LFF announces speakers and events at this year’s LFF Industry Forum

Sep 22, 2023
(Credit: Edmund Sumner/BFI)

As the world’s film and screen sector celebrates new and brilliant storytelling being welcomed by audiences globally, it is also facing new creative and business challenges.

This year’s BFI London Film Festival Industry Forum which has grown in recent years in welcoming international talent and industry professionals, is resolutely looking forward at how industry can collaborate further to benefit creativity and business, embrace and nurture new talent, and share new ideas and experience, alongside curated talent programmes and networking opportunities.

The Festival is delighted to be welcoming international industry leaders who will headline three Spotlight conversations in the overall programme.

Jennifer Lee is the Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios, a role that gives her creative oversight of all projects by the studio, and as a filmmaker she is the co-director, co-writer and executive producer of the much-loved and globally successful Frozen films.

Emile Sherman and Iain Canning are the co-founders of See-Saw Films, with offices in the UK and Australia, and a production powerhouse for independent filmmakers and their work including The Power Of The Dog and WidowsHelen Gregory is driving the company’s growing and successful television slate.

Carole Baraton is the Chief Executive Officer of leading French sales company Charades which has built a reputation for its commitment to positioning independent, original, auteur-driven films in the international marketplace.

The Industry Forum programme line-up also welcomes American Academy® and BAFTA leaders Bill Kramer and Jane Millichip, in a conversation with BFI Chief Executive Ben Roberts; Giancarlo Nasi and Emily Morgan two of  the producers behind the international co-production The Settlers, Chile’s submission for the Oscars®; AI pioneers Rianna Dearden and Sami Arpa with Tim Webber and lawyer Hannah Wylie on the generative AI as a tool in film, TV and video games;  directors Naqqash Khalid and Mahalia Belo on their directorial debuts, In Camera and The End We Start From respectively, screening in the festival with their producers and members of their creative teams; and a spotlight on eight emerging writers who are building their careers in the screen industries.

Kristy Matheson, BFI London Film Festival Director, says: “We’re excited to be welcoming European, international and UK talents to this year’s Industry Forum. In sharing their expertise, experience and ideas, we all have the opportunity to learn with each other which is more vital than ever in this fast-evolving landscape. We’re looking forward to welcoming colleagues to our Industry Forum to gain insights and build contacts.”

Silvia Angrisani, BFI London Film Festival, Industry Programmes Manager, says: “Our programme is really focused on opening up opportunities for creatives and business professionals to explore areas that are stimulating for future business and cultural collaboration.  There will be fantastic chances to hear from industry leaders about their perspectives and, at the same time, we are offering a platform for eight incredible emerging writing talents to talk about their work, their vision and diverse approaches to storytelling and themes. We shall be going behind the scenes of UK and international films, deconstructing their creative processes and sharing learnings, will also be investigating current uses of artificial intelligence, hearing from companies working in immersive media, film and TV on how they are integrating generative AI in their work.”

The Festival’s programme and events create valuable opportunities for UK creatives and industry professionals to meet and make new connections with international industry professionals seeing potential creative and business collaboration.

A group of 12 experienced producers from France will be participating in the New Waves co-production meetings with UK producers. Following a visit of UK producers to the CNC in Paris earlier this year, this second edition of the event at the LFF is organised by the Institut français UK, the BFI and the CNC in partnership with Unifrance.    The day will conclude with a networking reception for industry delegates hosted by Institut français UK and offering a brief presentation of opportunities for working with France.

The LFF is also welcoming producers from South Africa supported by the National Film & Video Foundation looking to forge partnerships with UK producers interested in working with South Africa.

Producers from Nigeria in London for the Nigerian International Film Summit will be meeting UK producers during the LFF (9-10 October) to look at the opportunities and challenges revolving around the business of film in Nigeria and to explore international collaboration opportunities.

Supporting UK screen-based businesses and talent, and increasing opportunities for international collaboration, the 2023 Industry Forum features a variety of talent development initiatives, as part of the UK Talent Days focus in partnership with the British Council. These include the fourth edition of the Works-in-Progress showcase for new UK work; the BFI NETWORK@LFF programme for UK-based writers, directors and producers; and the LFF Critics Mentorship Programme;

Industry accreditation is open to UK and international filmmakers and individuals working in a professional capacity in film and/or wider screen sectors.

