Deaf Access at London Film Festival 2019!

As a long time film fan, I’ve been excited to see that the BFI’s London Film Festival have offered English subtitled films for a few years (I was overjoyed to see End of Watch with subtitles and once even bunked off work to see Whiplash with subtitles. Worth it!) and this year has a great line up, spanning 345 films!

How to choose, how to choose? The clear marking of HOH for Eng language subtitles helps narrow my picks in this year’s LFF programme.

The festival runs from Wednesday 2nd October to Sunday 13th October across 12 venues (7 in the West End and 5 outside of the West End, including the BFI’s Waterloo venue.)

Before you ask, yes the festival does show plenty of foreign language films with English subtitles (over 100 are listed on their festival page!) they also show a small selection of English language films with English subtitles, for us D/deaf or hard of hearing cinemagoers.

The 10 English language subtitled films at the BFI London Film Festival 2019 consist of the following in chronological order and there are always more screenings to be added, hopefully!

The Peanut Butter Falcon

After running away from a residential nursing home to pursue his dream of becoming a pro wrestler, a man who has Down syndrome (Zak Gottsagen) befriends an outlaw (Shia LaBeouf) who becomes his coach and ally as they evade capture.

We stan an accessible film, as The Peanut Butter Falcon stands out from the rest of the London Film Fest pack, by subtitling all their showings of their film as well as BSL interpretation for their opening night intro and Q&A!

The film premieres on Thursday 03 October 2019 17:15 at Embankment Garden Cinema

Followed by Friday 04 October at 14:45, also at the Embankment Garden Cinema

Concluding with Friday 11 October 2019 16:10, showing at the BFI Southbank in the cosy NFT3.

The Lighthouse

Willem Defoe and Robert Pattinson as lighthouse keepers! From the Director of The Witch!

Showing at the Embankment Garden Cinema, Sunday 6th October at 11:10am.

JoJo Rabbit

Taika Waititi as an irreverent take on Hitler!

Showing at the Odeon Luxe Leicester Square on Sunday 6th October at 14:30


Starring the lovely Henry Golding, whose favourite film is Rumble Fish, fact fans 😉

Showing at the Vue West End, Screen 7 on Monday 7th October at 15:00


Tim Roth and Naomi Watts deal with the aftermath of adopting a former child soldier from a war torn country.

Showing at the Odeon Tottenham Court Road, Screen 3 on Monday 7th October 20:30

The Aeronauts

Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne screaming in hot air balloons in this adventure fantasy!

Showing at the Embankment Garden Cinema on Tuesday 8th October at 11:15

Knives Out

An awe inspiring cast line up to be in Rian Johnson’s love letter to Agatha Christie and murder mysteries! Hi, Noah Segan!

Showing at the Embankment Garden Cinema on Wednesday 9th October at 11.30

Official Secrets

Matt Smith and Keira Knightley take on a moment in the history of the Iraq conflict

Showing at the Embankment Garden Cinema on Friday 11th October at 15:00

Ordinary Love

Lesley Manville and Liam Neeson deal with the spectre of breast cancer.

Showing at Vue West End, Screen 7, Sunday 13th October at 12:30

A Hidden Life

Malick! Malick! Malick! Director Terrance Malick shoots a true story of a young couple in the World War 2 resistance in Austria.

Showing at BFI Southbank NFT1 on Sunday 13th October at 19:00.

If we are unfortunate enough to miss out on tickets due to the popularity of the festival, at least it is a heads up that English subtitles will be available when the film comes out in general release, so be sure to ask your local or favourite cinema to screen them with subtitles when they come out on general release. I know I will definitely be checking out Knives Out and Jo Jo Rabbit if I am unlucky in my quest for tickets for the subtitled showings at the festival!

Ordinary Love and Luce are distributed by Universal so they should be getting a cinematic release. The Peanut Butter Falcon will be out in UK cinemas later in October as well as Knives Out which is out in November and JoJo Rabbit which is out in January.

Althought I was disappointed not to see two films that I had been waiting for, Proxima and Fonzo as they both star Matt Dillon, I am excited for this year’s line up and will be checking out some other films at the festival including Honeyboy and The Peanut Butter Falcon as I have a sweet spot for Shia LaBeouf. Noah Segan is still my movie boyfriend, so Knives Out is a huge deal for me, having seen all of Rian Johnson’s previous films at the cinema, I don’t want to miss this one!

I tend to use the English subtitled films as my shortlist for the festival so my own Must See list consists of Knives Out, JoJoRabbit, The Lighthouse, A Hidden Life and I am intrigued by A Portrait Of A Lady On Fire (which is French with English subtitles!)

What do you think you would be interested in seeing? Have you been to the London Film Festival before or seen a subtitled screening at the BFI?

This year’s LFF guide lays out the access points of interest, decoding the key to various screenings and their shorthand symbols. It also mentions how to book specific access tickets via the BFI.

8 other screenings will have BSL interpreted introductions and short q&as, you can find these and the above information at the Festival Access page as well as tips on booking access tickets. As tickets booking always opens with such a rush from BFI members and then the general public, there is often a second wave of ticket booking available and there may always be a few tickets available on standby at the ticket booth in Leicester Square or the venue box offices themselves.

Before closing this blog post, I must say that I now work for the BFI but I have been a member for many years and am glad they are making the festival more accessible to a disabled audience.