A PROPHET (Un Prophèt) Wins Best Film At LFF 2009

The winners of this year's LFF have been announced with Jacques Audiard's A Prophet (Un Prophèt) taking home the Star of London Best Film award. John Hillcoat's The Road was also given special mention by the jury. The French prison drama has already won the Grand Prix at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival and garnered much praise at this year's TIFF. Best British Newcomer went to Jack Thorne, screenwriter of The Scouting Book For Boys, starring Thomas Turgoose of This Is England and Somers Town fame.

Full release below:

"BEST FILM

In recognition of original, intelligent and distinctive filmmaking, the new award for Best Film was judged by an international jury chaired by Anjelica Huston and fellow jurors John Akomfrah, Jarvis Cocker, Mathieu Kassovitz, Charlotte Rampling and Iain Softley.

The Star of London for Best Film was awarded to Jacques Audiard's A PROPHET and was presented by Anjelica Huston.

On behalf of the jury Anjelica Huston (Chair) said: "A masterpiece: UN PROPHETE has the ambition, purity of vision and clarity of purpose to make it an instant classic. With seamless and imaginative story-telling, superb performances and universal themes, Jacques Audiard has made a perfect film."

The jury also gave a special mention to John Hillcoat's THE ROAD, praising the film's breathtaking vision, extraordinary performances and profound political statement.

BEST BRITISH NEWCOMER

Presented for the first time, the award for Best British Newcomer celebrates new and emerging film talent, rewarding the achievements of a new writer, producer or director who has demonstrated real creative flair and imagination with their first feature. Dominic Cooper and Jodie Whittaker presented the Best British Newcomer Star of London to Jack Thorne, screenwriter of the film THE SCOUTING BOOK FOR BOYS.

The jury said: "Jack Thorne is a poetic writer with an end-of-the-world imagination and a real gift for story-telling. Thorne's substantial authorship is revealed in the unique voices of the film's characters and the rich, soulful and playful layering of the story."

The jury also gave a special mention to J Blakeson, the writer and director of THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ALICE CREED, commending his accomplished, original and ambitious filmmaking.

SUTHERLAND AWARD

The longstanding Sutherland Award is presented to the maker of the most original and imaginative first feature screening in the Festival.

This year, Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani took the award for their film AJAMI, which was presented by Alfonso Cuarón. Jurors included Paul Greengrass, Kerry Fox and David Parfitt.

The jury said "A bold and original piece of filmmaking, AJAMI tells an important story in a thoroughly engrossing and cinematic way. A fantastic achievement, Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani have made a film with a heart and a vision that speaks for a common humanity."

LONDON FILM FESTIVAL GRIERSON AWARD for Best Documentary in the Festival This award is co-presented with the Grierson Trust, in commemoration of John Grierson, the grandfather of British documentary. The jury included Nick Broomfield, Molly Dineen, Ellen Fleming and Christopher Hird, and was presented by Broomfield to winner Yoav Shamir for his film DEFAMATION.

 On behalf of the jury Nick Broomfield said: "A fantastic film, Defamation does exactly what documentary, at its best, can do, making us re-examine our assumptions about an important and complex subject, in an absorbing and funny way. The film's intellectual courage, boldness of conception and the excitement of the journey on which it takes you make this a winning film."

BFI FELLOWSHIPS

The highest accolade that the British Film Institute bestows was awarded... to distinguished British actor John Hurt and renowned Malian filmmaker Souleymane Cissé for their significant achievements in the fields of acting and directing. Hurt, whose films 44 INCH CHEST and THE LIMITS OF CONTROL, were featured in the festival, received his award from producer Jeremy Thomas and director Michael Caton-Jones both of whom have worked with Hurt on a number of films. Cissé's TELL ME WHO YOU ARE had its UK premiere at the festival this week and his award was presented to him by actress Charlotte Rampling.

The inaugural Star of London awards were commissioned especially for the Festival and designed by leading sculptor Almuth Tebbenhoff."
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