Oscar-winning filmmaker Sir Sam Mendes’s upcoming project Empire Of Light will have its European premiere at this year’s BFI London Film Festival.
The film – which marks Mendes’s first foray into solo screenwriting and will star Olivia Colman, Micheal Ward and Colin Firth – will be this year’s American Express Gala screening.
Set in an old cinema in an English seaside town in the early 1980s, it explores human connection and romance.
— BFI (@BFI) August 11, 2022
Mendes said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be included in this year’s BFI London Film Festival as the AMEX Gala screening.
“Empire Of Light is a very personal movie for me, and I can’t wait to show it in my home town.”
The filmmaker has directed the project and is also on producer duties alongside Pippa Harris from Neal Street Productions, in partnership with Searchlight Pictures.
The cast will also feature Toby Jones, Tanya Moodie, Tom Brooke and Crystal Clarke.
BFI London Film Festival director Tricia Tuttle said: “When I read that Sam Mendes’s next project was centred around a cinema, I was so excited about the possibility of being able to present it in the BFI London Film Festival.
“Mendes is a masterful storyteller and here vividly captures a sense of the south coast of England, in the 1980s.
“Empire Of Light explores the importance of community, the power of storytelling and of the movies, specifically the thrill of watching a film in a dark cinema, and the tactile pleasures of celluloid.
“And these are themes so close to our hearts at the BFI. The entire ensemble cast is truly exceptional, with Olivia Colman and Micheal Ward offering stunning central performances.
“We are so looking forward to presenting the European Premiere of Empire Of Light as the American Express Gala at the 66th BFI London Film Festival.”
Empire Of Light will receive its European premiere on Wednesday October 12 at the Southbank Centre in the Royal Festival Hall.
The film is due out in cinemas in the US on December 9 and in the UK on January 13.
It was previously announced that the world premiere of Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical will open the London Film Festival.
The European premiere of Glass Onion, the sequel to Knives Out, starring Daniel Craig, will close out the festival this year.