World Premiere of Steve McQueen’s “Blitz” to Open 68th BFI London Film Festival

Blitz. Photo: Apple
Blitz. Photo: Apple

Short Summary:

The 68th BFI London Film Festival (9-20 October 2024) will open with the world premiere of Steve McQueen's WWII drama "Blitz." The Apple Original Film, starring Saoirse Ronan and newcomer Elliott Heffernan, follows a boy's perilous journey during the London Blitz. The opening night gala will be held at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, with screenings across the UK. The full festival program will be revealed on 4 September 2024.
BFI London Film Festival
United Kingdom (UK)

The 68th BFI London Film Festival, in partnership with American Express, will commence with the world premiere of Steve McQueen’s highly anticipated WWII drama, "Blitz." The opening night gala is scheduled for October 9, 2024, at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, with simultaneous screenings across the UK.

"Blitz," an Apple Original Film, follows the gripping story of George (Elliott Heffernan), a young boy sent to safety in the English countryside by his mother Rita (Saoirse Ronan) during the Blitz in WWII London. Determined to reunite with his family in East London, George embarks on a perilous journey back home, while his distraught mother searches for him. The film also stars Harris Dickinson, Benjamin Clementine, Kathy Burke, and Paul Weller, among others.

Steve McQueen, an Academy Award and BAFTA winner, returns to the BFI London Film Festival with "Blitz," having previously opened the festival with "Widows" in 2018 and "Mangrove" in 2020. His long-standing relationship with the festival includes the premieres of "Hunger," "12 Years a Slave," "Shame," "Lovers Rock," and "Occupied City." McQueen was honored with the BFI Fellowship in 2016 for his significant contributions to film and moving image culture.

Produced by McQueen’s Lammas Park, alongside Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner of Working Title Films, and New Regency’s Arnon Milchan, Yariv Milchan, and Michael Schaefer, "Blitz" is a testament to British cinema. The production team includes notable collaborators such as production designer Adam Stockhausen, costume designer Jacqueline Durran, composer Hans Zimmer, cinematographer Yorick Le Saux, and makeup designer Naomi Donne.

“Blitz is a movie about Londoners,” McQueen stated. “It honors the spirit of what and how Londoners endured during the blitz, exploring the true representation of people in London. At its core is the story of a working-class family desperate to be reunited during times of war. I am thrilled that the BFI London Film Festival has invited us to open this year’s festival in my hometown.”

Kristy Matheson, BFI London Film Festival Director, praised the film, saying, “Blitz is a film of incredible scale. Steve McQueen infuses it with nuance at every turn; the depth of character and texture of the city make this subject feel completely new. It’s an astounding production that will leave audiences in awe. We are honored to share this film with audiences in London and across the UK.”

Following its festival premiere, "Blitz" will be released in select cinemas on November 1, 2024, before streaming globally on Apple TV+ from November 22, 2024.

The 68th BFI London Film Festival will take place from October 9 to 20, 2024, across various venues, including the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, BFI Southbank, and BFI IMAX. Other participating venues include Curzon Mayfair, Curzon Soho, the Institute of Contemporary Arts, Prince Charles Cinema, and Vue West End in London, along with regional cinemas in Nottingham, Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham, Belfast, Sheffield, Newcastle, and Bristol.

In addition to the UK-wide screenings, audiences can explore past and present LFF programs on BFI Player. The full festival program will be unveiled on September 4, 2024, with tickets available from September 17, 2024, with early booking for BFI Members.