Latest News from the 54th BFI London Film Festival
On Day 15 the BFI London Film Festival held its second annual Awards ceremony.
The Best British Newcomer Award, in partnership with Swarovski, was presented by Andy Serkis and went to Clio Barnard, for The Arbor. The Sutherland Award for the most original feature debut was presented by Michael Winterbottom and Olivia Williams and also went to Clio Barnard for The Arbor. The Grierson Award for best documentary was presented by Jon Snow and went to Janus Metz for Armadillo. The Best Film Award, in partnership with American Express, was presented by Patricia Clarkson and went to Alexei Popogrebsky for How I Ended This Summer. The event also hosted Martin Scorsese, who paid tribute to the BFI National Archive’s 75th anniversary, as well as bestowing the BFI’s highest honour, the BFI Fellowship, on director Danny Boyle.
On Day 14 of the Festival, Lisa Cholodenko, director of The Kids Are Alright, gave a Masterclass at BFI Southbank, supported by Variety. In the West End, the festival held the Film On The Square UK premiere of Biutiful, directed by Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu – at which both he and star Javier Bardem were in attendance. Also on the red carpet the creators of Howl, featuring James Franco as Allen Ginsberg, were on hand to discuss their work. Finally Day 14 featured the Windows 7 Gala UK premiere screening of The First Grader. starring Naomie Harris and Oliver Litondo. www.bfi.org.uk/live
On Day 13, we spoke to another range of filmmakers at the The May Fair Hotel, including Julie Moggan (Guilty Pleasures). On the red carpet, actor turned director Diego Luna discussed his second feature, Abel, and Sabina Guzzanti presented her latest work, Draquila – Italy Trembles. The day concluded with the UK premiere of The Kids Are Alright, the MOFILM, attended by director Lisa Cholodenko, and stars Mark Ruffalo and Julianne Moore.
On Day 12 we spoke to the Best Film Jury about the nominated shortlist and their deliberations. Acclaimed French writer and director Olivier Assayas gave an onstage masterclass about his significant work. Peter Mandelson also attended the world premiere of Hannah Rothschild’s documentary Mandelson: The Real PM?, and artist and filmmaker Carol Morley presented her feature directorial debut Edge. Finally, the much anticipated Surprise Film was revealed to be Brighton Rock, after which the creative team took part in a Q and A after the film.
Day 11 of the 54th BFI London Film Festival saw Colin Firth’s organisation Brightwide hold their second annual event at BFI Southbank. The featured film was Christy Turlington Burns’ documentary No Woman No Cry, which investigates maternal mortality and pregnancy care worldwide. Darren Aronofsky gave an American Express Screen Talk, discussing a life in pictures. At the filmmakers tea we caught up with a number of international directors, including Jamie Thraves (Treacle Jr) and Kim Longinotto (Pink Saris). In the west end we spoke to Danny O’Connor, whose film Upside Down investigates the legendary Creation Records. Finally Ken Loach presented Route Irish, a compelling thriller which looks at the human cost of privatising the war in Iraq.
Day 10 of the festival saw Joanna Hogg present the European premiere of Archipelago, her much anticipated second feature. Actor Richard Ayoade also attended the European premiere of his debut feature Submarine, with key cast Craig Roberts, Yasmin Paige and Paddy Considine. The evening culminated in the Jameson Gala screening of Black Swan, the psychological thriller from Darren Aronofsky. The event was attended by Aronofsky and stars Vincent Cassel and Mila Kunis.
Day 9 of the 54th London Film Festival saw another set of interviews with filmmakers at The May Fair Hotel, including Imani Director Caroline Kamya and Amir Bar-Lev Director of The Tillman Story. At BFI Southbank, Scottish actor and director Peter Mullan gave a masterclass on his career in film to an enthralled audience. We also spoke to the creative team behind Patagonia, which explores the connection between Wales and this South American region. The evening ended with the European premiere of The King’s Speech, the American Express Gala. Directed by Tom Hooper, the film is garnering critical acclaim due to powerful performances from Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter.