The industry programme includes:

  • Bill Kramer, Chief Executive Officer, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and and Jane Millichip, Managing Director of BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts), in conversation with Ben Roberts, BFI Chief Executive
  • Experts and pioneers in artificial intelligence as a tool for film and moving image: Rianna Dearden from Charisma.ai, Sami Arpa from Largo.ai, Tim Webber from Framestore with the lawyer Hannah Wylie on the IP landscape
  • Panel discussions with writers, directors and creative talent including Giancarlo Nasi, Emily Morgan (The Settlers); Mahalia Belo, Shaheen Baig, Leah Clarke (The End We Start From); Naqqash Khalid, Nabhaan Rizwan, Mary Burke, Tasha Back (In Camera)
  • Emerging writers developing film and TV work from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales: Emily Burnett, Lisa Clarkson, Karim Khan, Caleb J. Roberts, Sufiyaan Salam, Rashida Seriki, Charlie Tidmas and Temi Wilkey
  • UK Talent Days programme; LFF Works-in-Progress Showcase; Buyers & Sellers Event; BFI NETWORK@LFF
  • LFF Critics Mentorship Programme
  • Film London Production Finance Market
  • Networking events for industry professionals


We are delighted to be welcoming BAFTA and AMPAS in a first joint festival Academy conversation at a time when the industry is experiencing the effects of globalisation at every stage of the journey from creation to audience.  In response, the UK and US Academies have been evolving at pace in the last two decades. Alongside their high-profile peer awards ceremonies, they have taken an increasing leadership role in building for the future, developing talent, and leading their industries to be more inclusive and accessible.  They also play a key role in connecting professionals across national borders, as well as raising public appreciation of the artistic and cultural value of film and television. Bill Kramer, Chief Executive Officer, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) and Jane Millichip, Chief Executive Officer of BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts), join Ben Roberts, BFI Chief Executive in conversation.  Thursday 5 October, 11:30, Picturehouse Central



As Walt Disney Animation Studios celebrates its first century, the LFF welcomes Jennifer Lee for a Spotlight conversation. As a writer, director and executive producer, she is behind the phenomenally successful and award-winning Frozen (2013) which she co-wrote and co-directed with Chris Buck, followed by its 2019 sequel which continues to be the highest-grossing animated feature ever released. Her career with the studio started in 2011, when she co-wrote 2012’s Oscar®-nominated Wreck-It Ralph. Today, as the Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios, she has creative oversight of all projects by the studio.  Join Jennifer Lee in conversation with Tricia Tuttle, Head of Directing Fiction at the National Film and Television School, to talk about her career, her time working at Disney and the creative vision behind the upcoming animated musical comedy adventure Wish, which Lee co-wrote and executive produced. Thursday 5 October, 15:00, Picturehouse Central


French sales company Charades has built a reputation for handling a wide range of quality films. In its diverse, highly international catalogue, first-time directors and their films such as Charlotte Wells’s award-winning debut Aftersun and Charlotte Regan’s recently released Scrapper stand alongside established filmmakers. Carole Baraton, co-founder of the company and Chief Executive Officer, will be talking about making editorial choices, the relationship with talent, and Charades’s vision of how to adapt to a market challenged by constant disruptions in this conversation with Isabel Davis, Executive Director of Screen Scotland. Alongside this event, the LFF is proud to be screening Mona Achache’s Little Girl Blue, Karen Tejpal’s Stolen and Cédric Khan’s The Goldman Case, which exemplify the company’s commitment to strong, original, auteur-driven films. Monday 9 October, 11:30, Picturehouse Central


A winner of multiple awards, See-Saw Films is a shining beacon upon the independent film production landscape. The creative and business partnership between Emile Sherman and Iain Canning, with offices in the UK and Australia, has been behind the works of leading filmmakers including Steve McQueen (ShameWidows) and Jane Campion (The Power Of The DogTop Of The Lake). Since 2021, Creative Director Helen Gregory has been driving the development of its television slate which includes the upcoming new seasons of Slow Horses and Heartstopper.  Join them in conversation with Clare Stewart, Managing Director, International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR), to hear about their careers, their work with leading talent, their insights on the international market and a closer look at the three films they have in this year’s LFF – One LifeThe Royal Hotel and Foe. Tuesday 10 October, 15:00, Picturehouse Central

INDUSTRY PANEL:  FADE IN. EMERGING WRITERS IN CONVERSATION in association with the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain and The Hollywood Reporter

