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new awards from The London Festival

The Times BFI 53rd London Film Festival will host a dedicated awards ceremony on 28 October at which two new awards will be presented – the Best Film Award and Best British Newcomer – in addition to Festival accolades The Sutherland Trophy and The Times BFI London Film Festival Grierson Award. Two prestigious BFI Fellowships will also be bestowed at the high profile ceremony to be held at London’s Inner Temple and hosted by the celebrated journalist and broadcaster, Paul Gambaccini.

Winners will receive the inaugural “Star of London” awards commissioned especially for the Festival and designed by leading sculptor Almuth Tebbenhoff. The revised awards, which have attracted a stellar line-up of jurors and culminate in this exciting new event, are one of the initiatives introduced by the festival to raise its profile at home and internationally, a move supported by the UK Film Council’s Festivals Fund.

The highest accolade that the British Film Institute bestows, the BFI Fellowship, is awarded to individuals in recognition of their outstanding contribution to film or television culture. This year’s recipients, the versatile and distinguished British actor John Hurt and renowned Malian filmmaker Souleymane Cissé, will be recognised for their significant achievements in the field of acting and directing; Cisse’s TELL ME WHO YOU ARE will have its UK premiere at the Festival and Hurt is featured in two LFF titles - 44 INCH CHEST and THE LIMITS OF CONTROL.

When asked his thoughts about receiving such a tribute, John Hurt said, “For me, the BFI is the heart of British cinema. I consider it the highest honour possible to be awarded a Fellowship.”

The award for Best Film will recognise creative, original, imaginative, intelligent and distinctive filmmaking in the Festival. An initial shortlist has been drawn up by the Artistic Director and the programming team, and will be judged by an international jury, representing the highest calibre of the film community. This year’s jury for the Best Film award is chaired by Anjelica Huston and comprises John Akomfrah, Jarvis Cocker, Matthieu Kassovitz, Charlotte Rampling and Iain Softley (Best Film shortlist attached)

Juror Jarvis Cocker said, “I’m very proud to have been selected to be on the Best Film Jury. I will try and hope that I can bring something useful to the discussion.”

The longstanding Sutherland Trophy is awarded to the maker of the most original and imaginative first feature screening in the Festival. Filmmaker Edgar Wright, a member of this year’s Sutherland jury, commented, “As an avid and regular attendee of the LFF since I first moved to London 15 years ago, I am thrilled to be one of the judges of the Sutherland Trophy. The audiences at the festival are some of the best in the world and it’s always exciting to see international cinema in such a great environment.” Joining Wright on the Sutherland jury are Matt Bochenski (Little White Lies), Mark Cosgrove (Watershed), Kerry Fox, Sara Frain (Metrodome), Paul Greengrass, David Parfitt and Gillian Wearing. (Sutherland Award shortlist attached)

Presented for the first time, the Best British Newcomer Award will celebrate new and emerging film talent, and reward the achievements of a new writer, producer or director who has demonstrated real creative flair and imagination with their first feature. This year’s judges include Lenny Crooks, Head of the UK Film Council’s New Cinema Fund; Christine Langan, Creative Director of BBC Films; Tessa Ross, Controller of Film4 and Drama, Channel 4 and Tanya Seghatchian, Head of the UK Film Council’s Development Fund and Executive Producer of the Harry Potter franchise. (Best British Newcomer shortlist attached)

The Times BFI London Film Festival Grierson Award, co-presented with the Grierson Trust, is given to the best feature-length documentary in commemoration of John Grierson, the grandfather of British documentary. Renaud Barret and Florent De La Tullaye received the award last year for VICTOIRE TERMINUS. This year’s Grierson jury includes Nick Broomfield, Molly Dineen, Ellen Fleming and Christo Hird. (Grierson Award shortlist attached).

The Awards dinner will be presided over by Gambaccini, who said: “I’m thrilled to be presenting the first standalone London Film Festival Awards. The best film festival is now old enough for its own awards ceremony. So am I. I hope we make a great team.”

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