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BFI London Film Festval 2016

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Dutch talent armada sails up the Thames

September 1, 2016

Dutch cinema is strongly represented at the upcoming edition of the BFI London Film Festival with eight films in various sections.

Layla M.*, by Mijke de Jong, will have its european premiere in the Official Competition. The film, produced by Topkapi Films (sales: Beta Cinema), is about Layla (18), a Dutch girl with Moroccan roots, who joins a group of radical Muslims. She encounters a world that nurtures her ideas initially, but finally confronts her with an impossible choice. Layla M. is world premiering at Toronto next week.

Martin Koolhoven's Brimstone* is selected for the Official Competition as well. The film, produced by N279 Entertainment (NL) and X-Filme (DE) (sales: Embankment Films), is a suspenseful tale of guilt and retribution that unfolds at the end of the 19th Century in the American West. An epic thriller told in four chapters about a young woman and her family whose lives change drastically when a diabolical preacher comes to town. Brimstone is set to world premiere at the Venice International Film Festival this Saturday, where it will be in the running for a Golden Lion, after which it will be screened as a Special Presentation at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Also showing in the Official Competition is Dutch director Paul Verhoeven's latest feature Elle. Produced by French company SBS Productions, the film stars Isabelle Huppert and is edited by Verhoeven's longtime collaborator Job ter Burg. Verhoeven will be present for a Screen Talk  to discuss Elle and how he continues to deliver controversial classics well into his sixth decade of filmmaking.

Ascent*, Fiona Tan's second feauture, gets a gala-special presentation as headliner of Experimenta, the festival's showcase of experimental cinema and artists' moving image. Ascent, produced by Antithesis Films, world premiered recently at the Locarno Film Festival and is an art film made entirely with stills; a filmic experiment balancing delicately between documentary and fiction. Together with the two protagonists the viewer climbs Mount Fuji across geographical, temporal and cultural divides.

Two short films from the Netherlands, Import* and 9 Days - From My Window in Aleppo are included in the Short Film Award Competition. Import by Ena Sendijarevic (produced by Pupkin Film) has previously been selected for Cannes' Directors' Fortnight and the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival. It tells the story of a young Bosnian refugee family who, after obtaining a residence permit in 1994, arrive in a small village in the Netherlands. Absurd situations arise as the family members try to make this new world their home.
Festival favourite 9 Days - From My Window in Aleppo is directed by Issa Touma, Thomas Vroege and Floor van der Meulen and produced by Deepfocus Webdocs, and portrays the first nine days of the rapidly changing uprising in Aleppo, observations recorded by the renowned Syrian photographer Issa Touma from his window in the old city. The short documentary has already screened at more than 25 international festivals, among which Clermont-Ferrand and Encounters.

Charlotte Scott-Wilson's Hold On*, produced by OAK Motion Pictures, will be presented in the Sound and Vision shorts programme. The film, which won the Best Narrative Short Award at the TriBeCa Film Festival, is about Kyra, a young, talented cellist who suddenly develops stage fright after one of her cello strings comes lose during an important performance.

And lastly, BFI London's Journey programme presents The Red Turtle, the first feature-length animation by Oscar-winning Dutch animator Michael Dudok de Wit. The film is produced by Hayao Miyazaki's renowned Japanese production company Studio Ghibli, Why Not Productions (France) and Wild Bunch (France) and marks the first time that Studio Ghibli has collaborated with a European director.

The BFI London International Film Festival takes place October 5 - 16: https://www.bfi.org.uk/lff

*Film supported by the Netherlands Film Fund

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