Leviathan, a moving film about life in a corrupt Russian town has won the award for the best film at the London film festival awards.
Stars of the cinema, including James McAvoy, Carol Morley, Stephen Frears, John Hurt, Dexter Fletcher and Anne Marie Duff, gathered for the awards on Saturday night in Westminster’s Banqueting House to applaud the film maker Andrey Zvyagintsev and other winners. Veteran film producer Jeremy Thomas, president of the official competition jury, announced the award and praised Leviathan as the unanimous choice of the jury, saying: “Its grandeur and themes moved all of us in the same way.”
The prize for the most impressive screen debut in a British film went to Sameena Jabeen Ahmed for her performance in the lead role of Laila in the film Catch Me Daddy. The film was written by brothers Daniel and Matthew Wolfe and the category jury included Monica Ali, Dexter Fletcher and James Corden.
The Grierson award for best documentary went to the film Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait by Ossama Mohammed and Wiam Simav Bedirxan. Making the award the jury president in this category, film director and writer Sophie Fiennes said that the winning documentary was “both unflinching and poetic”.
“It is hard to watch,” Fiennes’ citation went on, “because the fact of war is and should be unbearable. Bedirxan’s passionate and courageous quest to be a reliable witness, while trying to comprehend and survive her desperate situation in Homs, is profoundly moving. Ossama Mohammed’s exile in Paris resonates with our own safe distance from this war, but the miracle of the film is how it engages us.”
As previously announced, a British Film Institute fellowship was awarded to film director Stephen Frears by the playwright and screenwriter Sir David Hare, who said: “I can’t think of anyone who’s made a richer, more diverse or more consistently intelligent contribution to British film in my life-time.”
Dame Helen Mirren and Dame Judi Dench were among the stars who sent video messages of congratulations to Frears.
Mirren, who worked with Frears on The Queen, said: “Many, many congratulations Stephen. You are one of the greats of this industry.
“It’s quite astounding. I wish I could be there with you to raise a toast, but I’m in New Orleans, poor me.
“But I wish I could be there just to see what shoes you are wearing. Do you have any food down your front? You probably do.”
Frears collected the award wearing a pristine dinner jacker with trainers.
Dench said in her message: “He laughs a lot, he’s got a great sense of humour.
“I love working with him, just love it. He just makes you want to work every day, you want to be in same studio as he is.”
Accepting his award Frears said: “My mother would be surprised that I’m standing here. She’d still be wondering when I’m going to get a proper job. I think she thought I’d end up in prison.”
But the director went on to reminisce about his childhood and being taken to the cinema by his mother, which sparked his love of film.
Frears quipped: “Blimey I was lucky. I’ve been making films for 50 years about what the French call ‘the marginals’. Pakistanis, the Irish, homosexuals, women… the Queen.”
He paid tribute to all the women he has worked with over the years in what he admitted was a “man’s industry”.
And finally he paid tribute to his wife, saying “my partner, the mother of my children, the artist and gardener, Anne Rothenstein”.
He added: “I never set out to be a film director, it’s been an accident. She has taught me what being creative means, so I’m very lucky.”
Backstage Frears admitted he felt overwhelmed, and said of the award: “It’s a great compliment. But you just go on working, don’t you?”
- ‘Once Upon A Time In Hollywood’, ‘The Irishman’, ‘Dolemite Is My Name’ Among 35th Artios Awards Nominees
- Reliving the Best Awards-Show Moments of the Decade
- Yearender: Chinese film industry looks for new horizons in North America
- The best Bluetooth speakers for 2020
- Wins Best Picture at Producers Guild Awards
- Abhishek congratulates Amitabh Bachchan for Dada Saheb Phalke award: My inspiration. My hero. We are all so, so proud of you
- The best Roomba robots for 2020
- Filmmaker Michael Moore On 2020 Election: Trump Has Strong Chance Of Winning
- Good Newwz box office day 6: Akshay Kumar film earns Rs 117 cr, is his sixth consecutive movie to enter Rs 100 cr club
- Ex-lorry driver, 54, nearly lost out on £1m lottery win after forgetting where he bought his ticket