The 61st BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express® announced this year’s Festival Award-winners at a high profile Awards dinner at Banqueting House, Whitehall, last night.
Hosted by James Nesbitt, and with an address from BFI Chair Josh Berger, guests included Andrea Arnold, Hayley Atwell, Eric Bana, Jessie Buckley, Lily Cole, Jason Isaacs, Adrian Lester, Helen McCrory, Andrea Riseborough and Anya Taylor Joy.
As previously announced, the 2017 BFI Fellowship was presented to BAFTA award-winning director, producer, screenwriter and former broadcast journalist, Paul Greengrass by his frequent collaborator Tim Bevan.
Official Competition (Best Film):
Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev (Russia, France, Germany, Belgium)
Recognising inspiring, inventive and distinctive filmmaking, the winner of the Best Film Award went to Andrey Zvyagintsev’s LOVELESS, a powerful and eloquent film about a divorcing Russian couple whose son disappears.
This is the second time Zvyagintsev has won the award having previously received Best Film for LEVIATHAN in 2014.
The jury commented:
“We felt that Loveless was a very poetic and beautiful film. Dark and told with a fierce passion. Although the film concentrated on the intimate story of one family in Russia, it felt like a universal tragedy; one that we recognized as one of the world¹s great sadnesses. The film-maker elevated the personal to a social and political statement. A critique of our current psychological and political moment. Some of us felt the film a cautionary tale. An angry warning. And some of us saw it as a rallying call for the opposite of what the film is called.
First Feature Competition (The Sutherland Award):
Winner: THE WOUND
Director: John Trengove (South Africa)
Named after the first Chairman of the British Film Institute, George Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, 5th Duke of Sutherland, the long-standing Sutherland Award was this year received by John Trengove for THE WOUND, a powerful exploration of masculinity and unspoken queer desire set in the remote mountains of South Africa’s Eastern Cape .
The Sutherland Award is presented to the director of the most original and imaginative first feature in the Festival.
The jury commented:
“Among a strong field of debut features, we found ourselves enamoured by the urgency, vitality and originality of The Wound. Director John Trengove and his terrific cast have created a dynamic and inimitable coming-of-age story that takes a heart-breaking look at masculinity and sexuality.
Documentary Competition (The Grierson Award):
Winner: KINGDOM OF US
Director: Lucy Cohen (United Kingdom)
The Grierson Award for the Best Documentary recognises outstanding feature-length documentaries of integrity, originality, technical excellence or cultural significance.
This year’s award was presented to Lucy Cohen’s documentary feature debut, KINGDOM OF US, a luminous exploration of grief, identity, family bonds and emotional recovery.
On behalf of the jury, John Battsek said:
“In a strong and diverse documentary selection, Lucy Cohen’s impressive debut Kingdom of Us equally fascinated and moved us all. It captures an extraordinary level of family intimacy in its delicate exploration of grief and memory.
Short Film Competition (Best Short Film):
Winner: THE RABBIT HUNT
Director: Patrick Bresnan (USA)
Now in its third year at the Festival, the Short Film Award recognises short form works with a unique cinematic voice and a confident handling of chosen theme and content.
This year, the award went to Patrick Bresnan for his documentary short, THE RABBIT HUNT. The film follows a family hunting rabbits in the sugarcane fields of the Florida Everglades during the harvest season.
The jury commented:
“We were unanimously impressed by Patrick Bresnan‘s verité documentary The Rabbit Hunt. The film is a thrilling look at one family’s otherwise everyday hustle, and is proof that farm-to-table eating doesn’t have to be a bourgeoisie exercise. We admired its agility, its confidence and its refusal to judge its enterprising subjects, and are excited to see what Bresnan does next.