Steve McQueen’s new film Mangrove has been selected as the picture to open up the 2020 edition of the BFI London Film Festival.
The festival, which is adapting its usual annual event to incorporate a combination of virtual and physical screenings in the midst of the current health crisis, with boast 50 virtual premieres and 12 previews of upcoming films held in cinemas.
Additionally, the BFI has also confirmed that the virtual premieres will also play at a set time and feature additional elements including talent Q&As.
Of the many cinematic efforts picked to feature as part of the upcoming event, Mangrove sees McQueen return to the top of the billing once again after his film Widows opened the 62nd BFI London Film Festival in 2018.
The new project, however, part of his Small Axe anthology series, will star Black Panther actress Letitia Wright and is set from in the late 1960s to the mid-1980s. In each of the films, a different story involving London’s West Indian community is told. Other films in the Small Axe anthology are Lovers Rock, Education, Alex Wheatle and Red, White and Blue.
Speaking of opening the LFF, the director said: “I couldn’t be happier that Mangrove will open this year’s BFI London Film Festival. Although the themes are universal, Mangrove is a London story. It may have happened 50 years ago, but it’s as relevant today as it was then.”
“This new series from Oscar-winning director and BFI Fellow Steve McQueen could not be more timely in the context of recent global protests around anti-Black racism and inequality, and McQueen has been a powerful voice in challenging the status quo and demanding inclusion within the British film industry,” festival director, Tricia Tuttle, added.
“His Widows also opened the 62nd BFI London Film Festival in 2018, and we have never had the same filmmaker open the LFF twice in such a close time frame; that’s both a testament to the urgency of the film and potency of his filmmaking.”