The BFI London Film Festival announced a 12 per cent increase in attendance and the highest ever audience turn-out in the festival’s history, as the 2012 edition draws to a close.
Over 149,000 people attended cinemas and events across multiple London venues, seeing screenings of more than a hundred of films, with the festival’s Best Film prize going to Jacques Audiard’s Rust And Bone.
President of the Official Competition jury David Hare presented the honour to Audiard, who won the same prize in 2009 for A Prophet. Michel Franco’s After Lucia and to Pablo Larrain’s No were also afforded a special mention.
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 Best British Newcomer went to Sally El Hosaini for 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.”
The Sutherland Award for the most original feature debut in the festival went to Benh Zeitlin for Beasts Of The Southern Wild. President of the jury and film critic 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 went to Alex Gibney for Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence In The House of God. President of the jury Roger Graef said “Mea Maxima Culpawas 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’.”
Chair of the BFI Greg Dyke 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.