Magazine article Screen International

LUFF's Growing Crop for 2012

Magazine article Screen International

LUFF's Growing Crop for 2012

Article excerpt

On the eve of this year's London UK Film Focus (LUFF), running June 25-28, the organisers are in upbeat mood.

One or two Russian buyers may have been struggling to get their visas sorted out in time (apparently because of the backlog in applications caused by the London Olympics). However, there will be more films than usual screening (46 in total as opposed to 41 last year) and the usual mix of around 150 distributors and festival programmers will be in attendance.

The recent mini-boom in new UK-based sales companies has made London even more of a magnet for film buyers. Those recently formed outfits like Embankment, Altitude and Mister Smith Entertainment have all registered for LUFF, even if it's too early for them to offer screenings.

"LUFF is a very successful event which is really brought in for very little cost when you consider how many people are benefitting from it," says Helena Mackenzie, Head of Inward Investment & Business Development at Film London, of the BFI-backed event which costs around £150,000 to stage.

Last year's LUFF titles generated a record $11.5 million in sales with films like Dexter Fletcher's Wild Bill (later bought by Universal), Felicity Jones-starring rom com Chalet Girl and Irish dancing documentary Jig all screening.

This year's edition also promises a rich crop. Premieres include Julien Temple's documentary about London's music scene, London - The Modern Babylon from Ealing Metro International; Stuart Urban's macabre comedy May I Kill U? (sold by Moviehouse); and Ashes, directed by Mat Whitecross, and starring Ray Winstone, Jim Sturgess and Leslie Manville (sold by The Works).

Content Film will be screening 8 Minutes Idle, its new romantic comedy about life in a telephone call centre. Content is also premiering Flying Blind, a love story about an older woman and a young Muslim man starring Helen McCrory, and 1950s-set Daphne Du Maurier adaptation The Scapegoat from director Charles Sturridge (of Brideshead Revisited and Lassie fame.)

Not all the films are British. UK sales agents can also screen international titles. Intandem is showing Stephen Gyllenhaal's Grassroots, a Seattle-set comedy starring Jason Biggs. This is the story an unemployed music critic who makes an outlandish foray into local politics.

"It (LUFF) is a great market because it follows just after Cannes and just before the holiday season. It's an opportunity to meet buyers before everybody goes off on European holidays," says Intandem boss Gary Smith. …

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