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BFI London Film Festival strengthens local industry

The successful opening of the BFI London Film Festival with Keira Knightley's Never Let Me Go has brought glamour and hope to a fractured industry.

Last night's gala opening for the new British drama was also attended by future 'Amazing Spider-Man' actor Andrew Garfield and Carey Mulligan.

London, the UK's media hub has suffered several set backs this year with major cuts in arts institutions, notably the UK Film Council and other bodies, that will affect particularly young filmmakers and the future of film festivals in Britain.

The BFI London Film Festival has gained momentum in recent years, with a push for more diverse films and bigger names, to the likes of George Clooney and bigger sponsors to support its growing popularity.

As film industry executives mingle, stars dazzle and the future of British filmmaking talent soaks in the atmosphere, there is a sense that this year's festival is more important than ever before. Competition in the film industry has intensified with governments and private equity companies establishing new film festivals, local film funds and international agreements to boost filmmaking at home and abroad.

In the highly competitive global film market, London is a cultural hub for the UK not just for its filmmakers and technical expertise but also for its accomplished actors. Theatre is also hugely diverse and very highly regarded in the city, and some of the world's most renowned actors have learned performing arts in the UK. British audiences love their films, and UK box office sales continue to grow despite the recession.

Film directors attending the London Festival in 2009 included Atom Egoyan, Michael Haneke and Steven Soderbergh. Young talent can attend masterclasses and educational forums this year to further their careers in the art.

In its 54th year, The 2010 London Film Festival runs till the 28th of October.

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