BFI Southbank

The BFI Southbank is operated by the British Film Institute cinema, which is located on London's South Bank. The institution was founded in 1952 as the National Film Theatre (NFT ) is regarded as one of the major independent cinemas in the UK. It mainly shows retrospectives of British and international cinema, but is also venue of the London Film Festival and many other film festivals.

History of Cinema

Shortly after the founding of the British Film Institute ( BFI), a film archive, now the BFI National Archive was created in 1935, which developed under its first curator Ernest Lindgren to a film library with their own screenings. These demonstrations, however, were sporadic and were held at different locations.

In 1952 received the BFI a private movie theater, as it was able to take the Telekinema. This modern cinema was built in 1951 for the Festival of Britain on the South Bank of the River Thames near Waterloo Station. It was designed by Canadian architect Wells Coates, provided space for 410 spectators and showed during the festival 3D movies and TV shows as the main attraction.

Under the name National Film Theatre, the BFI cinema became a public attraction. In addition to films from their own archives European and non-European films were shown from the beginning, retrospectives were the focus of the film program. In October 1957 moved into the National Film Theatre his new quarters at the southern end of Waterloo Bridge, a few meters away from the first location. At the opening of the first London was organized film festival, which has since developed into the most important British Film Festival.

The building was designed by the architectural department of the London County Council, responsible architect was Norman Engleback. Engleback was responsible for the construction of additional buildings on the South Bank in the following years. In the late 1960s, the gap between the Royal Festival Hall and the NFT with the Queen Elizabeth Hall was closed, northeast of the National Film Theatre was the Royal National Theatre built in 1976. The Cultural South Bank are regarded as outstanding examples of brutalism in the UK.

In 1970 the National Film Theatre was extended by a second screening room. In 1988, the Museum of the Moving Image ( MOMI ) was opened in the immediate vicinity of the NFT. In the rooms of the Film Museum, the National Film Theatre received a third, smaller cinema. Even after the closure of the MOMI in 1999, the cinema was operated. Also in 1999, the largest IMAX theater in the United Kingdom was only a few hundred meters southeast of the NFT with the BFI IMAX opened.

2002 celebrated the National Film Theatre 's 50th birthday. In the following years, the construction of a more representative cinemas was promoted by the British Film Institute. In a first step, the National Film Theatre was renovated and expanded, the former Museum of the Moving Image has been converted to this new entrance area. Connected to the renovation was a renaming of the NFT to BFI Southbank, which was opened in March 2007. The new complex contains not only the renovated cinemas a new studio, a media center with access to the digitized archive film of the BFI, as well as cafes and restaurants.

The BFI Southbank is in accordance with the plans of the BFI but only an intermediate solution is dar. aim is to create a National Film Centre, in addition to five new cinemas and the National Film Archive is home to. The cost of this project are carried to 166 million pounds, a commitment by the British government on a cost share of 45 million pounds but was withdrawn in 2010 because of the financial crisis.

2010/2011, BFI Southbank and its various facilities had more than 1.4 million visitors, was attended by around 360,000 a film screening. More than 1000 films are listed each year in the three cinema halls of the BFI Southbank. The largest hall, NFT 1 comprises 450 seats, NFT 147 and NFT 2 offers 3134 seats. Established in 2007, newly decorated studio is designed for 38 spectators.

Cultural Significance

The BFI Southbank is considered the " flagship" of the London cinemas and is perceived by the public as the flagship and most well-known establishment of the British Film Institute. It had from the beginning a great influence on the establishment of international films and filmmakers in the UK. Previously neglected film nations such as Yugoslavia were presented by film series, the British public.

Before all the Asian film was funded by the National Film Theatre. So Akira Kurosawa included Castle in the Spinnwebwald and Satyajit Ray's Aparajito, the second part of his Apu Trilogy, the films that were shown in 1957 at the first London Film Festival. 1960 was the first time presents a comprehensive exhibition of Chinese film in NFT outside of Asia. Also in the early 2000s rekindled interest in the Indian and Japanese film in the UK is due to the NFT of film expert John Riley 's view.

Addition to the presentation of non-European films, the National Film Theatre became an important promoter of young British filmmakers. Right from the foundation of the NFT Film Institute Experimental Film Fund a set up by the British, were financed by the numerous film projects. Under the title of Free Cinema, a program was shown with three documentary films in February 1956. By 1959, five more film programs followed under this name; the Free Cinema movement culminated in the British New Wave and established the careers of directors like Tony Richardson, Lindsay Anderson and Karel Reisz, who in 1952 was the first curator of the NFT.

1970 Film Theatre was the first international film festival for underground films take place in the National. With the establishment of regional film center modeled after the NFT unabgängige directors should be further promoted in the 1970s, but many of these arthouse cinemas were closed again after a short time. The NFT in London thus remained the determining means for non-commercial screenings in the UK.

First time in 1977 a program of films was presented with homosexual content in the NFT. 1986 another film series was launched under the title Gay 's Own Pictures, from which developed two years later the first London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival ( LLGFF ). It is now the third-largest film festival in the UK. In addition to the London Film Festival and the LLGFF events take place more film festivals in the cinema halls of the BFI Southbank. Thus, the BFI Southbank involved, among other things at the London Short Film Festival, the London Independent Film Festival, the Women's Film Festival Birds Eye View and the UK Jewish Film Festival.

In addition to the film programs, interviews and discussions are held regularly at BFI Southbank. From 1968 to 1973, the John Player Lectures were held in which filmmakers told about their work and it also answered questions from the audience. These events were recorded by the BBC and broadcast in their TV program. In 1980, in collaboration with the Guardian revived the series as The NFT / Guardian interview.

Pictures of BFI Southbank