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London Film Festival 2013 Awards – movieScope

London Film Festival 2013 Awards

The 57th BFI London Film Festival came  to a close this weekend, with the announcement of this year’s Official Competition winners.

Film critic Philip French, recent BFI Fellow and President of the Official Competition jury, awarded the coveted Best Film prize to Ida, directed by Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski.

Speaking on behalf of the jury, which also included An Education director Lone Scherfig, visual artist Stan Douglas, BAFTA-winning actress Miranda Richardson, screenwriter Deborah Moggach and cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto, French said they “…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.”

The Best British Newcomer award went to Jonathan Asser, debut screenwriter of hard-hitting prison drama Starred Up.

Jury President Amanda Posey commented that “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”.

Posey and her fellow jurors, including director Tom Kingsley and actors Cillian Murphy, Saoirse Ronan, Gina McKee and Joanne Froggatt, also highly commended the performances of nominees Conner Chapman and Shaun Thomas in The Selfish Giant.

The long-standing Sutherland Award for First Feature went to Anthony Chen, director of devastating family drama Ilo Ilo.

Jury President and co-founder of Number 9 films Elizabeth Karlsen, who was joined on the panel by director Susanna White and actors Emilia Fox, Jim Broadbent and Stephen Dillane, said of the winning film, “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 award for Best Documentary, co-presented with The Grierson Trust, went to My Fathers, My Mother and Me, Paul Julien-Robert’s portrait of life in European commune Friedrichshof.

Jury President and film producer 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 and 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, which also comprised SKY Commissioning Editor Chris Wilson, City Screen cinema programmer Chris Harris, BBC presenter Sophie Raworth and Renegade Pictures CEO Alex Cooke, highly commended Zachary Heinzerling’s Cutie & the Boxer, Greg Baker’s Manhunt and Alexandra Ivanova’s cinematography forVitali Mansky’s Pipeline.

Finally, the BFI Fellowship, which is awarded to individuals who have demonstrated an outstanding contribution to film or television, was given to Sir Christopher Lee. Actor Johnny Depp made a surprise appearance to present the award. 

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