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The 57th BFI London Film Festival, in partnership with American Express® announced this year’s Official Competition winners at its high profile Awards ceremony, at The Banqueting House, Whitehall, SW1 this evening with guests who included Miranda Richardson, Rodrigo Prieto, Stephen Dillane, Saoirse Ronan, Susanna White, Jim Broadbent, Colin Salmon, Lone Scherfig, Deborah Moggach and Joanne Froggatt.
Official Competition: Best Film: Ida, directed by Pawel Pawlikowski
Celebrating the most original, intelligent and distinctive filmmaking, the winner of the Best Film award, was announced by Philip French, recent BFI Fellow and President of the Official Competition jury.
Philip French said:
The jury greatly admired Ida, the first film made in his native Poland by a director who came to prominence while living in Britain. We were deeply moved by a courageous film that handles, with subtlety and insight, a painfully controversial historical situation – the German occupation and the Holocaust – which continues to resonate. Special praise went to his use of immersive visual language to create a lasting emotional impact.
French’s fellow jurors were Lone Scherfig, director of the multi-Oscar nominated An Education, Canadian-based visual artist Stan Douglas, two-time Oscar nominee and BAFTA-winning actress Miranda Richardson, screenwriter of Pride and Prejudice and celebrated author Deborah Moggach, and Oscar-nominated cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto (Argo, Brokeback Mountain).
Best British Newcomer: Jonathan Asser – screenwriter, Starred Up
The Best British Newcomer award honours new and emerging film talent, recognising the achievements of a new writer, producer, director, actor or actress. The award for Best British Newcomer, presented by Saoirse Ronan, went to screenwriter Jonathan Asser, for his uncompromising debut feature Starred Up whose title refers to the practice of placing violent young offenders prematurely in adult prison.
Jury President Amanda Posey said:
Starred Up is an original story told with an individual and authentic voice, at once moving, provocative and always gripping. The material, even from a new screenwriter, was intelligent and distinctive enough to attract very high quality filmmaking talent and actors, and to help illicit extraordinary work from all involved. The whole jury felt Jonathan Asser brought a fresh, resonant and surprising perspective to a classic conflict.
The jury also highly commended the performances of nominees Conner Chapman and Shaun Thomas for their roles in The Selfish Giant. “The whole jury was blown away by these two performances and we could not separate them as together they are the heart of the film. These are two outstanding talents and we wanted the opportunity to recognise that with this joint commendation” said Posey.
In addition to Amanda Posey, the Best British Newcomer jury comprised BAFTA-nominated director Tom Kingsley, acclaimed actor Cillian Murphy, Oscar-nominated Saoirse Ronan, BAFTA-winning actress Gina McKee and actress Joanne Froggatt currently appearing in the highly successful Downton Abbey.
First Feature Competition – The Sutherland Award: Anthony Chen, director of Ilo Ilo
The long-standing Sutherland Award is presented to the director of the most original and imaginative feature debut in the Festival. This year, Stephen presented Anthony Chen with the award for Ilo Ilo, a devastating study of a modern affluent family and its vulnerabilities.
Jury President Elizabeth Karlsen said:
The startlingly assured direction and screenwriting of the winning film surprised us all. Anthony Chen’s Ilo Ilo also chose a domestic canvas, but the imaginative and innovative voice of this filmmaker elevated the film technically and narratively, and made us wonder at the fragile nature of family life in this modern Singapore tale.
The jury also commended Chika Anadu’s B For Boy for its eloquently simple but engaging portrait of a woman caught in the crossfire of old and new world value systems in contemporary Nigeria. The jury described it as “a powerful film, told with a visual and emotional elegance”.
In addition to jury president & co-founder of Number 9 Films Elizabeth Karlsen, the Sutherland jury comprised Emilia Fox, BAFTA Award-winning director Susanna White, the Academy Award, BAFTA, Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actor Jim Broadbent and the BAFTA and Tony-winning actor Stephen Dillane.
Documentary Competition – The Griersons Award: My Fathers, My Mother and Me
The Best Documentary Award is co-presented with the Grierson Trust and recognises outstanding feature length documentaries of integrity, originality, technical excellence or cultural significance. This year is was awarded to My Fathers, My Mother and Me, a portrait of Friedrichshof, the largest commune in Europe, founded by the Viennese Actionist Otto Mühl in the 1970s and the devastating emotional effects on its residents.
Jury President Kate Ogborn said:
As a jury we would like to recognise the bravery of Paul-Julien Robert for taking us on such a personal journey with My Fathers, My Mother & Me. It is a thought- provoking and disturbing film, intimate whilst also raising larger questions of power, parental responsibility and abuse. The incredible archive footage combined with the personal journey of a mother and son left us disturbed, angry and feeling that this is a film that deserves to be seen by a wider audience.
The jury also commended Cutie & the Boxer for the original and creative way in which the filmmakers crafted an intimate portrait of a relationship, as well as Greg Baker’s compelling Manhunt which gave the audience extraordinary access to usually unreachable secret intelligence operatives. The exquisite cinematography of Pipeline was also recognised and commended.
Kate Ogborn’s fellow jurors were Commissioning Editor at SKY, Chris Wilson, cinema programmer for City Screen, Chris Harris, BBC newsreader and presenter Sophie Raworth and CEO of Renegade Pictures, Alex Cooke.
BFI Fellowship: Sir Christopher Lee
A BFI Fellowship is awarded to individuals in recognition of their outstanding contribution to film or television, and is the highest accolade that the BFI bestows.
BFI Chief Executive Amanda Nevill said:
The BFI Fellowship is awarded to those at the pinnacle of their profession. It is a truly illustrious moment to be honouring Sir Christopher Lee for his enormous and unique contribution to film during a Festival that is committed to excellence.