On October 28th, The Times BFI 53rd London Film Festival announced its winners at the high profile awards ceremony held at London's Inner Temple. Hosted by journalist and broadcaster Paul Gambaccini, the six awards were presented by some of the most respected figures in the film world.
Best Film: A Prophet
In recognition of original, intelligent and distinctive filmmaking, the new award for Best Film was judged by an international jury chaired by Anjelica Huston and fellow jurors John Akomfrah, Jarvis Cocker, Mathieu Kassovitz, Charlotte Rampling and Iain Softley. The Star of London for Best Film was awarded to Jacques Audiard's A Prophet and was presented by Anjelica Huston. In M. Audiard's absence, the award was accepted by the film's star Tahar Rahim.
Best British Newcomer: Jack Thorne, The Scouting Book for Boys
Presented for the first time, the award for Best British Newcomer celebrates new and emerging film talent, rewarding the achievements of a new writer, producer or director who has demonstrated real creative flair and imagination with their first feature. Dominic Cooper and Jodie Whittaker presented the Best British Newcomer Star of London to Jack Thorne, screenwriter of the film The Scouting Book for Boys. The jury said: "Jack Thorne is a poetic writer with an end-of-the-world imagination and a real gift for story-telling. Thorne's substantial authorship is revealed in the unique voices of the film’s characters and the rich, soulful and playful layering of the story."
Sutherland Award: Ajami
The longstanding Sutherland Award is presented to the maker of the most original and imaginative first feature screening in the Festival. This year, Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani took the award for their film Ajami, which was presented by Alfonso Cuarón. The jury said "A bold and original piece of filmmaking, Ajami tells an important story in a thoroughly engrossing and cinematic way. A fantastic achievement, Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani have made a film with a heart and a vision that speaks for a common humanity."
Grierson Award: Defamation
This award is co-presented with the Grierson Trust, in commemoration of John Grierson, the grandfather of British documentary. The jury included Nick Broomfield, Molly Dineen, Ellen Fleming and Christopher Hird, and was presented by Broomfield to winner Yoav Shamir for his film Defamation.
The highest accolade that the British Film Institute bestows was awarded tonight to distinguished British actor John Hurt and renowned Malian filmmaker Souleymane Cissé for their significant achievements in the fields of acting and directing. Hurt, whose films 44 Inch Chest and The Limits of Control, were featured in the festival, received his award from producer Jeremy Thomas and director Michael Caton-Jones both of whom have worked with Hurt on a number of films. Cissé's Tell Me Who You Are had its UK premiere at the festival this week and his award was presented to him by actress Charlotte Rampling.