Tag Archives: bffs booking scheme

Documentaries on the BFFS Booking Scheme

After the brilliant Doc/Fest hit Sheffield last week we’ve been thinking about documentaries, so here’s a brief look at a few of  the 150+ documentaries on offer via the BFFS Booking Scheme.

Shut Up and Play the Hits

LCD soundsystem

The carefully orchestrated end to a hugely influential band – Shut Up And Play The Hits details the build up to, and aftermath of, LCD Soundsystem’s final ever gig. An epic 4 hour gig at Madison square Garden saw LCD Soundsystem hold ‘the best funeral ever’. The doc presents an intimate portrait of frontman James Murphy, who’s honest and unflinching interview with Chuck Klosterman, as well as the footage of him the day after the gig, contrasts with the incredible concert footage. Watch the trailer

Way of the Morris

Way of the Morris

Filmmaker Tim Plester embarks on a journey from his childhood village to the battlefields of World War I as he explores the connection between the morris dancers of Adderbury and the history of his community. A film about the importance of tradition and spirit in rural communities Way of the Morris is a moving and, thanks to Plester’s self-mocking persona, amusing look at the oft-maligned art of morris dancing. Watch the trailer

The First Movie

The First Movie

In 2008 Mark Cousins’ travelled to Goptapa in Northern Iraq, a town that was devastated during Saddam Hussein’s genocide against the Kurds. But Cousins did not go to simply make a film about what happened, but to allow the children of the town to make their own films. First he introduced them to cinema – none of the children had seen a film before – and then gave them camera to make their own films. The results are magnificent, heart-breaking and insightful; and Cousins’ documentary is testament to the power of film.

Bobby Fischer Against the World


The remarkable story of Bobby Fischer, arguably the greatest chess player ever, who not only became the youngest grandmaster in history, but also won what was described as the “Match of the Century” against the Russian Boris Spassky. The match in 1972 played out against the backdrop of Cold-War tensions and made Fischer world-famous. His victory brought him huge fame across America, but he almost immediately disappeared from competitive chess and his behaviour became more erratic.  By the 1990s he was wanted by the US Government for breaking an embargo, and he was held in Japan before escaping to Iceland. Combining interviews with rare archival footage, Liz Garbus’s documentary is a fascinating and engrossing look at a troubled genius. Watch the trailer



Likely to put off those who don’t appreciate its eccentric sense of humour, Swandown is a bizarre and seemingly pointless film that I nevertheless find to be uniquely entertaining. A travelogue of sorts, filmmaker Andrew Kötting and writer Iain Sinclair steal a swan-shaped pedalo from Hastings and pedal it up the River Thames to Hackney; partly as an act of protest but mostly to demonstrate the idiocy of pedalling a pedalo 160 miles up a river. Along the way they ruminate on the English countryside and are shouted at by passers-by. Bemusing, diverting and strangely thought-provoking Swandown is (probably fortunately) one of a kind. Trailer

And if you were around at the festival here’s a few films that are on the Booking Scheme/coming soon:

We Are Poets – Profiling the teenagers that make up Leeds Young Authors, and their entry into Brave New Voices, a prestigious poetry slam competition held in Washington, DC, We Are Poets demonstrates the power of the spoken word. (Available now)

The Act of Killing – Joshua Oppenheimer confronts former members of Indonesia’s death squads. Unrepentant of their crimes, Oppenheimer encourages them to stage bizarre and chilling re-enactments of their murders. In doing so they begin to realise the horror of their actions. Winner of the Special Jury Award at Doc/Fest. (Available later this year)

Blackfish – In 2010, Tilikum, the killer whale who has become Seaworld’s biggest attraction, killed one of its trainers. Though there are no reported incidents of orcas attacking humans in the wild, this is not the first time Seaworld’s killer whales have injured trainers. Blackfish looks at the damage done to animals held in captivity and argues for a drastic reform to such practices.  (Available later this year)

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a hijacking

Coming Soon – A Hijacking

Update: A Hijacking is available to book now to screen from 1st May 2014.

Tobias Lindholm’s nerve-shredding thriller is coming to the BFFS Booking Scheme this summer. Uncompromisingly realistic and directed with a masterful eye towards building tension A Hijacking is one of this year’s standout films.of the Danish cargo ship, MV Rosen, where half of the film’s narrative takes place, in favour of concentrating on what comes next: negotiation, uncertainty, fear and frustration. And it turns out that this is where the real drama lies.

