Simian Substitute Site For October 2015: Monkey Films
Spank's LFF Diary, Thursday 08/10/2015

London Film Festival 2015

"It's a placeholder cover image," I said at the time. "By the time 2015 comes around, they'll have opened up the new BFI complex further down the South Bank, and there'll be loads of better-lit BFI cinemas I can have my photo taken outside." Bah.This picture is a symbol of my shame right now.

It's a little under-exposed (despite The Belated Birthday Girl's best efforts), so let me explain what you're looking at. This is me on October 30th 2010, sitting outside the Studio cinema at BFI Southbank, reading a copy of the 2010 London Film Festival programme.

In fact, it's the fourth in a series of similar photos. Earlier that year, The BBG had taken the first three, which were as follows:

1. Me outside the NFT1 cinema at BFI Southbank reading the LFF 1989 programme.
2. Me outside the NFT2 cinema at BFI Southbank reading the LFF 2000 programme.
3. Me outside the NFT3 cinema at BFI Southbank reading the LFF 2005 programme.

Did you ever have one of those days when you woke up and suddenly remembered that there was a book that you were supposed to have written by now, that you technically hadn't even started yet?

I had one of those days last week.

So yeah, at some point I should gather my reviews from the last five festivals, and cobble together Spank's LFF Diaries Volume 4: 2010-2014 for my clamouring public. But that won't be happening at any time in the near future, because we have this year's festival to cope with first. (The more astute of you may have realised by now that this page will ultimately become the bewildering opening chapter of Spank's LFF Diaries Volume 5: 2015-2019. But let's put that to one side for the moment.)

It's the fourth year of Clare Stewart's directorship of the LFF, and the third one in a row in which she's recycled the same basic graphic for the programme design. Sort it out, Stewart! To be fair, the static design is an indication of how much the festival has settled down after the initial upheaval of her arrival in 2012. The programme categories are still as woolly as ever: the short film collections are still trying to pretend animation isn't really a thing: the archive strand is still a major audience draw, even though the printed guide does its damnedest to pretend it doesn't exist at all. No real innovations to speak of, not this year anyway.

And let's be honest, the same applies to my coverage of the festival on this site. It'll be the usual thing: I'll catch a few films each day between now and the festival's close on October 18th, and tell you about them here the day after they happen, with occasional contributions from a few of your old favourites. Those astute people I mentioned earlier will have also noticed that the LFF's already started - hell, the Opening Gala even made the national news. Unfortunately, as was the case in, for example, 2003 and 2008, pressure of work means I can't review any films for the first day or two of the festival. But as was also the case in those years, we hopefully have a workaround in place to keep you entertained until I can get properly started.

Festival number 27! (For me, anyway.) Book number 5! (Note to self: put reminder to write book number 5 into 2020 diary.) Let's LFF and chill, as I believe the young people say nowadays. Watch this space.


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