European premiere of Suffragette to open 59th BFI London Film Festival

The opening night of the 59th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express® will be attended by the filmmakers and stellar cast, including Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter and Meryl Streep.


Watch the Suffragette trailer

The 59th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express® is delighted to announce that this year’s Opening Night film will be Suffragette, the first feature film to tell the story of the ordinary British women at the turn of the last century who risked everything in the fight for equality and the right to vote.

The film will receive its European premiere on Wednesday 7 October at the Odeon Leicester Square, attended by the filmmakers and stellar cast (including Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter and Meryl Streep), with a live cinecast from the red carpet and simultaneous screenings taking place at cinemas across the UK.

The film stars Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Brendan Gleeson, Anne-Marie Duff, Ben Whishaw and Meryl Streep. It is directed by LFF alumna Sarah Gavron, who returns to the Festival for a third time, reteaming with her Brick Lane screenwriter Abi Morgan (The Iron Lady). Suffragette is produced by Faye Ward and Alison Owen (Saving Mr. Banks, LFF Closing Night film, 2013).

Suffragette is an intense drama that tracks the story of the foot soldiers of the early feminist movement as they fought for the right to vote, women who were forced underground to pursue a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse with an increasingly brutal state. These women were not primarily from the genteel educated classes, they were working women who had seen peaceful protest achieve nothing. Radicalised and turning to violence as the only route to change, they were willing to lose everything in their fight for equality – their jobs, their homes, their children and their lives. The character of Maud, played by Carey Mulligan, is one such footsoldier. The story of her fight for dignity is both heart-breaking and inspirational.

Clare Stewart, BFI London Film Festival Director, says:

“We are proud to announce that the much anticipated Suffragette will be this year’s BFI London Film Festival Opening Night gala. Suffragette is an urgent and compelling film – made by British women, about British women who changed the course of history and it is, quite simply, a film that everyone must see.”

Faye Ward and Alison Owen, producers, comment:

“Suffragette is a film of struggle, a film of rage, but above all a film of passion. The women in our film are British women, London women, so it feels right for us to present our film at BFI London Film Festival. The suffragettes would have felt very much at home here, surrounded by the energy, determination, hard work and inspiration that goes into both the Festival and the films that screen here.”

The film is produced by Ruby Films for Pathé, Film4 and the BFI in association with Redgill Productions and with the participation of Canal+ and Cine-Cinema. Executive producers are Cameron McCracken, Tessa Ross, Rose Garnett, Nik Bower, James Schamus and Teresa Moneo. Christopher Collins was the lead executive for the BFI. Pathé UK release the film in cinemas nationwide on 30 October 2015.

The 59th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express® runs from Wednesday 7 October-Sunday 18 October 2015. The full programme for the Festival will be announced on Tuesday 1 September 2015.

BFI Patrons’ special booking service opens Tuesday 8 September, with BFI Champions’ extra priority on Wednesday 9 September and BFI Members’ priority booking on Thursday 10 September. Tickets go on public sale on Thursday 17 September.

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