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The London Film Festival announces new title sponsor

The London Film Festival has signed a three-year title sponsorship agreement with The Times newspaper.
Branded The Times bfi London Film Festival, the Festival will take place this year at the earlier date of October 22 to November 6. This change is prompted by a wish to avoid clashing with other key international events, such as MIFED, and also brings the Festival in line with the earlier BAFTA and Academy Award nomination schedules. The announcement was made at a party at the British Pavilion, newly named the UK Film Centre, at the Cannes Film Festival.
Anthony Minghella, chair of the bfi, stated: "We are delighted that The Times will be joining the Festival as our new title sponsor. The Times newspaper is an extremely prestigious and prominent partner, and will undoubtedly make an enormous contribution to the worldwide profile of the Festival."
The Festival's Artistic Director Sandra Hebron added: "The Times combines great enthusiasm for our festival with an understanding of our cultural remit, and their support provides us with the security to develop the festival for the benefit of audiences, film-makers and the industry at large."
Robert Thomson, Editor of The Times, commented: "There is no doubt that the London Film Festival is the most important event on the cinematic and cultural calendar, and we are proud to be the title sponsor. Cinema has a profound role in the life of every person in Britain and we hope that our association will help to give the festival and film the stature that they both surely deserve. We have the most extensive cinema coverage of any newspaper, and this new partnership is a reflection of that commitment."
Presented by the British Film Institute, The Times bfi London Film Festival is Europe's largest public film event. Now in its 47th year, this prestigious sixteen-day festival attracts high-profile international film celebrities, in addition to a host of film directors, writers and producers; international press delegates; and film and television executives from around the world.
Last year, the Festival was host to an unrivalled programme of some 180 feature films and 122 shorts from 48 countries. Festival attendance exceeded 110,000, as stars and film-makers from across the world participated, including directors Paul Thomas Anderson, Stephen Frears, Curtis Hanson, Mike Leigh, Michael Moore, Philip Noyce, Bertrand Tavernier, Thomas Vinterberg, Michael Winterbottom and, with his directorial debut, John Malkovich.
Actors joining the Festival last year included Javier Bardem, Adrien Brody, Helena Bonham-Carter, Sir Michael Caine, Robert Carlyle, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Joseph Fiennes, Kerry Fox, Heath Ledger, Audrey Tautou, Emily Watson and Naomi Watts.
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