This year, the festival is putting eight amazing emerging writers from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales in the spotlight in a session moderated by journalist and author Terri White. They are passionate and committed storytellers producing diverse work in form and story.  Some developed their skills in writers’ rooms or worked in talent labs. Others have found alternative routes to sharpening their style and perspective. Their references range from Chaucer to Murakami, the cinema of Wong Kar-wai to Dirty Dancing. Having written short films, theatre plays and for radio, these talented writers are developing feature films and TV productions. They are Emily Burnett, Lisa Clarkson, Karim Khan, Caleb J. Roberts, Sufiyaan Salam, Rashida Seriki, Charlie Tidmas and Temi Wilkey.  Full biographies follow below. Friday 6 October, 15:00, Picturehouse Central


An unmissable discussion on a subject top of the industry agenda.  Our panel of experts will guide the audience through work they have pioneered using generative artificial intelligence as a tool for writing, storyboarding, and generating new images. Rianna Dearden is a narrative designer and a writer at Charisma.ai, which has been building conversational characters powered by AI. Sami Arpa is the founder and CEO of Largo.ai, a company that provides data-assisted intelligence to the film industry. Largo.ai is also testing in-house generative AI tools to create storyboards from scripts to accelerate  the decision-making process  at the development stage. Tim Webber is Chief Creative Officer at Framestore (The Dark Knight, Avatar, Gravity) which is also testing AI tools to generate unique images. Hannah Wylie is a partner in the law firm Harbottle & Lewis, navigating the legal landscape related to the use of generative AI. This discussion will be moderated by technology presenter and journalist Spencer Kelly (BBC’s Click).   Wednesday 11 October, 15:00, Picturehouse Central


How did eight producers from different countries work together to meet the complexities of national and international financing, the division of responsibilities in making The Settlers? Uncovering a hidden episode of Chile’s history, this first feature by director Felipe Gálvez is backed by producers from countries spanning South America, Europe and Asia. Majority producer Giancarlo Nasi (Quijote Films, Chile), together with his UK partners Emily Morgan (Quiddity Films, UK) and Denitsa Yordanova, Head of the UK Global Screen Fund (which supported the film) will take us behind the scenes of the film’s financing and production history, the complexities of national and international financing, the division of responsibilities between co-producers, and the challenges of cross-cultural collaboration. The Settlers is Chile’s American Academy® Awards submission for 2023. Film festival consultant and journalist Wendy Mitchell will moderate the discussion. Tuesday 10 October, 11:30, Picturehouse Central

The journey from script to screen is a challenge for any film and never more so for feature debuts.  This year the Festival is delighted to present two films and their creative teams for deep-dive panel discussions.


Naqqash Khalid makes his feature debut, which is supported by the BFI Filmmaking Fund, with vitriolic portrait of the film industry and a dive into the depths of a young man’s mind. The In Camera writer-director will be joined by cinematographer Tasha Back, actor Nabhaan Rizwan and producer Mary Burke (Public Dreams) to share the creative genesis of the film and its production. How do you light, frame, and shoot a world in which only the thinnest of lines separates reality and desire? How do you co-create your main character with the actor you have cast to portray them?  The panel will look at these challenges and also analyse the key stages in the life of this film – from development to funding, and shooting to postproduction, until that moment where the film eventually meets its audience. Film festival consultant and journalist Wendy Mitchell will moderate the discussion. Monday 9 October, 15:00,  Picturehouse Central


Mahalia Belo makes an outstanding directorial feature debut, supported by the BFI Filmmaking Fund, with a bold adaptation of Megan Hunter’s first novel, The End We Start From, adapted for the screen by Alice Birch (The Wonder, Lady Macbeth). Joining the director will be producer Leah Clarke (Sunny March) and casting director Shaheen Baig as they share insights in assembling their creative team, working from pre-existing IP, raising finance, challenges in the editing room and how they secured a stellar cast including Jodie Comer, Benedict Cumberbatch, Joel Fry, Katherine Waterston and Mark Strong among others). Leo Barraclough, Director, International Features, Variety will moderate the discussion. Wednesday 11 October, 11.30, Picturehouse Central



The Festival’s UK Talent Days (6-9 October), an in-person programme presented in partnership with the British Council, is a series of events presenting the rich creative talent in the UK film industry and creating opportunities for investment, partnership, and international connections. Strands of activity include the Festival’s fourth edition of a Works-in-Progress showcase, which presents feature films and documentaries made by emerging talent to international buyers, commissioners, producers and programmers with the opportunity to meet the teams behind the featured works. The filmmakers and work featuring in this year’s showcase will be announced shortly.   The LFF and the UK Global Screen Fund will be co-hosting a networking lunch for invited UK and international delegates. Private View, LFF Expanded will give industry delegates the chance to attend the Festival’s XR and Immersive showcase to see new UK work in the programme. BFI NETWORK@LFF will host masterclasses and events for 15 emerging UK-based writers, directors and producers to learn from leading filmmakers and industry executives at the Festival.   A UK Talent Party, supported by the British Council and Sunbelt Rentals, will celebrate new UK work and creative talent involved in the Festival; and the Festival’s Buyers & Sellers event will provide a unique opportunity for international sales agents to meet UK buyers via a speed-dating style set of one-to-one meetings organised by the festival.


