Yorkshire shines at BFI London Film Festival with Hope Gap, The Personal History of David Copperfield and Official Secrets

Annette Bening and Josh OConnor in Hope Gap. Credit: Screen Yorkshire and Origin Pictures.
Annette Bening and Josh OConnor in Hope Gap. Credit: Screen Yorkshire and Origin Pictures.

Major movies filmed in and supported by Yorkshire are set to enjoy their UK premieres at the BFI London Film Festival.

The Personal History of David Copperfield, directed by The Thick Of It and Veep creator Armando Iannucci and starring Slumdog Millionaire actor Dev Patel, opens the show tonight with its gala premiere.

Keira Knightley. Credit: Victoria Jones/PA.

Keira Knightley. Credit: Victoria Jones/PA.

The Charles Dickens adaption was partly shot in Hull, with locations around Prince Street and the Land of Green Ginger doubling for London in 1840.
Later in the festival Keira Knightley is expected to walk the red carpet for the premiere of her new film Official Secrets, in which she plays whistleblower Katharine Gun.

The film, which shot at Bradford City Hall, Leeds and in North Yorkshire, will be screened on October 10, 11 and 13 at various venues.

Family drama Hope Gap, which stars Billy Nighy and Annette Bening, filmed at Prime Studios in Kirkstall Road, Leeds, in summer 2018 during its five-week shoot and will be showcased as one of eleven headline gala events during the festival on October 4, 5 and 6.

Production also went to Doncaster and the eponymous Hope Gap in Seaford, Sussex and was directed by two-time Oscar-nominated British screenwriter William Nicholson (Gladiator, Shadowlands), who filmed from his own script.

The Screen Yorkshire agency helped to fund and support both Official Secrets and Hope Gap.

Head of investments Hugo Heppell, who executive produced both films, will attend the premieres at the festival.

"It's usually a very emotional experience, actually," he said.

"Seeing the finished film on the big screen but it's also the reaction of the audience and the satisfaction of seeing something that has been made here reaching an international audience, and it is a very high-level audience at these premieres.

"It will be a powerful experience."

-> All you need to know about Screen Yorkshire - the team who backed Peaky Blinders, Official Secrets and All Creatures Great and Small
Mr Heppell said that the inclusion of Screen Yorkshire's logo alongside the likes of BFI (British Film Institute), the BBC and Film4 helps to establish trust in the business among filmmakers.

And he believes that the London film festival is now an "A-list" event along with the like of Cannes, Berlin, Venice and Sundance.

Festivals are "increasingly important" for establishing the profile of films, their backers and locations, he said.

The films were funded through the agency's Yorkshire Content Fund, which since 2012 has support more than forty major projects. The agency decides to support productions which it believes will recoup its funds and boost the profile of the region's industry.

What caught their attention about Official Secrets and Hope Gap were the casts and powerful stories.

Mr Heppell said: "One of the initial things, of course, was the level of talent involved. Official Secrets was a project we had been following for some time.

"It was a very strong story but [also it had] the combination of Gavin Hood, an Oscar-winning director, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Matt Smith, Ralph Fiennes - it was a very strong cast room project."

The film was also backed by the Entertainment One multinational.

Hope Gap, meanwhile, he describes as "a really powerful story and script with a clear kind of audience".

Psychological horror Saint Maud, which partly filmed in Scarborough, will also be screened on October 5, 6 and 8 as part of the Official Competition.

Director Rose Glass won acclaim at her debut's world premiere in Toronto and this week gained the £50,000 IWC Schaffhausen Filmmaker Bursary Award in association with BFI.

Some 78 countries are represented across more than 200 short films and features on the London film festival's line-up, with 40 per cent of all films directed or co-directed by women.