Starring Olivia Colman, Micheal Ward (Blue Story, Top Boy), and Colin Firth, the film will receive its European Premiere on Wednesday, October 12 at the Southbank Centre in the Royal Festival Hall. Mendes will attend the screening with Producer Pippa Harris alongside key cast members, including Olivia Colman, Colin Firth, Michael Ward, and Toby Jones.
“I’m absolutely delighted to be included in this year’s BFI London Film Festival as the AMEX Gala screening. Empire of Light is a very personal movie for me, and I can’t wait to show it in my hometown,” Mendes said in a statement.
The film will mark Mendes’s first solo screenwriting credit and reunites the director with Academy Award-winning cinematographer Roger Deakins whom he worked with on 1917 and Skyfall.
In a statement, Tricia Tuttle, BFI London Film Festival Director, added: “When I read that Sam Mendes’ next project was centred around a cinema, I was so excited about the possibility of being able to present it in the BFI London Film Festival. Mendes is a masterful storyteller and here vividly captures a sense of the South coast of England, in the 1980s. Empire of Light explores the importance of community, the power of storytelling and of the movies, specifically the thrill of watching a film in a dark cinema, and the tactile pleasures of celluloid. And these are themes so close to our hearts at the BFI.”
Empire of Light is produced by Sam Mendes and Pippa Harris’ Neal Street Productions, in partnership with Searchlight Pictures. The film will release theatrically in the US on December 9 following its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival in September and in the UK on January 13.
The 66th BFI London Film Festival runs in partnership with American Express and takes place October 5-15, 2022.