Now in its sixth year, the BFI LFF Critics Mentorship 2023 programme aims to address the lack of diversity in film criticism offering opportunities to a range of talented emerging writers with a particular emphasis this year for those who self-identify as Black, MENA (Middle East and North African), South Asian, South East Asian or East Asian or GRT (Gypsies, Roma and Travellers) backgrounds, including mixed ethnicity applicants, as well as D/deaf and disabled applicants, and those who are neurodivergent, or have a long-term health condition.

Successful applicants take part in a four day intensive programme at the Festival as accredited press with lead mentors Akua Gyamfi, journalist, commentator and founder of The British Blacklist, and Amon Warmann, Empire’s Contributing Editor, Talk Sport film critic and Fade To Black podcast co-host. Participants will also be individually paired with a mentor from each LFF media partner who will support them produce pieces of film journalism for publication on their websites and bfi.org.uk.

Participating media partners include Time Out, Sight and Sound, Empire, Little White Lies, Screen International, The Face and bfi.org.uk


BFI NETWORK@LFF is a talent development programme at the very heart of the BFI London Film Festival, delivered by BFI NETWORK. Now in its tenth year, 15 new UK-based writers, directors and producers will participate in an intensive programme of masterclasses, screenings, events with industry professionals. This year’s selected participants are writers, directors and producers whose work is pushing the boundaries of what audiences have come to expect UK film.



The LFF’s annual Buyers & Sellers event presents a number of films which have yet to secure UK distribution or sales representation. Organised by the Festival team and hosted this year at Picturehouse Central, the event is designed to support these films in securing UK theatrical, digital platforms or home entertainment releases. The annual event returns for a day of bespoke, 20-minute speed-dating style meetings during which international sales agents meet with UK buyers. This year’s meetings have been arranged and will take place on Friday 6 October.


The LFF industry programme also includes the two-day Film London Production Finance Market (10-11 October), which connects filmmakers and financiers from around the world and is supported by the Mayor of London and BFI National Lottery funding.     The market’s focused programme complements an intensive business meetings schedule with a keynote address and a case study on new independent film Chuck Chuck Baby, directed by Janis Pugh and supported by the BFI Filmmaking Fund.   Industry delegates are welcome to attend these two sessions and should contact pfm@filmlondon.org.uk to register their interest.  The PFM also includes an Opening Address to be announced which is open to LFF industry delegates.


Film Hub London and the BFI Film Audience Network (BFI FAN) invites FAN members and delegates working in the exhibition sector to a morning of presentations and networking focussing on environmental sustainability.

The event encourages networking between cinemas, festivals, art centres, film clubs and anyone who shows films in across the UK and is an opportunity to share sector news, opportunities, best practice and lessons learnt while developing ways of working together in new and exciting ways.  The event is supported by Film Hub London and managed by Film London. Attendance is by invitation only.


The Festival will be hosting in-person Press and Industry screenings across multiple venues including BFI Southbank, Picturehouse Central and Odeon Luxe Leicester Square will also present online screenings for accredited delegates on the Festival’s digital viewing library with access gained via their Personal Delegate Page.

The BFI LFF Industry Forum will also be hosting networking events in partnership with Apple TV+, BFI NETWORK, the British Council, Directors UK, FOCUS, Glasgow Film Festival, Sunbelt Rental and Reddit. This year’s Industry Forum will close with a celebratory closing party, supported by Reddit. Open to all industry delegate pass holders.

Other services for delegates available on the Press and Industry platform include access to all free short films and discounted tickets to the LFF events in the public programme (excluding first screening Galas and Special Presentations), Screen Talks and LFF Expanded (Industry+ pass only), and to the delegate directory for networking.  Delegates will receive regular updates on films available for sales deals in the UK market and additional resource for any of those titles presented in the festival programme.

The Delegate Hubs will also return for 2023 and will be located in both All Bar One on Leicester Square and Picturehouse Central on Shaftesbury Avenue.

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