A Hijacking

The film comes across as so grounded in reality, so accurate and detailed that it is easy to forget that you are watching a fictional film. Lindholm was inspired to make the film after learning about the hijacking of two Danish cargo ships in 2007 and 2008, but the film itself is not based on any particular case. It appears however to have been impeccably researched and filming took place on a ship that had been previously been hijacked, while real life negotiator Gary Skjoldmose Porter plays a version of himself.

The film’s narrative is split between events on the Rosen where Mikkel, the ship’s cook, (played by Borgen star Pilou Asbæk) as well as the other sailors wait in captivity with no idea how or when they are likely to be freed; and the offices of the shipping company where CEO Peter (played by Borgen’s other big star Søren Malling) leads negotiations with the pirates and struggles to cope with the pressure.

It is a film that concentrates more on emotional drama than action and there are no Hollywood inspired heroics that will save the day. Instead the audience is left in the unusual position of having no assurances as to how the situation is likely to unfold, and the unpredictability makes for engrossing viewing. With uniformly excellent performances across the board and a script that allows the characters to develop without overloading us on backstory, it can be hard to shake the feeling that you are watching real events unfold.


A Hijacking is in cinemas now and will be available on the BFFS Booking Scheme from the end of August.

Miller's Crossing

From the MPLC Collection: Miller’s Crossing

Miller’s Crossing is a recent addition to the BFFS Booking Scheme catalogue as part of the MPLC Collection.

Starring Gabriel Byrne, Marcia Gay Harden, John Turturro and Albert Finney, Miller’s Crossing is a noirish gangster thriller from the inestimable Coen Brothers. Set during Prohibition, Tom Reagan (Byrne) an advisor to Leo (Finney) the dominant crime boss, seeks to balance rising tensions between Leo and his rival, Johnny Caspar, and prevent an all-out war.

Leo (Albert Finney) in Miller's Crossing
“The old man’s still an artist with a Thompson”

The writing of Miller’s Crossing was famously difficult, with Joel and Ethan taking time off in the middle to pen Barton Fink, a film about a screenwriter suffering from writer’s block, but the effort produced one of the most gripping and darkly humorous films of the Coen’s career so far. Many of their trademarks are here: absurdly named characters (Turturro’s Bernie Bernbaum is tremendous in both name and character), stark bursts of over the top violence, cracking dialogue (look no further than Johnny Caspar’s opening monologue about ethics) and a fat man screaming (video contains spoilers). A long time favourite of mine, there’s a strong argument for Miller’s Crossing being the Coen’s finest work so far. The Danny Boy set piece, Tom’s dry wit, The Dane, Carter Burwell’s score and Barry Sonnenfield’s beautiful cinematography are highlights in a consistently excellent film.

Miller’s Crossing is one of 50 MPLC titles that you can book through BFFS from just £85 per title.

The full list of MPLC titles is available on the BFFS website as part of the full BFFS Booking Scheme catalogue. All you need to do is fill in the usual Booking Form with the film and date, we’ll then process your booking and you’ll receive a licence from MPLC. After your screening you will need to fill in a returns form as MPLC titles are booked on a commercial basis of £85 minimum guarantee/35% of box office.

Why not screen Miller’s Crossing as part of a Coen Brothers retrospective with Fargo and Raising Arizona, both titles also available on the Booking Scheme?

It would also make a great addition to a season of classic crime films with other titles such as  Rififi, Brute Force, King of New York and The Conformist.
Gabriel Byrne in Miller's Crossing

Book films from the BFFS Booking Scheme

New Title – Weekend Retreat

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/25734172]

by Julia Vickers

Brett Harvey’s brilliant British indie feature is now available via the BFFS Booking Scheme. This delicious black comedy thriller garnered a huge amount of praise and publicity on its release: A truly glorious mix of drama and comedy – Little White Lies, Darkly Comic – Empire. The film has featured at many film festivals across the UK and won many awards: Winner of the Golden Chough Award, Cornwall Film Festival, Winner of Best Writer/Director London Independent Film Festival, Best Film and Best Actor (Female) Edinburgh Bootleg Film Festival.


Book the film

Laurence Anyways

Laurence Anyways – available now

From young Director Xavier Dolan, (Heartbeats and I Killed My Mother – both available from the Booking Scheme) comes the epic love story, Laurence Anyways

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvW0XrbQM7U?feature=player_detailpage&w=640&h=360]

Flying in the face of fear and prejudice, Laurence tells his girlfriend Fred that he wants to become a woman. In spite of the odds, and in spite of each other, for ten years they confront the contempt and bigotry of their friends, ignore the counsel of their families, and brave the phobias of the society they offend – but will this stand cost Fred and Laurence both themselves and each other?

