The 65th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express has announced that this year’s American Express Headline Gala will be ‘The Power of the Dog’, directed by Oscar® and Palme d’Or winning filmmaker Jane Campion.

The film will receive its UK Premiere on Monday 11 October at LFF Gala venue the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, with Campion expected to attend along with the key cast.

Adapted for the screen by Campion and based on the 1967 novel by Thomas Savage, the film features an international cast with Oscar® nominee Benedict Cumberbatch and Jesse Plemons playing the Burbank brothers, alongside Kirsten Dunst and Kodi Smit-McPhee. The film will debut on Netflix later in the year following a theatrical release in UK cinemas.

The film follows the story of Phil Burbank, played by Cumberbatch, a charismatic rancher who inspires fear and awe in those around him. When his brother brings home a new wife and her son, Phil torments them until he finds himself exposed to the possibility of love.

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Writer, director and producer Jane Campion, said: “I am thrilled to share The Power of the Dog at the LFF. It will be an honour to be there along with so many of my British team members, large amongst them the brilliant Benedict Cumberbatch who is the broken heart and dark soul of this story.”

Tricia Tuttle, BFI London Film Festival Director said: “Jane Campion is one of the world’s great filmmakers. An artist with the ability to get under your skin, make you see things in people and situations you would otherwise miss. And that is so true of The Power of the Dog. It’s a sumptuous new work with many delicately revealed surprises, not least a deliciously dark performance from Benedict Cumberbatch. It’s such a pleasure to have Campion return to the LFF with our American Express Gala.”

The 65th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express takes place from Wednesday 6 October – Sunday 17 October 2021. The LFF Programme Launch will take place on Tuesday 7 September 2021.