Oscar-winning filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro’s upcoming film Pinocchio will have its world premiere at the 66th BFI London Film Festival.
The stop-motion musical animation is based on Carlo Collodi’s tale and will follow the journey of a wooden boy magically brought to life by a puppet-maker’s wish.
The film, set during the rise of fascism in Mussolini’s Italy and starring newcomer Gregory Mann and Star Wars actor Ewan McGregor, is one of 22 feature films debuting at this year’s festival.
Also included in the line-up is musician Yungblud’s original scripted short of self-discovery, titled Mars and starring Heartstopper favourite Yasmin Finney, who is joining the cast of Doctor Who.
As is whistleblower comedy Klokkenluider starring Jenna Coleman and Tom Burke, part-improvised love story She Is Love featuring Sam Riley, and dark thriller Inland starring Sir Mark Rylance.
Similarly, Academy Award winner Asif Kapadia’s collaboration with acclaimed choreographer Akram Khan, Creature, will feature alongside family animation My Father’s Dragon from Nora Twomey and Irish animation studio Cartoon Saloon.
Yemi Bamiro is set to return to the festival with his follow up to Michael Jordan portrait One Man And His Shoes with Super Eagles ’96, about the Nigerian football team.
The festival will also host the world premiere of three new series made for TV, including Hugo Blick’s western drama The English, about romance and revenge and starring Emily Blunt and Chaske Spencer.
It follows an aristocratic Englishwoman Lady Cornelia Locke, played by Blunt, and Pawnee Nation ex-cavalry scout Eli Whipp, played by Spencer, as they come together in 1890 America “to cross a violent landscape built on dreams and blood”.
Comedy-series Mammals, starring James Corden, Sally Hawkins and written by award-winning playwright Jez Butterworth, who wrote the play Jerusalem, will also premiere in the episodic selection.
Similarly, Damian Lewis will reunite with Homeland screenwriter Alexander Cary for the premiere of A Spy Among Friends, exploring MI6 agent Kim Philby’s defection to the Soviet Union.
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 the festival this year.
Oscar-winning filmmaker Sir Sam Mendes’s upcoming project Empire Of Light, starring Olivia Colman, Michael Ward and Colin Firth, will also have its European premiere at the festival.
The total number of world premieres screening at the festival has increased year on year since 2019, from 11% to 15% of the feature programme, it said.
Tricia Tuttle, the festival’s director, said: “Galas, competitive features, short films – across all sections of the programme, this is perhaps the richest overall selection of world premieres we have had the privilege of hosting at BFI London Film Festival, and we want to give these artists a moment in the sun before the full programme launch.
“Securing world premieres for their own sake is never an aim of our audience-facing festival, but it is an honour that these filmmakers and artists entrust us help them to launch their beautiful work. And this is, at least in part, down to the passion and commitment of our audiences.”
The 66th BFI London Film Festival will take place from October 5 until October 16, with the programme launching on Thursday.