The BFI Film Festival went out with a bang this weekend, seeing the premiere of Great Expectations as the Closing Gala film. The film’s stars Helena Bonham Carter, Noomi Rapace and Holliday Grainger all attended. Although a newcomer, Holliday stole the show in a striking Peter Pilotto dress paired with a chic up-do and vampy lips.
However, the iconic Helena Bonham Carter held her own in a classic black and white ruffled Vivienne Westwood Couture gown. Also in attendance on the red carpet were Jodie Whittaker, couple Lara Stone and David Walliams, who all came out to show their support of the film.
The 56th BFI London Film Festival closed on 21 October with the high profile awards ceremony that took place at the Whitehall Banqueting House, and was hosted by English comedian Sue Perkins. The four awards of Best Film, Best British Newcomer, Sutherland Award, and the Grierson Award were presented by some of the most respected figures in the film world.
BEST FILM: Rust and Bone, directed by Jacques Audiard
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 marks a second win for Jacques Audiard who won in 2009 for his film 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 award panel also commended After Lucia, for its terrifying portrayal of school bullying; and the highly original film No.
BEST BRITISH NEWCOMER: Sally El Hosaini, director & screenwriter of My Brother the Devil
This award honours new and emerging film talent, recognising the achievements of a new writer, producer, director, actor or actress. Best British Newcomer was presented by Olivia Colman and Tom Hiddleston and went to Sally EI Hosaini, director/screenwriter for her vibrant and original debut film My Brother the Devil.
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 presented Benh Zeitlin with the award for the distinctive vision of life on the edge of the world that is 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 Grierson award 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 time.
Roger Graef, President of the BFI Award 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”.
Also at the closing of the film festival, two BFI Fellowships were awarded. Given to those whose body of work has made an outstanding contribution to film culture, the Fellowship is the seen as the highest accolade that the British Film Institute can bestow. The recipients were innovative film director Tim Burton whose film Frankenweenie opened the festival, and British actress Helena Bonham Carter whose film Great Expectations closed the Festival.