The London Film Festival announced its winners on Saturday night. The announcement was made on the festival’s penultimate night. Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev’s ‘Loveless’ movie nabbed the big prize.
The London Film Festival was also particularly LBGT-themed, with multiple films portraying on the lives of the LGBT community.
Celebrating the winners
The London Film Festival announced its big winners on Saturday night during a special ceremony at the Banqueting House in the U.K. capital. The event was hosted by James Nesbitt and with guests including Andrea Arnold, Hayley Atwell, Eric Bana, Jason Isaacs, Anya Taylor-Joy and Lily Cold.
Winners of the night included Lucy Cohen’s ‘The Kingdom of Us’ (U.K.) for best documentary, and Patrick Bresnan’s ‘Rabbit Hunt’ (U.S.) for best short film.
The Sutherland Award, which recognizes the director of the most original and imaginative first feature in the festival, went to John Trengove, for his film ‘The Wound’.
The jury described the film as a “dynamic and inimitable coming-of-age story that takes a heartbreaking look at masculinity and sexuality.”
The prestigious BFI Fellowship was awarded to British director Paul Greengrass. Whose film “Captain Phillips” opened the London Film Festival in 2013.
Paul Greengass Received the BFI
The night also marked filmmaker Paul Greengrass receiving the British Film Institute’s highest honor, the BFI Fellowship. It was presented to him by frequent collaborator and Working Title co-chairman Tim Bevan.
“If you’re a British filmmaker, it means the world. It’s the BFI. It’s a hugely important honor. I felt honored and I felt humbled. Definitely, I thought about it today, I really did,” said Greengrass about receiving the honor.
“I went for a cup of coffee and I was on my own and thought, ‘Wow’. I hadn’t realized it was 40 years since I’d joined the business. So you go, ‘OK, that’s quite a long time, that’s quite a journey’.”
“That’s what I felt; honored and humbled. I know they’re overused words, but that is honestly what you feel.”
The night also marked the revelation of Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut as the surprise film of the festival.
The international event officially closed with a gala premiere of ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,’ on Sunday.
The big winner
Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev’s ‘Loveless’ was the festival’s big winner. He nabbed the best film award in the festival.
This marks the second time the director has claimed this honor. In 2014, he won the honor with his Golden Globe-winning film ‘Leviathan.’
‘Loveless’ follows the story of a boy who vanishes while his parents undergo an acrimonious divorce, the film is Russia’s entry in the foreign-language Oscar race.
“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,” said the head of the festival jury, Andrea Arnold.
“One that we recognized as one of the world¹s great sadnesses. The filmmaker elevated the personal to a social and political statement.”
‘Loveless’ was first screened at Cannes, where it met favorable reviews by the critics. The film marks the third film to be submitted as Russia’s official Oscar’s contender, the first was ‘The Return,’ then ‘Leviathan’ and now ‘Loveless.’
The film will hit the US screens distributed by Sony Pictures Classics in early 2018.
This year’s London Film Festival was filled with a bumper selection of LGBT titles in its lineup. Many of those films got the red carpet treatment.
“Some of the strongest cinema we’ve seen this year has been LGBT-themed. Everyone in the industry is now more willing to take a risk,” said festival director Clare Stewart.
“It’s a profoundly strong year for LGBT cinema. And we are starting to see that emerge in more cultures and also in more mainstream films.”
The festival’s lineup included Luca Guadagnino’s story of sexual awakening, ‘Call Me by Your Name’, Sebastian Lelio’s trans tale, ‘A Fantastic Woman’ ‘ ‘120 Beats per Minute’, about AIDS activism in Paris, and the Brazilian drama ‘Good Manners’
There were also films such as ‘The Wound’, ‘Beach Rats’, ‘A Moment in the Reeds and the doc Antonio Lopez 1970: Sex, Fashion and Disco’ representing a growing array of gay-themed films from around the world.
“The other thing that we’re really seeing, which is exciting and a bit more of a development, is more films that aren’t necessarily LGBT films but where the character’s sexual identity is being treated as a given rather than the subject,” added Stewart.
Coincidentally, the international festival landed just weeks after a major local LGBT success. Director Francis Lee debuted her ‘God’s Own Country’ last September, meeting the critic’s claim and amassing over $650,000 in revenues.
This all comes in the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act, which partially decriminalizing homosexuality and proved to be a turning point in LGBT history.