What I learned during my first London Film Festival as press


The London Film Festival was an intense and exciting experience as accredited press. I was absolutely knackered by the time it was over and I’m still feeling the effects but I would do it all over again because it was a lot of fun, I saw so many amazing films and met so many fellow film lovers. Here’s what I learned for future LFFs:

  • You will not get much sleep. If you want to watch a ton of films, cover premieres/press conferences and write it all up for your site then you will just be so tired
  • I thought there would be time to write up reviews following each movie but most of time you are going straight from one film to another. Only occasionally did I get chance to write it up straight away – most of time I had to do it on my phone on the tube there and back hence why I ended up with such a backlog
  • In fact between films you pretty much just had time to get in the queue for the next and maybe grab some food or go to the bathroom. That’s it. Tip: queue, get your seat and claim it with a coat and then do all that before the film starts
  • It is easy to review films that are shit or awesome, like usual, but middling films are so difficult during LFF because you forget them straight away so you have nothing when it comes to the review
  • I like watching films and I hear some people see five a day. My maximum on one day was four but I averaged three. Three is fine if they are spaced out and you have time to get some fresh air and just chill out. Seeing three essentially back-to-back is tough. Your mind is fuzzy and you cannot concentrate so well, your eyes are dry and tired and you will mostly likely not give that film your full attention – you might even fall asleep
  • People walk out of films like nobody’s business. I don’t understand that at all – if I have started watching a film at a cinema, I will finish it. You may end up missing something great!
  • Getting up for morning screenings gets increasingly harder – at the start of the week I would get to each half an hour early to be sure I’d get in, but by the end, I sacked off one and turned up to others with 10 minutes to spare
  • Press screenings clash all the time so you can’t see everything you want to. I missed out on A Monster Calls, A United Kingdom and The Handmaiden to name a few.
  • When a public screening is advertised as sold out, there are probably still some press tickets
  • You must queue for really popular press screenings – for example, I got to La La Land more than an hour early and some people were turned away. You also have to queue for public screenings and will only be given a ticket once the public are seated
  • You will sometimes be queuing all the way down from Picturehouse Central towards Leicester Square and the public will ask you what’s going on
  • Members of the press will literally run between popular screenings – I’m thinking of the dash between Nocturnal Animals at the VUE West End to the Picturehouse Central for Free Fire

From speaking to other, more experienced, members of the press I know LFF is different to the other film festivals but I’ve had a taste of it now and want to do them all. A European one next I think.

This is my last LFF post and I want to thank everyone who has read any of my coverage. I was a lot of hard work getting those reviews done when all I wanted to do was sleep but the viewing figures kept me going. This is one of the best month’s figures I’ve had in a long time and that’s all thanks to you guys. Thank you so much!

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