special fundraising gala brought together the great and the good of the British cinema and TV industry to raise funds for the charitable film organisation. Luminous was the third fundraising gala from the BFI and had invited the incredible Tilda Swinton as a special guest speaker, with talk show host Jonathan Ross presenting and Birdy performing. On the night, a £50,000 bursary was to be awarded to one of three shortlisted directors with a first or second feature screening at the festival, aiming to support exceptional new and emerging UK filmmakers. King’s Speech director Tom Hooper was on the judging panel with Amanda Nevill and Christoph Grainger-Herr. Among the attendees were Patrick Stewart, Baz Luhrmann, Jeremy Irons, Terry Gilliam, Dame Joan Collins and Dermot O’Leary.

British singer-songwriter Birdy, whose breakthrough came at the age of just 14 with a cover of Bon Iver’s Skinny Love, spoke to us about the importance of supporting young talent ahead of her performance at the event.

Free Fire director Ben Wheatley, one of the most promising British auteurs, discussed what makes London stand out on the film festival circuit and his own love for British filmmaking.

Romola Garai spoke passionately of the importance of the fundraiser for the future of British cinema.

Daniel Kokotajlo, whose film Apostasy won the bursary prize, explained how funding is one of the biggest barriers to young people breaking into the movie industry.

By Sarah Bradbury. First published on The Upcoming on 4th October 2017.
Videos: Filippo L’Astorina

The BFI London Film Festival runs from 4th – 15th October. For more information or to buy tickets, please visit here.