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LONDON 2016 Awards

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Certain Women, Raw triumph in London

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- Starless Dreams takes documentary prize

Certain Women, Raw triumph in London
Julia Ducournau accepts the First Feature Sutherland Award for Raw (© John Phillips / BFI LFF)

Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women (US) has won Best Film at the 60th BFI London Film Festival (5-16 October) Official Competition. The jury said: “In a vibrant year for cinema it was the masterful mise en scène and quiet modesty of this film that determined our choice for Best Film. A humane and poignant story that calibrates with startling vulnerability and delicate understatement the isolation, frustrations and loneliness of lives unlived in a quiet corner of rural America.”

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Julia Ducournau’s Raw [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Julia Ducournau
film profile
]
(France/Belgium) won the Sutherland Award for Best First Feature. Jury president Sarah Gavron said, “It is a film that shocked and surprised us in equal measure. We admired the way the director did something completely unexpected with the genre. We enjoyed the outrageousness of the storytelling, and the glee with which events unfolded. We loved the eerie originality of the setting, the dark, dark humour, the great score and the truly distinctive visual language. And the bold charismatic acting of the women at the centre of a film that is both unique and unsettling and will quite literally make some swoon.”

The jury also gave a special commendation to Houda Benyamina’s Divines [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Houda Benyamina
film profile
]
(France) for Oulaya Amamra’s performance and for the film’s energy and veracity.

The Grierson Award for Best Documentary went to Mehrdad Oskouei’s Starless Dreams (Iran). Jury president Louise Osmond said, “Starless Dreams is the story of young women in a juvenile detention centre in Iran. By that description you’d imagine a dark film exploring a bleak world of broken young lives. This film was the very opposite of that. It took us into a world none of us knew anything about - the street kids, thieves and children of crack addicts of Iran - and showed us a place full of humour, life and spirit. Beautifully paced with great characterisation and a very strong sense of place, director Mehrdad Oskouei captured the fears and friendships of these teenagers with such humanity. The profoundly moving irony of the film is that it was in this detention centre, with others like them, that these girls finally found a sense of family and home; you feared for them most the day they were released back into their family’s care. It’s a film that stays with you for a very long time.” 

This year’s BFI Fellowship was presented to the Turner-prize-winning video artist, and Oscar-winning filmmaker Steve McQueen by his frequent collaborator Michael Fassbender.

The list of winners:

Best Film in Official Competition
Certain Women - Kelly Reichardt (US)

Sutherland Award for Best First Feature
Raw [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Julia Ducournau
film profile
]
- Julia Ducournau (France/Belgium)
Special Commendation
Divines [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Houda Benyamina
film profile
]
- Houda Benyamina (France)

Grierson Award for Best Documentary
Starless Dreams - Mehrdad Oskouei (Iran)

Best Short Film
9 Days: From My Window In Aleppo - Issa Touma, Thomas Vroege and Floor van de Muelen (Netherlands/Syria)

BFI Fellowship
Steve McQueen

Seneca's Day Lithuania
 

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