Amma Asante’s 'A United Kingdom' to Open BFI London Film Festival

By Wiseman, Andreas | Screen International, June 21, 2016 | Go to article overview

Amma Asante’s 'A United Kingdom' to Open BFI London Film Festival


Wiseman, Andreas, Screen International


The 60th BFI London Film Festival (Oct 5-16) will open with director Amma Asante's (Belle) drama A United Kingdom, starring David Oyelowo (Selma) and Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl).

The film will receive its European premiere at the festival on Wednesday Oct 5, marking the second consecutive year that London has opened with a film from a female director following last year's opener Suffragette.

Cast and filmmakers are expected to attend the screening, which will be cinecast across the UK.

Set in the late 1940s, the true story centres on Prince Seretse Khama of Botswana (Oyelowo), who caused an international stir when he married white British office worker Ruth Williams (Pike).

Screenplay comes from Guy Hibbert (Eye In The Sky), based on the book Colour Bar by Susan Williams. Other cast includes Jack Davenport (Pirates of the Caribbean), Terry Pheto (Mandela), Tom Felton (Harry Potter), Arnold Oceng (Adulthood), Jack Lowden ('71) and Laura Carmichael (Downton Abbey).

The film is produced by Rick McCallum (Star Wars), David Oyelowo, Justin Moore-Lewy, Brunson Green (The Help) and Charlie Mason. Executive producers are Pathé's Cameron McCracken, BBC Films' Christine Langan, the BFI's Ben Roberts, Ingenious Media's Eleanor Clark Windo and Guy Hibbert.

Clare Stewart, BFI London Film Festival director, said: "Amma Asante's A United Kingdom is testament to a defiant and enduring love story that also reveals a complex, painful chapter in British history. …

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