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BFI London Film Festival Award Winners

 

The BFI London Film Festival held a special awards ceremony on Wednesday evening to honor films and personalities that have made this year’s LFF the most attended in the Festival’s long history. HOW I ENDED THIS SUMMER by Russian director Alexei Popogrebsky, was awarded the Best Film prize in an unexpected shocker (buzz in the air was that the award would go to perennial Mike Leigh for his film ANOTHER YEAR). The film observes the intense relationship between two men who work at a remote meteorological station on a deserted, windswept island inside the Arctic Circle. The subtle performances by the leads, the minimalistic direction and the austere beauty of the cinematography gave this taut psychological drama a compelling tone, making it a moving meditation on isolation and loneliness.

 

The British documentary THE ARBOR, about the late writer Andrea Dunbar and her troubled relationship with her family, scooped up the prizes for Best Newcomer and the  the Sutherland Award for most original feature debut for its director Clio Barnard. The director, who made her debut with this film, is an acknowledged visual artist who has shown at London’s Tate Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The John Grierson Award for Best Documentary was awarded to Danish director Janus Metz for the film ARMADILLO, a fascinating look at the courage mixed with sheer boredom of Danish troops on the front lines of the war in Afghanistan.

 

 

Danny Boyle, one of Britain’s film treasures and Oscar winner for the film SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, received the British film industry’s highest honors, the Fellowship of the British Film Institute at the ceremonies held at LSO St. Luke’s, the London Symphony Orchestra’s headquarters on Old Street. Boyle, whose newest film 127 HOURS closed the Festival this evening, was introduced by Stephen Daldry, the director of BILLY ELLIOT and THE READER. Both men, who have been jointly hired to produce the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics in London, spoke passionately about the need for government support for the arts, coming in the wake of announcements of drastic cuts to the arts budget next year. Boyle joins such celebrated BFI Fellows as Orson Welles, David Lean and Robert Altman.

 A surprise guest for the evening was American director Martin Scorsese, who is in England shooting his newest film HUGO CABRET. The director took to the stage to toast the 75th anniversary of the British Film Institute and heralded its role as a preserver of the nation’s cinematic heritage. “It is what every country should strive for in its film culture”, the Oscar-winning director declared. Other celebrities spotted in the audience included actors John Hurt and Gabriel Byrne and writer/director Stephen Poliakoff.  Sandy Mandelberger, Festival Circuit Editor

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About Festival Circuit

Mandelberger Sandy
(International Media Resources)

Coverage of the world of film festivals on the international film festival circuit.


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