The BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express has announced that this year’s Opening film will be ‘Mangrove’, directed by the multi-award-winning visual artist and filmmaker Steve McQueen.

Marking 50 years since the events depicted in the film, MANGROVE tells the true story of the Mangrove 9, the group of Black activists who clashed with London police during a protest march in 1970 and their highly publicised trial that followed. The trial was the first judicial acknowledgement of behaviour motivated by racial hatred within the Metropolitan Police.

The film is one of five films from Small Axe, a drama anthology which comprises five original films created by Steve McQueen for BBC One.

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Co-written by McQueen and Alastair Siddons. the film stars Letitia Wright, Shaun Parkes and Malachi Kirby.

The film will receive its European premiere on Wednesday 7th October as part of the Festival’s innovative 12-day offering which takes the entire Festival out to cities around the UK, and with many films across a programme also available for virtual premieres at home.

“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 fifty years ago, but it’s as relevant today as it was then.” said McQueen.

This year, Festival audiences will be invited to book tickets to preview the film for free at venues across the UK on Wednesday 7th October ahead of its broadcast on BBC One this autumn.

‘Small Axe’ will premiere on BBC One and iPlayer this autumn and air on Amazon Prime Video in the US.

The 64th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express takes place from Wednesday 7th October-Sunday 18th October 2020. The full festival programme will be announced at an online launch on Tuesday 8th September 2020 and all tickets will be bookable via venue partners.