Steve McQueen’s LOVERS ROCK Part Of His Small Axe Anthology Joins The 64th BFI London Film Festival Programme | The Fan Carpet Ltd • The Fan Carpet: The RED Carpet for FANS • The Fan Carpet: Fansites Network • The Fan Carpet: Slate • The Fan Carpet: Theatre Spotlight • The Fan Carpet: Arena • The Fan Carpet: International

Steve McQueen’s LOVERS ROCK Part Of His Small Axe Anthology Joins The 64th BFI London Film Festival Programme

23 September 2020

LOVERS ROCK is one of five films from Steve McQueen’s Small Axe anthology alongside the festival’s Opening film MANGROVE

The BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express is delighted to announce that LOVERS ROCK, directed by BFI Fellow Steve McQueen, has joined this year’s programme. The film will screen on Sunday 18th October across two screenings at BFI Southbank as part of the LFF’s Love strand supported by Porsche, who are joining the LFF as new sponsors this year.

An ode to the romantic reggae genre called “Lovers Rock” and to the young people who found freedom and love in its sound, LOVERS ROCK tells a fictional story of young love and music at a house party in 1980. Amarah-Jae St Aubyn makes her screen debut opposite the BAFTAs 2020 Rising Star Award recipient Micheal Ward (Blue Story). Shaniqua Okwok (Boys), Kedar Williams-Stirling (Sex Education), Ellis George (Dr Who), Alexander James-Blake (Top Boy) and Kadeem Ramsay (Blue Story) also star, as well as Francis Lovehall and Daniel Francis-Swaby who make their screen debuts. LOVERS ROCK was co-written by Courttia Newland and Steve McQueen.

The film, alongside MANGROVE, is one of five films from Small Axe; a drama anthology which comprises five original films created by Steve McQueen for BBC One. Set from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s, the films each tell a different story involving London's West Indian community, whose lives have been shaped by their own force of will, despite rampant racism and discrimination. MANGROVE will open the film festival on Wednesday 7th October and will play for free to audiences at BFI Southbank and in selected cinemas across the UK.



LOVERS ROCK Director, Steve McQueen said “I’m so happy to be screening LOVERS ROCK at the London Film Festival, to show it here where it belongs is a privilege. I hope this film will bring back memories of parties past and look to the future of parties to come.”

BFI London Film Festival Director, Tricia Tuttle said “Steve McQueen’s LOVERS ROCK as a late addition? Swoon…this is exactly what we all need on the last day of the BFI London Film Festival: pure cinematic and musical balm.”

The 64th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express is taking place from Wednesday 7th October-Sunday 18th October 2020. Over the twelve days the Festival will be its most accessible ever, presenting over 50 Virtual Premieres and a selection of highly-anticipated new feature film previews at BFI Southbank as well as in cinemas across the UK, offering audiences a unique chance to engage with the Festival in different ways.

The full programme is available at BFI. All tickets are available to book now.

Small Axe has been executive produced by Tracey Scoffield and David Tanner for Turbine Studios and Steve McQueen for Lammas Park. Mike Elliot is producing for EMU Films with Turbine and Anita Overland. The executive producers for the BBC are Lucy Richer, Senior Commissioning Editor for Drama and Rose Garnett, Director of BBC Film. Amazon Studios is co-producing within the US. BBC Studios are the international distributors and are handling global television sales.

Small Axe will premiere on BBC One and iPlayer this autumn and air on Amazon Prime Video in the US.

Courtesy of the BBC

About the BFI
is the UK’s lead organisation for film, television and the moving image. It is a distributor of National Lottery funding and a cultural and education charity that:

  • Curates and presents the greatest international public programme of world cinema for audiences; in cinemas, at festivals and online
  • Cares for the BFI National Archive – the most significant film and television archive in the world
  • Actively seeks out and supports the next generation of filmmakers
  • Works with Government and industry to make the UK the most creatively exciting and prosperous place to make film internationally

Founded in 1933, the BFI is a registered charity governed by Royal Charter. The BFI Board of Governors is chaired by Josh Berger CBE.

About the National Lottery
Thanks to National Lottery players, up to £600 million of funding has been made available to support communities across the UK during the Coronavirus crisis.

