Tim Burton’s latest animated film Frankenweenie has had its European premiere in Leicester Square this week as the opening film of the 56th London Film Festival. Frankenweenie, which tells the story of a young boy who tries to bring his pet dog Sparky back to life, is based on a short film that Burton made for Disney in 1984, and is charmingly spooky in the classic Burton style.

The new director of the London Film Festival, Clare Stewart, has said of Frankenweenie:

“This film was made in London with over 200 British craftspeople, so it felt like the perfect choice, not only because of Tim’s vision, but also because of that very British contribution.”

This year’s festival will last for 12 days, and will screen 225 films, including 14 world premieres. Another highlight of this extended period of movie-mania is a star-studded version of Charles DickensGreat Expectations, directed by Mike Newell (of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire fame) and featuring the acting talents of Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter and Jeremy Irvine. Great Expectations will close the festival on October 21st.

Also to be looked forward to is Dustin Hoffman’s directorial debut Quartet, the story of four aged opera singers (Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly and Pauline Collins) living in a home who unite to perform a concert. There will also be screenings of European greats that have already proven their worth at other recent festivals, such as Michael Haneke’s Palme d’Or winning Amour, and Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist.

It was announced this week that Tim Burton and his partner Helena Bonham Carter are to be even further recognised at this year’s festival; they will receive the BFI Fellowship, which is the highest honour the British Film Institute can bestow, at an award ceremony on October 20th.

Frankenweenie features the vocal talents of Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short, Martin Landau, Winona Ryder and Christopher Lee, and will be released in the UK on October 17th (just in time for Halloween).

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