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Experience The BFI London Film Festival At These 6 Essential Cinemas
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Experience The BFI London Film Festival At These 6 Essential Cinemas

Picture of Chris Evans
Updated: 3 January 2017
The BFI’s (British Film Institute) annual London Film Festival brings together a diverse selection of the world’s best films at the capital’s greatest cinemas. The venues used to screen films vary from historic to innovative, but each contribute their own specific character to the overall festival experience. Below are six of the venues you need to pay a visit during the festival’s 59th year.

Curzon Soho

Curzon Cinemas are one of Britain’s oldest cinema chains. Curzon’s Soho branch was first built in 1912 and has been a hotspot for avid cinemagoers for over a century. Don’t let the cinema’s exterior fool you though, underneath the office block that it supports, Curzon Soho hides a semi-subterranean bar and three screens that are frequented by passionate cinephiles. The cinema’s core clientele is largely made up of critics and industry tastemakers attending exclusive screenings and Q&As with casts and crews. Curzon Soho, along with the chain’s Mayfair and Chelsea branches, will all be in use as part of 2015’s BFI London Film Festival.

99 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, UK +44 330 500 1331


Embedded in the centre of the roundabout on the southern side of Waterloo Bridge, the cylindrical exterior of the BFI IMAX is an unmistakable landmark on London’s South Bank. Designed by the award-winning architect Bryan Avery, the cinema boasts an IMAX screen measuring 20×26 meters; to put that into perspective that’s almost as tall as five double-decker buses. As Britain’s biggest cinema screen, the BFI IMAX offers a truly immersive cinema experience. Since opening in 1999, the venue has been used by the BFI to celebrate the country’s filmic heritage and is also equipped with 70mm and 35mm film projectors to screen classic films in their original formats.

BFI IMAX, 1 Charlie Chaplin Walk, London, UK +44 330 333 7878

Rich Mix

Just off Brick Lane in Shoreditch you will find Rich Mix Cinema. Rich Mix is a former leather factory turned independent arts venue that offers creative spaces for businesses and performances. Rich Mix is driven by a commitment to diversify audiences and to provide a platform for creators from a range of backgrounds. From the 7th to the 18th October, the site’s three cinema screens will contribute to the BFI London Film Festival by hosting a selection of films that include documentaries and world cinema.

35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London, UK +44 20 7613 7498

Ciné Lumière

Part of the Institut Français du Royaume-Uni, the Ciné Lumière is named after French filmmakers and pioneers of the early motion picture, the Lumière Brothers. The cinema’s year-round programming places an emphasis on showcasing French, European, and world cinema, so it is an ideal venue in which to host a selection of foreign films at the BFI London Film Festival. The Ciné Lumière was refurbished in 2008, giving its screening room a beautiful art-deco-inspired look, and regulars will challenge to you to find a cinema with more leg room!

17 Queensberry PIace, London, UK +44 20 7871 3515

Tate Modern

The Tate Modern is one of Britain’s greatest bastions of modern art. Occupying the monolithic shell of the old Bankside Power Station, the Tate Modern is a globally renowned venue known best for its collection of modern and contemporary art that spans from 1900 to the present day. It seems only appropriate given the gallery’s status as a firm proponent of multimedia exhibitions that a number of the BFI London Film Festival’s more experimental performances are held at the gallery. Due to the gallery’s busy calendar, only two events will be held on Saturday 10th October.

Tate Modern, Bankside, London, UK +44 20 7887 8888

Odeon Leicester Square

Famed as the epicentre of Hollywood glamour in London, the cinemas at Leicester Square have hosted their fair share of global film premieres. Odeon Leicester Square is the largest of the square’s cinemas with a capacity of over 1,600, and it was the first cinema in Europe to install a digital projector. Odeon Leicester Square took centre stage on the opening night of the festival by hosting the European premiere of Suffragette as the festival’s first screening. Throughout the festival you can expect to see celebrities walking the red carpet outside, as the most prestigious releases on the festival’s calendar will be screened here. The cinema will also be at the centre of the closing celebrations with the gala screening of Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs biopic being shown on the festival’s final night.

24-26 Leicester Square, London, UK +44 333 006 7777