The National Lottery is playing a critical role in supporting people, projects and communities during these challenging times.

By playing The National Lottery, you are making an amazing contribution to the nationwide-response to combatting the impact of COVID-19 on local communities across the UK.

The BFI London Film Festival
BFI London Film Festival is Britain's leading film event and one of the world's best film festivals. It introduces the finest new British and international films to an expanding London and UK-wide audience and attracts significant international film industry participation. LFF is a compelling combination of diverse films, red carpet glamour, friendly audiences and vibrant exchange. LFF provides an essential profiling opportunity for films seeking global success; promotes the careers of British and international filmmakers through its industry and awards programmes and positions London as the world’s leading creative city.

For the 2020 edition, the BFI London Film Festival is waiving the standard press accreditation fee.

Tricia Tuttle Biography
Tricia Tuttle
’s appointment as Director of BFI Festivals follows her role as Artistic Director of the 62nd Edition of the BFI London Film Festival and five successful years as Deputy Head of Festivals at BFI, including BFI Flare and BFI London Film Festival. Moving from North Carolina in 1997 to complete a joint MA at BFI and Birkbeck, University of London in Film and TV Studies, Tricia’s passion for film has seen her work as a programmer, lecturer, writer and journalist.  Her career has spanned a five year tenure at BAFTA, starting in 2008 and with her appointment as Film Programme Manager in 2011; programming the BFI London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival (the pre-cursor to BFI Flare) and as Event Producer at London’s The Script Factory.  Highly regarded by the BFI and industry, Tuttle has been instrumental in evolving BFI Festivals, continuing to expand audience reach year on year and introducing impactful initiatives such as BFI Flare’s FiveFilms4Freedom, in partnership with the British Council.

About American Express Experiences
American Express
connects Cardmembers to the kinds of rewarding experiences and opportunities that matter to them and their businesses. Through American Express Experiences, Cardmembers have access to presale tickets, and exclusive offers at some of the UK’s most sought-after entertainment events via partnerships with a range of entertainment institutions, including AEG, Live Nation, Somerset House, The British Film Institute and the National Theatre. American Express Experiences is just one example of the powerful backing that American Express provides its Cardmembers. 

About American Express
American Express
is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more at

About BBC Films
BBC Films
supports invigorating and imaginative filmmaking. Firmly established at the forefront of UK film and fuelled by its public service remit, BBC Films has an ambitious slate featuring many of the most exciting filmmakers working today. Every film is linked by a sense of urgency – these are stories for now.

BBC Films supported four films selected for Cannes 2020. Three in Official Selection: Steve McQueen’s MANGROVE starring Letitia Wright, Shaun Parkes and Malachi Kirby; LOVERS ROCK, also from Steve McQueen, starring Amarah-Jae St Aubyn in her screen debut opposite Micheal Ward; Francis Lee’s AMMONITE starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan; and one film in Critics’ Week, Aleem Khan’s debut AFTER LOVE, starring Joanna Scanlan. 

Recent BBC Films releases include a raft of acclaimed debuts, from Claire Oakley’s MAKE UP to Fyzal Boulifa’s LYNN + LUCY and Eva Riley’s PERFECT 10. Other releases include NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS the third film from Eliza Hittman, winner of U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Neorealism at Sundance and the Silver Bear at Berlinale; MISBEHAVIOUR from Philippa Lowthorpe starring Keira Knightley, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Jessie Buckley; BLUE STORY, the debut feature from Andrew ‘Rapman’ Onwubolu and starring newcomers Stephen Odubola and Rising Star BAFTA-winner Micheal Ward; Oscar®-winning JUDY directed by Rupert Goold and starring Renée Zellweger as the iconic Judy Garland; Joanna Hogg’s THE SOUVENIR, which won the International Grand Jury Prize at Sundance; and Jonathan Glazer’s extraordinary shorts THE FALL and STRASBOURG 1518, both on iPlayer now.

Festival Information & Ticket Booking
BFI Members’ priority booking opens Wednesday 16th September – join here  

Pre-sale booking dates for Amex cardholders: 18th September

Public booking opens Monday 21st September 

Telephone Bookings: 020 7928 3232


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