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Leslie Hardcastle OBE (Born 8 December 1926, Croydon) was Controller of the British Film Institute's (BFI) National Film Theatre (NFT) complex on London’s South Bank from its early beginnings through to his retirement in the mid 1990s.

After service in the Royal Navy, he worked his way through the ranks of the BFI and led the NFT through its pioneering days including the founding of the London Film Festival (LFF) in 1957, the setting up of NFT2 and the clubroom and restaurant. His annual Controller’s lunch at LFF was a highlight of the festival.

In the 1980s, Hardcastle conceived and led the development of the Museum of the Moving Image (MOMI) also on the South Bank. The museum opened in 1988 and received numerous awards.

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He was awarded an OBE for service to film, is a Fellow of the BFI, and an Honorary Fellow of the BKSTS and received a BAFTA for the creation of MOMI.

After retiring as Controller of the South Bank complex (NFT & MOMI) he was retained as Curator to MOMI, instigating many innovative temporary exhibitions and overlaid the original museum with "The Little People's Exhibition" – a linear display for very small children. MOMI closed to the public in 1999.

Having retired completely from the BFI Southbank, Hardcastle became a consultant and eventually a Governor of the British Film Institute. He also remains active in film related projects: The Projected Picture Trust, Worthing Dome Regeneration, Uckfield Film Society. He was awarded the Charles Roebuck Cup for outstanding individual contribution to the film society movement in 2007.

Living in Soho for most of his life, Hardcastle is a board and founder member of the Soho Housing Association which provides social housing in central London. He is also a Vice President of the Soho Society.

He is married with two sons and two grandchildren.


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