'British film industry has never been better': Director Paul Greengrass opens London Film Festival 2013

The Bourne Supremacy director said Britain is regularly attracting the best filmmaking talent

The best filmmaking talent in the world is now regularly coming to London to make movies, according to the award winning British director Paul Greengrass.

Speaking at the official launch of the BFI London Film Festival at the Odeon Leicester Square today, the director of The Bourne Supremacy and United 93 also said the British industry has never been in a stronger position. The 58-year-old described it as a “huge honour” that his latest film, Captain Phillips, starring Tom Hanks and based on a true story of the 2009 hijacking of a US container ship by Somali pirates, will open the LFF on 9 October.

Greengrass said: “British film is on a very positive journey. If you look at the biggest movies in the world, like Star Wars, Gravity – a hugely cutting edge movie - they’re being made in Britain. British technicians are world class and audiences are queuing up to see these films. Distinctive British voices, like Stephen Frears, and all the emerging voices on show here highlight where the industry is. Strong leadership from the British Film Institute helps too. There’s a real vibrancy among British filmmaking and all these elements have been growing for the last 10-15 years and it shows no signs of stopping.”

Taking place over 12 days, the LFF’s 234 fiction and documentary features will be shown at venues across the capital. There will also be screenings of 134 live action and animated shorts before Hanks stars again in the festivals’ closing film, Saving Mr Banks, co-starring Emma Thompson and telling the story of how Mary Poppins was brought to the big screen.

Greengrass began life as a director for ITV’s current affairs show World in Action in the 1980s before breaking catching Hollywood’s attention with the 2002 film Bloody Sunday about the shooting of Northern Ireland anti-internment protestors. Now established among the Hollywood elite, does Greengrass think independents are still being overshadowed by too many blockbusters?

He said: “Obviously in any system you devise you’re going to have commercial films that have to earn their audiences. But today films are delivered in so many different ways. When I started out, cinema was about getting your film onto a screen somewhere – that’s still an issue, but it’s not as big an issue I suspect as it used to be.

“Getting distribution, getting noticed, is a core issue, but that’s a situation that will always face independent filmmaking but technology is working in its favour as you can deliver a film in so many different ways. Digital projection has made it infinitely cheaper to make prints and get films out. Film education is now an increasing part of it. As we look forward to the next generation people don’t just want the multiplex movies, there’s a much more balanced diet.

“There are huge and profound issues, of course, but we have a vibrant culture and there’s no reason why we can’t solve those problems, not overnight but we’re doing well.”

Among the British-made films that will premiere at the LFF is Hello Carter, the debut feature by writer-director Anthony Wilcox, who started out in the industry as an unpaid runner in his gap year before getting a paid position on a feature film earning £200 a week. Fifteen years on he is delighted at how far he has come.

“I think I needed that experience to get the confidence to make the step up to director”, he told the Independent. “There’s no set route into the industry. Teenagers are shooting their own film at home now and perhaps it’s easier now than it was in the 1990s. I can’t stress how important it is for Hello Carter to be at the festival, it’s the lifeblood for us. It’s such a London film and we were over the moon when we found out.”

The BFI London Film Festival, October 9-20, bfi.org.uk/lff

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
'Eminem's recovery from substance abuse has made him a more potent performer, with physical charisma and energy he never had before'
musicReview: Wembley Stadium ***
Arts and Entertainment
‘Dawn of Planet of the Apes’ also looks set for success in the Chinese market

film
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Comedian, actor and broadcaster Sanjeev Bhaskar

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Chocolat author Joanne Harris has spoken about the financial struggles most authors face

books
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from How To Train Your Dragon 2

Review: Imaginative storytelling returns with vigour

film
Arts and Entertainment
Josh Hutcherson, Donald Sutherland and Jena Malone in Mockinjay: Part 1

film
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
A waxwork of Jane Austen has been unveiled at The Jane Austen Centre in Bath

books
Arts and Entertainment
Britney Spears has been caught singing without Auto-Tune

music
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips

music
Arts and Entertainment
Gay icons: Sesame Street's Bert (right) and Ernie

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Robin Thicke and actress Paula Patton

music
Arts and Entertainment
The new film will be shot in the same studios as the Harry Potter films

books
Arts and Entertainment
Duncan Bannatyne left school at 15 and was still penniless at 29

Bannatyne leaves Dragon's Den

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The French economist Thomas Piketty wrote that global inequality has worsened

books
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

    Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

    Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
    Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

    The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

    Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
    Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

    Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

    Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
    Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

    Meet Japan's AKB48

    Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
    In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

    Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

    The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
    Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

    How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

    A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
    The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

    The evolution of Andy Serkis

    First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

    Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
    Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

    Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

    Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
    Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

    Blackest is the new black

    Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
    Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

    Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

    From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
    Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor