57th BFI London Film Festival Draws to a Close‏



The 57th BFI London Film Festival, in partnership with American Express®, closed tonight with the World Premiere of SAVING MR. BANKS.

Clare Stewart, in her second year as Festival Director has offered audiences a diverse range of international films in what has been widely regarded as one of the strongest programmes in recent years. 2013 has seen the Festival consolidate last year’s successful growth, with an audience of 151,000. The Festival screened a total of 235 fiction and documentary features, including 22 World Premieres, 13 International Premieres, 29 European Premieres, 20 Archive films, and 134 live action and animated shorts all from 74 countries. There were 670 filmmaker guests, half of which came from international territories, and 941 industry delegates attending industry screenings and events.

Opening and Closing Night both received simultaneous screenings to 50 cinemas collectively across the country with the red carpet action shown via satellite link, as part of the Festival’s commitment to put the UK audience at the heart of the Festival-going experience. In addition the recently launched BFI Player, the new VOD service, gave UK audiences access to all the stars and behind-the-scenes action from the Festival.

A host of international filmmakers and actors graced the Leicester Square red carpets over 12 days. The European Premiere of CAPTAIN PHILLIPS opened the Festival with director Paul Greengrass and Hollywood star Tom Hanks in attendance. The Festival drew to a close this evening with the World Premiere of SAVING MR. BANKS attended by Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Colin Farrell, Ruth Wilson and director John Lee Hancock. Judi Dench and Steve Coogan were joined for the American Express Gala of PHILOMENA by Philomena Lee and Martin Sixsmith along with director Stephen Frears and writer Jeff Pope. Steve McQueen presented the Accenture Gala of 12 YEARS A SLAVE with Chiwetel Ejiofor and Lupita Nyong’o. Sandra Bullock, director Alfonso Cuarón and producer David Heyman attended the American Airlines Gala of GRAVITY. INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS the Centrepiece Gala supported by the Mayor of London was attended by Joel & Ethan Coen, Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan and John Goodman. Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin joined director Jason Reitman for the May Fair Hotel Gala of LABOR DAY. Director and star of THE INVISIBLE WOMAN Ralph Fiennes was joined by Joanna Scanlan and Tom Hollander for the Festival Gala.  The Archive Gala THE EPIC OF EVEREST was attended by the composer Simon Fisher Turner.

The strand Galas were attended by international filmmakers and casts including: Abdellatif Kechiche and Adèle Exarchopoulos for BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOUR; Kelly Reichardt and Jesse Eisenberg for NIGHT MOVES; Alain Guiraudie and cast Pierre Deladonchamps, Christophe Paou and Patrick D’Assumcao for STRANGER BY THE LAKE; director and star Joseph Gordon-Levitt for DON JON; Tom Hiddleston for ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE; Alexander Payne for NEBRASKA; and Lukas Moodysson was joined by Mira Barkhammar, Liv LeMoyne for WE ARE THE BEST!

Last night the BFI London Film Festival Awards were held at Banqueting House, introduced by BFI Chairman Greg Dyke and hosted by Joanna Lumley. The winner of the Best Film award IDA was presented to Pawel Pawlikowski by President of the Official Competition Jury film critic Philip French. The long-standing Sutherland Award in the First Feature Competition went to Anthony Chen, director of ILO ILO and was presented by Stephen Dillane.  The winner of the Grierson Award in the Documentary Competition went to Paul-Julien Robert, director of MY FATHERS, MY MOTHER AND ME and was presented by the Jury President Kate Ogborn. Best British Newcomer went to Jonathan Asser the debut screenwriter of STARRED UP and was presented by Saoirse Ronan.

At the Awards ceremony Sir Christopher Lee received the BFI Fellowship, the highest accolade bestowed by the BFI.  As a surprise to Sir Christopher Lee the Fellowship was by presented by actor and friend Johnny Depp.

Other Competition titles were represented by filmmakers and stars including: Catherine Breillat and Isabelle Huppert for ABUSE OF WEAKNESS; Richard Ayoade, Jesse Eisenberg, Craig Roberts and Yasmin Paige for THE DOUBLE; Hirokazu Kore-eda for LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON; Ritesh Batra for THE LUNCHBOX; Jahmil XT Qubeka for OF GOOD REPORT; Peter Landesman for PARKLAND; Ahmad Abdalla for RAGS AND TATTERS; Clio Barnard, Shaun Thomas and Connor Chapman for THE SELFISH GIANT; David Mackenzie for STARRED UP; Jonathan Glazer for UNDER THE SKIN; John Curran for TRACKS; Daniel Radcliffe, Dane DeHaan Jack Huston and director John Krokidas for KILL YOUR DARLINGS; Alex Gibney for THE ARMSTRONG LIE; Frederick Wiseman for AT BERKELEY; Zachary Heinzerling for CUTIE AND THE BOXER; and Kitty Green was joined in presenting UKRAINE IS NOT A BROTHEL by Femen founding member Sasha Shevchenko.

Other high-profile Festival guests included: Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Nicole Holofcener, Anna Kendrick and Joe Swanberg, Tom Hardy, Andrew Scott, Ruth Wilson and Steven Knight, Emily Mortimer and Dolly Wells, Charlie Cox and Jodie Whittaker, Terry Gilliam with Sanjeev Bhaskar, Gwendoline Christie and Lily Cole; Ari Folman and Robin Wright, Lech Wałęsa, Vicky Zhao, and Biyi Bandele, Joseph Mawle, Joseph Boyega with writer Chimamamda Ngozi Adichie.

The Experimenta strand saw Andrea Luka Zimmerman present TAŞKAFA, STORIES OF THE STREET; Jodi Mack perform to her animated rock opera DUSTY STACKS OF MOM during a showing of her wider work; Boris Lehman’s present his epic MY CONVERSATIONS ON FILM; and tribute paid to the late Japanese moving-image artist Stom Sogo.

Screen Talks were given this year by Hirokazu Kore-eda, Catherine Breillat and actor/director Ralph Fiennes, whilst composer Clint Mansell and cinematographer Barry Ackroyd gave Masterclasses, as did GRAVITY director Alfonso Cuarón and VFX supervisor Tim Webber. Other events were ‘William Faulkner Film Noir & Nobel Prizes’, a talk by visual artist Stan Douglas and a panel discussion ‘British Cinema – Home grown and all grown up’. Sonic events also took place with Buraka Som Sistema performing and Michael Nyman playing some of his film compositions at BFI Southbank.

Highlights of the Industry Programme included the Keynote Speech given by SAVING MR. BANKS producer Alison Owen, p.g.a. This year saw the introduction of a dedicated venue for Press & Industry screenings during the Festival, the Cineworld Shaftesbury Avenue, enabling a significant increase in the number of films offered – 11,072 press and industry delegates attended 143 screenings (up from 85 approx. in recent years). Buyers & Seller screenings also took place, where 48 feature films without UK distribution were shown to 637 attendees.

The Education programme sponsored by the Sir John Cass Foundation included 31 exciting, screenings Q&As, workshops and the Young Jury Project. There were 4063 attendees overall, with an additional 178 film students enjoying access to LFF Industry events and the ‘Film School Programme’.

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