James Schamus to deliver inaugural address at London Film Festival

MUMBAI: Oscar-nominated and BAFTA winning producer and screenwriter James Schamus will give the keynote address at the Times BFI 53rd London Film Festival.

Schamus will talk on 27 October on My Wife Is a Terrorist: Lessons In Storytelling From The Department of Homeland Security.

Festival artistic director Sandra Hebron said, "We are delighted to be working alongside Skillset on this event. James is not only someone with an enviable track record in our industry, he is also a scholar and an original thinker, and was our obvious first choice to deliver this keynote speech. I am thrilled he accepted our invitation, and am very much looking forward to what promises to be a fascinating and thought-provoking address."

Skillset director of film Neil Peplow said, "James is the perfect person to deliver the inaugural LLF/Skillset Industry Keynote Address. Combining a hugely successful career, in his words, ‘helping run the studio, screenwriting, producing films and teaching at Columbia’, he has a truly unique perspective to present, and one that I’m sure we’ll all be fascinated to learn from. By establishing this Industry Keynote Address I’m delighted that Skillset is able to build on our partnership with the LFF and complement the many other initiatives that we support at the festival."

Further innovations in the Festival’s 2009 industry programme include a major one day film festivals forum Virtually A Reality: How to Digitise Your Festival, in association with the UK Film Council, Skillset and Film London; which will look at digital opportunities for film festivals across the UK’s regions and nations, as well as a major debate on the role and importance of cinema and particularly British films in contemporary culture, also in association with the UK Film Council.

UK Film Council head of distribution Pete Buckingham added, "Not only are we at the UK Film Council proud to be involved at the heart of this year’s London Film Festival, but we’re also excited that such a world-renowned writer and producer is coming to the festival to talk to filmmakers and film fans at what promises to be a major cultural and thought-provoking event. The UK Film Council’s support for initiatives such as Power to the Pixel, the first forum for all those who run film festivals, and a public debate on film and culture, is helping to bring exciting must-go events at the LFF to both filmmakers and audiences."

Film London CEO Adrian Wootton said: "Film London continues to support the LFF’s industry programme, acknowledging it is a vital part of the festival. The various training programmes and discussion events – which utilise the wealth of talent attending the festival – offers valuable learning opportunities and provide a significant legacy for the capital’s film-makers. In addition to this, the LFF provides a recognised destination for the international industry to do business – through events such as the Production Finance Market – which has a fantastic impact on the city. It brings valuable business to the capital helping to maintain its position as a competitive global economic centre. We are especially grateful to London Development Agency for their continued funding to allow us to support this element of the festival."

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