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Running with both live and virtual premieres across 12 days in Octobe: 7-18 October 2020

 


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Victoire Terminus, winner of this year's Grierson Award

The day after the opening of The Times BFI 52nd London Film Festival, the BFI is pleased to announce that Victoire Terminus, the powerful new documentary from Renaud Barret and Florent De La Tullaye, has been unanimously selected as the winner of this year's Grierson Award.

The Grierson Award is awarded annually for the best feature-length documentary screened at the Festival and this year will be presented at the film's UK premiere on Sunday 26 October at the Ritzy in Brixton.

Set in the summer of 2006 in Kinshasa, Congo, Victoire Terminus follows the lives of Martini, Jeannette, Helene and Rosette, four outspoken female boxers from the city's ghetto.  Everyday they meet to spar in Tata Rafael stadium and train with coach Judex, a former boxer struggling to organise a tournament with no money to pay his fighters. The women box for reasons that go far beyond financial gain. For some, it is to defend themselves against abusive partners in a culture of misogyny; but for all of them boxing is about empowerment. Meanwhile, the fight for the presidency of Congo rages as thousands flock to the stadium for political rallies. The women use the ring to take out their frustrations regarding corrupt presidential candidates. Victoire Terminus is a gripping portrait of a contemporary Congo where hope is still alive for the Kinshasa women who box.

The Grierson Jury Chair, John Battsek, applauded the bold and ambitious way the directors they set about making what the Jury acknowledged could not have been an easy film to make. "To manage to engage an audience in the lives of these women, in the politics of the Congo and in the complexities of Africa itself in the way in which they do is really an achievement", Battsek said. "We were moved by many of the characters and genuinely enthralled by the backdrop of the political situation in which they were all trying to make ends meet."

Florent de la Tullaye and Renaud Barret have been directing films and producing musical talents in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, since 2003. Their debut was a musical documentary called Jupiter's Dance (2006), about the band Okwess International and its charismatic leader Jupiter.

The jury also gave a special mention to Les Plages des Agnès, the extraordinary and moving autobiographical documentary from the doyenne of the French New Wave, Agnès Varda.

The Times BFI London Film Festival Grierson Award given by the Grierson Trust commemorates the pioneering Scottish documentary maker John Grierson (1898–1972), famous for Drifters and Night Mail and the man widely regarded as the father of the British documentary movement. The Grierson Trust through its own annual awards - the British Documentary Awards - has a long-standing tradition of recognising outstanding films that demonstrate integrity, originality and technical excellence, and social or cultural significance.

The Times BFI London Film Festival Grierson Award was judged this year by Grierson Trustees Emma Hindley and Ellen Fleming, and from The Times BFI London Film Festival, Artistic Director Sandra Hebron and Programmer Michael Hayden. The jury was chaired by John Battsek, Oscar-winning producer of One Day in September (1999) and Head of Film at Passion Pictures.

Victoire Terminus will screen at the Ritzy on 26 October at 21.00 and again on Thursday 30 October in NFT3, BFI Southbank at 20.45.

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