By Ray Pride


London – 10.30pm, 20th October 2012

The 56th BFI London Film Festival, in partnership with American Express announced the winners at its high-profile awards ceremony, at Banqueting House, Whitehall, SW1 this evening. Hosted by Sue Perkins the four awards were presented by some of the most respected figures in the film world.

BEST FILM: RUST AND BONE, directed by Jacques Audiard Presented in partnership with American Express and celebrating the most original, intelligent and distinctive filmmaking in the Festival, the winner of the Best Film award, was announced by Sir David Hare, President of the Official Competition jury. This is just the fourth year of the standalone awards but a second win for Jacques Audiard who won in 2009 for A Prophet. David Hare said: “Jacques Audiard has a unique handwriting, made up of music, montage, writing, photography, sound, visual design and acting. He is one of only a very small handful of film-makers in the world who has mastered, and can integrate, every element of the process to one purpose: making, in RUST AND BONE, a film full of heart, violence and love.” The jury also admired, and commended, AFTER LUCIA, in particular for its terrifying portrayal of school bullying; and the highly original NO, a study of how controversial advertising techniques contributed to the end of General Pinochet.”

BEST BRITISH NEWCOMER: Sally El Hosaini – director/screenwriter MY BROTHER THE DEVIL This award is presented in partnership with Swarovski and honours new and emerging film talent, recognising the achievements of a new writer, producer, director, actor or actress. The award for Best British Newcomer, presented by Olivia Colman and Tom Hiddleston, went to Sally EI Hosaini, director/screenwriter for her vibrant and original debut feature MY BROTHER THE DEVIL. Jury president David Heyman said “Sally El Hosaini’s writing and direction displayed a remarkable maturity. The film transcended its genre with lyricism and tenderness and possessed a wonderful emotional truth”.

SUTHERLAND AWARD: Benh Zeitlin for BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD The long-standing Sutherland Award is presented to the director of the most original and imaginative feature debut in the Festival. This year Helen McCrory & Hannah McGill, President of the jury, presented Benh Zeitlin with the award for BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD a brilliant, distinctive vision of life on the edge of the world. Hannah McGill said, “We commended Anand Gandhi’s incredibly ambitious Ship of Theseus, for tickling our intellect and showing us rarely-seen facets of Indian life; as well as Haifaa Al-Mansour’s Wadjda, a profound but wickedly funny take on Saudi Arabia’s assault on female autonomy. However one film stood out as most clearly deserving of the top prize recognising innovation and originality: Benh Zeitlin’s daringly vast, richly-detailed BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD”

THE GRIERSON AWARD FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY: Alex Gibney, director and screenwriter of MEA MAXIMA CULPA: SILENCE IN THE HOUSE OF GOD The award is co-presented with the Grierson Trust and recognises outstanding feature length documentaries of integrity, originality, technical excellence or cultural significance. The Award went to Alex Gibney for his film MEA MAXIMA CULPA: SILENCE IN THE HOUSE OF GOD a damning indictment of the Catholic Church and attempts by the Vatican to cover up one of the most appalling scandals of our times. Roger Graef, President of the jury said “MEA MAXIMA CULPA was the unanimous choice of the judges. It was a life- changing film that was made with real integrity. The use of deaf men for interviews finally telling their story was both very distinctive and respectful. The journalism showed an extraordinary paper trail of events leading right to the Vatican in an incredibly compelling manner. It deeply affected the judges who said ‘it sat in the gut.’.”

BFI FELLOWSHIPS: Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter (as previously announced) Awarded to those whose body of work has made an outstanding contribution to film culture, the Fellowship is the highest accolade that the British Film Institute bestows. The recipients were visionary film director Tim Burton whose film Frankenweenie opened the Festival, and celebrated British actress Helena Bonham Carter whose film GREAT EXPECTATIONS will close the Festival. The Fellowships were presented to Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter by Sir Christopher Lee and Sir Trevor Nunn respectively. Greg Dyke, Chair, BFI said: ‘The BFI London Film Festival Awards pay tribute to outstanding film talent, so we are delighted and honoured that both Tim Burton, one of the most creative and visionary directors and Helena Bonham Carter, one of our finest British actresses have both accepted BFI Fellowships – the highest accolade the BFI can bestow. I also want to congratulate all the filmmakers honoured with nominations this year, for their vision, skill, passion and creativity. The Star of London award was commissioned especially for the Festival and designed by leading sculptor Almuth Tebbenhoff.