Provocative, revelatory and stunningly beautiful, this third major film from Xavier Dolan garnered two awards at the Cannes’ 2012 festival and received huge acclaim from critics and public alike.

“It’s hard to imagine that the prodigiously gifted Dolan is still in his early twenties. This is another work of marvellous maturity and assurance” Empire Magazine

To book a film or to find our more about the scheme, go to the BFFS website.

I Wish

New title – I Wish available April 1st

BFFS are delighted to continue bringing film society and community cinema programmers access to the fantastic and varied catalogue of Arrow Films (The Hunt, Cinema Paradiso and many more…)

The latest addition is the heart warming Japanese film I Wish

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05jKUWmgBQM?feature=player_detailpage&w=640&h=360]

Twelve-year-old Koichi lives with his mother and retired grandparents in Kagoshima, in the southern region of Kyushu, Japan. His younger brother Ryunosuke lives with their father in Hakata, northern Kyushu. The brothers have been separated by their parents’ divorce and Koichi’s only wish is for his family to be reunited. When he learns that a new bullet train line will soon open, linking the two towns, he starts to believe that a miracle will take place the moment these new trains first pass each other at top speed. With help from the adults around him, Koichi sets out on a journey with a group of friends, each hoping to witness a miracle that will improve their difficult lives.

I Wish is the latest film from Hirokazu Kore-eda,  the director of Nobody Knows and Still Walking.

Read the five star review from The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw

Read and download the BFFS programme notes to accompany I Wish – feel free to hand these out to your audience

Book now to screen the film from April 1st.

New titles: classic Sherlock Holmes

Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes
Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes

We are very excited to be able bring a collection of classic Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes to the BFFS Booking Scheme.

This series produced in Hollywood between 1942 and 1946 feature the world’s favorite detective and his sidekick Dr Watson battle against villains in the form of Nazi’s, master criminals and insurance frauds.

Individual screenings will be charged at the usual flat fee rate of £85 but for the special offer price of £145 you can screen any two – either as a double bill or on different nights. If you would like to screen more than 2 of the films, please get in touch for more special rates.

Holmes and Watson join up with the wartime British Intelligence service to stop Nazi saboteurs whose activities are announced by the mysterious ‘Voice of Terror’.

Holmes pretends to be a Nazi spy to aid scientist Dr. Franz Tobel (William Post Jr.) and his new invention, a bombsight, in escaping a Gestapo trap in Switzerland.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17lS2k-KhLo?feature=player_detailpage&w=640&h=360]

After the king of Rovinia is found murdered, Holmes and Watson are hired to escort his son and heir, Prince Nikolas, home. A flight is arranged but the aircraft can only take Holmes and Nikolas so Watson is ordered to follow on a passenger ship. On the voyage Watson learns that the plane crashed, and fears the worst…

A British agent carrying a vital document is murdered on his way to deliver it in the USA. Holmes deduces how he was carrying the document and goes to Washington with Watson to find the killer and retrieve the file before it falls into the hands of an “international spy ring”

Dr. Watson is serving as resident doctor at Musgrave Hall, a stately home which is also used as a hospital for a number of servicemen suffering from shell shock. He enlists the help of Holmes after his assistant is attacked. Scotland Yard detective Lestrade also arrives after the first in a series of murders which seem to be tied up with an ancient and apparently meaningless family ritual.

Theatrical Poster for The Scarlet Claw

Holmes investigates a series of bizarre apparent suicides among wealthy gamblers that he believes are being committed by a woman as cunning and dangerous as Moriarty.

Lord Penrose requests Sherlock Holmes’ help when his wife is found murdered in the village of La Mort Rouge. Sherlock is further intrigued when he receives a telegram from Lady Penrose herself, sent shortly before her death, also asking for his help. The villagers believe she is a victim of a legendary monster but Sherlock suspects a human culprit. Regarded by many as the best of the fourteen Sherlock Holmes films made by Rathbone and Bruce.

The theft of a valuable pearl with a sinister history is linked by Sherlock to a series of apparently motiveless murders. The master criminal Giles Conover and ‘The Hoxton Creeper’ appear to be behind the murders and Holmes and Watson must deduce what links the murders  before more victims are found.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJhJ9seU3Gs?feature=player_detailpage&w=640&h=360]

Holmes is contacted by an insurance agent, Chalmers, who tells him of a group of seven men known as ‘The Good Comrades’ who live together in a remote castle. One of the seven received a mysterious letter containing only seven orange pips. The following day he was found murdered an his body mutilated. A few days letter a second man received a letter containing six pips, and was also found dead shortly after. Chalmers suspects one of the seven is murdering the others in order to receive the extensive life insurance policy the group hold with him and begs Holmes to work out who it is before the rest are murdered.

Several young women are found murdered across London, each with a forefinger severed. Scotland Yard suspect a madman but Holmes believes there is more to it, and fears that Moriarty may have returned.

When the fabled Star of Rhodesia diamond is stolen on a London to Edinburgh train and the son of its owner is murdered, Sherlock Holmes must discover which of his suspicious fellow passengers is responsible.

Also known as Prelude to Murder  and Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Code , Dressed to Kill is the last of fourteen films starring Basil Rathbone. Three cheap musical boxes  manufactured in Dartmoor Prison are sold at a local auction house. However, a criminal gang is determined to steal and recover all three, even if it means committing murder. Holmes tries to recover the music boxes and crack the secret code contained in the tune before the gang can get what they want.

The Hunt – available to screen from February 25th

Bookings are already flooding in for The Hunt, the critically acclaimed and BAFTA nominated Danish film starring the superb Mads Mikkelsen (A Royal Affair, Casino Royale).

Mads Mikkelsen in The Hunt
Mads Mikkelsen in The Hunt

Following a tough divorce, 40-year-old Lucas has a new girlfriend, a new job and is in the process of re-establishing his relationship with his teenage son, Marcus. But things go awry. Not a lot. Just a passing remark. A random lie. And as the snow falls and the Christmas lights are lit, the lie spreads like an invisible virus. The shock and mistrust gets out of hand, and the small community suddenly finds itself in a collective state of hysteria, while Lucas fights a lonely fight for his life and dignity.

Synopsis from Trust Nordisk, press information and stills are also available

The film scored an excellent 81.4% in the audience reaction scores at the ICO Screening Days and has been called a return to form for Festen director Thomas Vinterberg with The Guardian‘s Peter Bradshaw saying “it is forthright, powerful, composed and directed with clarity and overwhelming force, yet capable of great subtlety and nuance.”

The Telegraph‘s Robbie Collins said “It is rare that a film can make you laugh, cry and shake with fury all at the same time; even rarer when it does so for the right reasons.”

To book the film simply send us a Booking Form

The Booking Scheme is a benefit for Members & Associates of BFFS – for information on joining head to the  BFFS website

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJgJpS6mQi0?feature=player_detailpage&w=640&h=360]

Gael Garcia Bernal and Eugenio Garcia in England to promote NO

I had the absolute pleasure of spending time with Network Releasing this week in the run up to the release of Chile’s first Oscar Nominated Film NO.

Gael Garcia Bernal, the star of the film and Eugenio Garcia on whom his character was partly based were also in London to promote the film – you may have seen them on Newsnight or Channel 4 News but they also found time to record a special Q&A with Amnesty International

Read more about the release of NO 

Remember Film Societies and Community Cinemas can screen NO from 22nd February through the BFFS Booking Scheme.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMPNQzJF49E?feature=player_detailpage&w=640&h=360]

BFFS and the Motion Picture Licensing Company present the MPLC Collection

BFFS is absolutely delighted to announce a fabulous new deal with the Motion Picture Licensing Company which will add 52 ‘big studio’ titles to the BFFS Booking Scheme. The films range from much loved classics such as All About EveAn Affair to Remember and The Day the Earth Stood Still, to ‘must see’ recent and new features like Martha Marcy May MarleneThe Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and The Tree of Life and all will be available on a Screen Your Own Copy basis for the same initial price* as our other Booking Scheme titles – £85 with no extra VAT to pay . (This offers a £5 discount per title compared with booking directly with MPLC.) 

Judi Dench in Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Judi Dench in Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Deborah Parker, BFFS Managing Director said, “We are so pleased to have developed this special offer with MPLC; it’s a marvellous opportunity for BFFS members and associates to programme a greater variety of classic films and new studio releases at a discount. We’ve selected some much loved, and exciting new titles and I’m sure all societies will find something their audiences will adore.”

David Taylor, Commercial Manager of MPLC said, “It’s been a fantastic opportunity to work with BFFS  and make some of our many wonderful titles more easily accessible to members through the excellent BFFS Booking Scheme. We hope this and the great discount does help BFFS members put together some very interesting and varied programmes.”  

The full list of titles is available as part of the full BFFS Booking Scheme catalogue. All you need to do is fill in the usual Booking Form with the film and date and return it to BFFS, we’ll then process your booking and you’ll receive an email direct from MPLC with your licence.

*After your screening you will need to fill in a returns form as MPLC titles are booked on a commercial basis. You will pay the minimum guarantee of £85 or 35% of the box office income on takings above £258. We will then invoice you at the end of the month in which your screening takes place.