At BFI Southbank, the Breaking with Convention event featured key British talent discussing their use of form. Documentary filmmaker Kim Longinotto also presented her latest work Pink Saris, which focuses on a group of Indian female vigilantes as well as the women that turn to them in desperation. The Archive Gala featured The Great White Silence by Herbert Ponting, comprised of haunting footage from Captain Scott’s legendary and ill fated expedition to the South Pole with the score performed live by composer Simon Fisher Turner, as well as the Elysian Quartet, David Coulter and Alexander L’Estrange. The evening ended with the Time Out Special Screening of Peter Mullan’s Neds, a powerful drama which looks at growing up in 1970’s Glasgow.
Day 7 of the 54th BFI London Film Festival included the UK premiere of Robinson In Ruins, the highly anticipated film from British director Patrick Keiller. Ryan Fleck also presented It’s Kind Of A Funny Story, starring Zack Galifianakis, and Indian actor and director Aamir Bashir was on hand to introduce his debut feature Autumn, the story of a young man struggling to come to terms with the loss of his brother Kashmir. The evening culminated in the Mayfair Hotel Gala presentation of West Is West, a European premiere. Director Andy De Emmony and cast members including Om Puri and Jimi Mistry took to the red carpet to tell us about this sequel to the much beloved East Is East.
On Day 6 of the 54th BFI London Film Festival, the Mayor’s Gala featured Mike Leigh’s Another Year
On Day 6 of the 54th BFI London Film Festival Vodcast, director Julian Schnabel spoke to us about his film Miral, a story of one woman’s experience of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Based on a true story by journalist Rula Jebreal, the Film On The Square Gala was attended by both Jebreal and lead actor Freida Pinto. Directors Stevan Riley (Fire In Babylon) and Ferzan Ozpetek (Loose Cannons) were also on hand to introduce their work. Finally, the UK premiere of Another Year acted as the Mayor’s Gala, with director Mike Leigh and his cast, including Lesley Manville, Ruth Sheen, and Jim Broadbent, in attendance. The screening and Q and A was simulcast to theatres around the country, a first for the BFI London Film Festival.
Day 5 of the 54th BFI London Film Festival brought us the European premiere presentation of Africa United, an uplifting and eye-opening story about two Rwandan children who travel to South Africa to pursue their world cup dreams, and on the red carpet we spoke to director Debs Gardner-Paterson and the young stars of the film. At the second filmmaker’s tea we spoke to Geoff Marslett about his rotoscope animated film Mars, and legendary American indie director John Sayles (Amigo). Finally, the Sight and Sound Special Screening showcased Palme D’Or winner Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall Past Lives, whose Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul was on hand to discuss this surreal work.
On Day 4 of The 54th BFI London Film Festival, producer Mark Lipson presented Tabloid, his latest collaboration with acclaimed documentarian Errol Morris. At BFI Southbank, artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah discussed his latest film The Nine Muses, a lyrical set of tone poems looking at mass migration to post war Britain. On the red carpet Anton Corbijn presented his latest film The American starring George Clooney – with co-stars Violante Placido and Thekla Reuten in attendance. Finally Artistic Director Sandra Hebron draws attention to upcoming highlights, including Uncle Boonmee Who can Recall Past Lives, West is West and The King’s Speech.
On Day 3 of the 54th BFI London Film Festival we attended the inaugural filmmakers tea, where we spoke to Derek Cianfrance about his acclaimed film Blue Valentine. In the West End Lucy Walker, the director of Waste Land, told us about her latest documentary, which explores the lives of garbage pickers in Rio through an art project developed by artist Vik Muniz. Blue Valentine also had its UK premiere that evening, with star Michelle Williams in attendance. The third day of the festival closed with the American Airlines Gala, which featured the European premiere of Conviction. With lead actors Hilary Swank, Sam Rockwell and Minnie Driver walking the red carpet, the event culminated in an emotional q and a featuring the woman who inspired the film, Betty Anne Waters.