About the BFI

The BFI is the lead body for film in the UK with the ambition to create a flourishing film environment in which innovation, opportunity and creativity can thrive by:

Connecting audiences to the widest choice of British and World cinema

Preserving and restoring the most significant film collection in the world for today and future generations

Championing emerging and world class film makers in the UK

Investing in creative, distinctive and entertaining work

Promoting British film and talent to the world

Growing the next generation of film makers and audiences

The BFI London Film Festival

The BFI London Film Festival is an iconic international film festival that supports London’s position as the world’s leading creative city. It presents the best new British and international films to an expanding London and UK-wide audience. It provides career-enabling opportunities for British and international filmmakers through its industry and awards programmes. Last year’s Festival hosted 207 feature films and 110 short films from 68 countries including 13 world premieres. There were 971 filmmakers in attendance, drawing the highest ever audience attendance of over 133,000 filmgoers. The Festival opened with the European Premiere of 360 and closed with the UK Premiere of THE DEEP BLUE SEA. Twitter @bfi #lff

Clare Stewart biography

Clare Stewart’s sixteen-year programming career has encompassed leadership roles as Festival Director, Sydney Film Festival (2006-2011) and the inaugural Head of Film Programs at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melbourne (2002-2006) as well as various roles at the Australian Film Institute (1996-2001), including Exhibition Manager, and programmer and Committee Member of the Melbourne Cinémathèque (1995-2002).

About American Express

American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel, financial and network services company founded in 1850. It is a leader in charge and credit cards, Travellers Cheques, travel and insurance products. As part of the premium service delivered to Cardmembers, American Express handpicks the very best in London entertainment through its award winning Preferred Seating programme. From giving a sneak peek behind the scenes, offering money can’t buy experiences at events, American Express goes that extra mile to deliver inspiring and memorable entertainment experiences. The company has multi – year partnerships with a range of entertainment institutions including AEG Live, Ticketmaster, Live Nation and the British Film Institute.

About Swarovski – Sponsor of Best British Newcomer Award

Swarovski’s rich history and culture of creativity delivers an innovative product portfolio that is loved by designers and millions of customers around the world. Still a family business, Swarovski is a global leader in manufacturing crystal elements, gemstones and jewelry, home accessories and more. Since it was founded in 1895, five generations of the Swarovski family have reinforced the company’s commitment to the arts and culture. Collaborations with fashion designers, artists and performers on stage and screen evolve innovative new uses for crystal as Swarovski maintains its place at the forefront of design, creativity and technological innovation. From the early days of Hollywood, Swarovski has worked hand in hand with costume and set designers, creating show-stopping jewels, costumes and sets that capture the spotlight, adorning classics including Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, The Wizard of Oz, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and more recently The Young Victoria, NINE, Burlesque, Black Swan, Water for Elephants and Mirror Mirror. Swarovski is a growing business. It currently employs around 26,100 people in 120 countries, turning over 2.22 billion Euros in 2011 Swarovski Entertainment Ltd. is Swarovski’s film division, which collaborates with established industry partners and exceptional talent to develop, finance and produce original and artistically accomplished feature films with international box office appeal. Swarovski Entertainment aims to express Swarovski’s philosophy, identity and creative essence through moving images to enchant and inspire audiences around the world.

About the Grierson Trust

The Grierson Trust commemorates the work of pioneering Scottish filmmaker John Grierson (1898–1972), famous for making Drifters and his association with Night Mail – the man widely regarded as the father of the documentary. Established in 1972, the Grierson Awards annually celebrate documentaries that have made a significant contribution to the form. The list of past winners – which includes Penny Woolcock, Norma Percy, Molly Dineen, Nick Broomfield, Kim Longinotto, Paul Watson, Angus Macqueen and Pawel Pawlikowski – is testament to the high standard of work which is celebrated through these awards. They are the ultimate UK prizes for documentary filmmakers from across the globe and this year celebrates their 40th anniversary.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon