The London Film Festival 2013

Captain Phillips

The 57th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express started on Wednesday October 9 with a stellar line up of films.

Here is a sneak peak of a few of those films.

Opening Night Gala

Captain Phillips - Tom Hanks (Directed by Paul Greengrass)

The first of two films starring Hanks in the festival, the eagerly awaited Captain Phillips has Hanks as the captain of a cargo ship which is hijacked by Somalis. The buzz on this film is that it is Hank's best performance ever, and that the actors who play the kidnappers are just as good. This will be the film to watch.

Saving Mr. Banks - Tom Hanks (Directed by Lee Hancock)

This is the other film starring Hanks, and is about the making of Mary Poppins, the 1964 film which starred Julie Andrews. Emma Thompson plays PL Travers, the creator of Poppins, while Hanks plays Walt Disney. In this film, Disney asks Travers to come to Hollywood to participate in the development of the screenplay for Poppins.

12 Years A Slave - (Directed by Steve McQueen)

Unknown actor Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Solomon, an accomplished violinist who is living as a free man in New York City but is conned into joining a traveling show and then sold into slavery. Ejiofor is being tipped for the Best Actor Oscar for his performance. 12 Years A Slave is produced by Brad Pitt, who has a small role in the film. Expect awards aplenty for this film.

Gravity - Sandra Bullock and George Clooney (Directed by Alfonso Cuaron)

Cuaron, director of the well-received Pan's Labyrinth and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, leads heavy duty starts Bullock and Clooney who play astronauts who encounter danger on a mission in space. Expect huge box office for this film.

Labor Day - Kate Winslet (Directed by Jason Reitman)

Winslet, back on the big screen for the first time since 2011's Contagion, plays the reclusive mother of a sensitive teenager, and is withdrawn and brokenhearted after the breakdown of her marriage. On Labor Day weekend, they meet a wounded man (Josh Brolin), who changes their lives forever.

The Invisible Woman - Ralph Fiennes, Kristin Scott Thomas (Directed by Fiennes)

Fiennes, who directed Coriolanus, stars as Charles Dickens, and tells the story of his affair with a young actress (Felicity Jones), which lasts until his death. Thomas plays the young girl's mother. The Invisible Woman was written by recent Emmy winner Abi Morgan, who also wrote The Iron Lady.

The Epic of Everest - Directed by John Noel

Another documentary about Mount Everest? Yes, but this one is different. It records the third attempt to climb Everest, which culminated in the deaths of George Mallory and Andrew Irvine. This sparked the debate on whether they made it to the top or not. Noel filmed this in brutally harsh conditions to realistically retell this moment in history.

Parkland - Directed by Peter Landesman

Hanks (him again?) produced this film, which recreates the events of November 22, 1963, the day that President John F. Kennedy was shot dead in his motorcade while traveling through downtown Dallas. Featuring an ensemble cast, including Zac Effron, Billy Bob Thornton, Paul Giamatti, and Colin Hanks (his son), Parkland tells in detail every single decision that was made that day which would change history.

Kill Your Darlings - Daniel Radcliffe (Directed by John Krokidas)

The hotly anticipated Kill Your Darlings has Radcliffe playing a young Allen Ginsburg. Torn between loyalty to his sick mother and the burgeoning Beat Generation scene of downtown New York City in 1944, Kill Your Darlings follows the trails of Ginsburg as he makes friendships with William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac.

These are just some of the highlights as to what is on offer at the festival. For more information, and to buy tickets, please visit