Lizzie Francke

After stints in exhibition, distribution and film journalism, as well as spell leading the Edinburgh International Film Festival, Lizzie Francke is now Senior Development & Production Executive at the BFI's Film Fund.

  • Lizzie Francke

BFI Film Fund's Lizzie Francke

What's your connection to the British Council? 
The Council provides brilliant festival support for films we have invested in. They also do great work on promoting Brit film in general, both contemporary and archive gems.

What are you working on at the moment?
We have fifteen plus projects at various stages of production at any given time. So lots!  But we are in Cannes with five films - world premieres of Clio Barnard's The Selfish Giant and Ruairi Robinson's Last Days on Mars in Director's Fortnight, Paul Wright's For Those in Peril in Critics' Week, Mark Cousins' A Story of Children and Film in Cannes Classics, and a French premiere of Andrew Kotting's Swandown in ACID.

What/who originally turned you onto film?
My parents. They both loved the cinema that they grew up with - from Disney to Powell and Pressburger and Ealing comedies. They took me to movies as a child but also flagged up goodies on TV.

What has been your career high so far?
Running the Edinburgh International Film Festival was a life changing experience. But my current role provides me with some wonderful cinematic rushes as I get to inform the film culture of the future. Being in Cannes with five films that the team have collectively worked on is very exciting. My first Cannes was 25 years ago - I was a very young rookie acquisitions person (!) - and I saw Terence Davies' Distant Voices, Still Lives. It had a great impact on me. I would hope that something like The Selfish Giant will have the same impact on the next generation of kids on the film block.

What was your first job in the film industry?
Writing reviews for the listings magazine City Limits - though I quickly went on to a job working for Electric Pictures and the Everyman Cinema, which was a brilliant rep cinema then.

If I knew then what I know now...
I have always followed my intuition and passion, but I would say always be inquisitive - see as much as you can and stick to your gut instincts.

What is your favourite British film? Why?
I Know Where I Am Going! It is British cinema at its best - imaginative, lyrical and passionate. It reflects a great love of this country and Scotland in particular. I think about it every time I take a train north. I just wish I had Wendy Hiller's wardrobe. Don't Look Now is a close second - film as the most artful mosaic.

If you could have directed/been involved with any film ever made, which one would it be? 
Any Powell and Pressburger film would do.

What's the first film you remember seeing? 
The Sound of Music. For my third birthday. It made a big impact. It is delirious, slightly bonkers even, and Maria trod her own path. I think it set me on some journey....

What's your favourite line or scene from a film? Why?
"Infamy! Infamy! They've all got it in for me!"
Genius! Who doesn't love that?!

Favourite screen kiss? Why?
Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant in Notorious - the most erotic and chaste at the same time...

Who's your favourite screen hero and/or villain? Why?
Sybylla in Gillian Armstrong's My Brilliant Career - I saw that film as a teenage girl and it again proved to me that being headstrong was OK.  Ditto Susan in Bringing Up Baby...

Who would play you in the film about your life? Why?
Wendy Hiller circa I Know Where I Am Going would do. She had the curly hair for starters..!