This year’s BFI London Film Festival festival will open Wednesday, October 10 with the European premiere of Disney’s Frankenweenie, directed by acclaimed filmmaker Tim Burton, organizers announced Thursday.
In partnership with American Express and Disney, and in a first for the festival, the opening night screening and red carpet will go live from Odeon Leicester Square to BFI IMAX and 30 screens across the UK. The 56th festival will also host The Art of Frankenweenie Exhibition from October 17 to 21.
Frankenweenie is a heartwarming tale about a boy and his dog. After unexpectedly losing his beloved dog Sparky, young Victor harnesses the power of science to bring his best friend back to life — with just a few minor adjustments. He tries to hide his home-sewn creation, but when Sparky gets out, Victor’s fellow students, teachers and the entire town all learn that getting a new “leash on life” can be monstrous.A visually stunning black and white, stop-motion animated film in 3D, Frankenweenie’s voice cast includes Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short, Martin Landau, Charlie Tahan, Atticus Shaffer, Robert Capron, Conchata Ferrell and Winona Ryder. Disney will release the film in the United Kingdom on October 17.
Burton, Ryder, Short, O’Hara, Landau, producer Allison Abbate and executive producer Don Hahn are expected to attend the festival.
In a first for the BFI London Film Festival opening night, Frankenweenie will receive a simultaneous premiere in 30 cinemas nationwide, with audiences across the United Kingdom able to enjoy footage from the Leicester Square red carpet prior to the screenings. This event is part of the festival’s drive to reach a diverse British audience and put the public at the heart of the festival-going experience.
Frankenweenie is the first animated film that Burton has directed for Disney. Burton also produced along with Abbate, with Hahn serving as executive producer. The screenplay is by John August, based on an original idea by Burton.
BFI head of exhibition Clare Stewart comments on her first opening night choice as festival director:
“Funny, dark and whimsical, this gloriously crafted stop-motion 3D animation from Tim Burton — the reigning prince of outsiders — playfully turns the Frankenstein story on its bolted-on head. Frankenweenie is a perfect choice of opener — it’s a film that revels in the magic of movies from one of cinema’s great visionaries. Tim Burton has chosen London as his home city and hundreds of talented British craftspeople have contributed to this production. To host the European premiere, to present The Art of Frankenweenie Exhibition and to take our opening night out to 30 screens means we are making the festival even more accessible for film fans across the UK.”
“I am delighted that Frankenweenie, which was produced here in London at 3 Mills Studios, will be opening the 56th BFI London Film Festival. Living and working in the UK, I’ve been able to collaborate with some of the most talented artists in the industry, including the puppet designers and fabricators from Manchester-based Mackinnon & Saunders. In the last nine years, I’ve attended the festival as both a filmmaker and guest, and I know how passionate and enthusiastic the audiences are, so I am thrilled to share the film’s European premiere with them.”
Colin Walsh, managing director of American Express UK, adds:
“We’re thrilled to be further strengthening our partnership with the BFI and the Festival through our support for this year’s opening night gala. In addition to Frankenweenie being a much-anticipated film, what makes this year’s opening night so special is the opportunity for audiences across the country to experience the excitement of a West End premiere. That, coupled with the interactive exhibition giving people an insight behind the scenes of the film, is sure to make this a fantastic start to this year’s festival.”
The Art of Frankenweenie Exhibition is supported by American Express. The exhibition runs from October 17 to 21 (with a press preview and preview for American Express card members October 16) and will be free to the public. For information on tickets, see bfi.org.uk/lff , starting September 5.
Hours of meticulous work have gone into the making of Frankenweenie, perfecting the figures and characters that bring this amazing story to life. The BFI London Film Festival is presenting the exhibition in association with Disney and principal partner American Express.
The Art of Frankenweenie Exhibition captures the magic of the filmmaking process and gives audiences an exclusive glimpse into the stop-motion animation process brought to life by visionary filmmaker Tim Burton. From original sketches drawn by Burton, to extensive props, sets and puppets, the exhibition showcases the artistic detail and vision that has gone into bringing this heartwarming tale to the big screen in 2012’s most highly anticipated animated movie. The Art of Frankenweenie Exhibition delves into the world of a boy who, inspired by science and the love of his dog, brings his beloved pet back from the dead.
There will be exciting workshop opportunities for education audiences to explore the production of Frankenweenie via guided tours of the Exhibit, meeting some of the talented people who made the film and trying their hand at the skills required for animation and set design.
The Art of Frankenweenie Exhibition will take place next door to the BFI Southbank at Southbank Centre’s Festival Village.
The 56th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express runs from Wednesday, October 10 to Sunday, October 21. The full program for the festival will be announced at the press launch Wednesday, September 5.