London film festival draws record crowds

November 1st, 2008 - 5:58 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Nov 1 (IANS) The London Film Festival drew a record audience of 120,000 during a two-week run that ended with a gala screening of the Anil Kapoor-starrer “Slumdog Millionaire”, organisers said.The initial estimates of attendance at the 52nd LFF easily outstrips the previous best of 115,000 in 2007.

This year’s festival hosted 191 feature films and 109 short films from 43 countries including a record 15 world premiers, organisers said.

Apart from the highest ever audience attendance, there were 398 screenings, including several from India, and 537 visiting international filmmakers, and a record 1,096 industry professionals.

“We are delighted that this year’s festival has been so well received. Combining high profile red carpet premieres with the best of European and world cinema, it has offered a celebration of international film making in all its forms,” said festival artistic director Sandra Hebron.

“Every year, the festival gets better and better,” Amanda Nevill, director of the British Film Institute, said.

The Thursday night closing gala was attended by “Slumdog Millionaire” director Danny Boyle as well as Bollywood star Anil Kapoor.

The film, which has won rave notices in British papers, was described by Indian-origin filmmaker Gurinder Chadha, director of “Bend It Like Beckham”, as a “must-see.”

“Danny is such a fantastic film-maker and such a maverick. He will go the whole nine yards again and again,” she said.

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