The juries will be led by Academy Award-nominated director Lenny Abrahamson, nominee for the LFF Best Film Award for Room (LFF 2015 and also director of Frank, winner Best Screenplay BIFA 2014); Francis Lee, winner of the 2017 BIFA for Best Début Screenwriter for God’s Own Country; the prolific, award-winning documentary producer Simon Chinn, who won the 2009 and 2013 Academy Award for Best Documentary for Man on Wire and Searching For Sugarman respectively; and director Rungano Nyoni, whose film I Am Not A Witch was in the First Feature competition in the Festival last year (securing her a nomination for the IWC Schaffhausen Filmmaker Bursary Award in association with the BFI), won the BAFTA for Outstanding Début by a British Writer, Director or Producer and is the UK’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film for the 2019 Academy Awards.
The Festival celebrates the highest creative achievements of British and international filmmakers in its Competitive sections, applauding extraordinary storytelling and inventive filmmaking across all the categories. This year’s line-up across the competitive sections showcases the enormous depth and diversity of talent working in the global film industry today, with female directors or co-directors making up at least half of the films in three out of the four categories (Official Competition, First Feature Competition, Short Film Competition).
The winners in each competition will be selected by our hand-picked juries, and for the first time this year, the winners will be revealed in front of a public audience on the evening of Saturday, October 20. Each winning film will be presented as a surprise screening in each category at Vue Leicester Square, preceded on stage by the presentation of the Festival’s official award, the bronze Star of London, in the presence of Artistic Director Tricia Tuttle, the President of the Jury and the winning filmmaker. This places audiences at the very heart of the awards celebration and encourages them to experiment and see the winning films as a surprise. This year’s Awards are supported by Italian luxury eyewear brand, Persol.
Lenny Abrahamson, Official Competition President said: “As someone who has had films in the London Film Festival and loved the experience, it’s a particular honour to come back this year as President of the Jury for the Official Competition. The films in this section were chosen because they represent inventive and distinctive film making of the highest calibre and I’m so looking forward to immersing myself in the process of watching, reflecting on and discussing all this great work with the other members of the jury.”
LENNY ABRAHAMSON is joined by: BAZ BAMIGBOYE – the award-winning entertainment columnist for the Daily Mail group of newspapers; highly acclaimed British actress EMILIA CLARKE, whose credits include Solo: A Star Wars Story, Game of Thrones, and Me Before You; DOMINIC COOPER – the British star of Mamma Mia, An Education (SAG nominee) and The History Boys; CAIRO CANNON – the producer of Dreams of a Life (LFF 2011) The Falling (LFF Official Competition 2014) and Out of Blue, screening as a Special Presentation in the Festival this year; GONZALO MAZA, the Chilean producer and screenwriter of Gloria and A Fantastic Woman, winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film; and the multi-award-winning British actress ANDREA RISEBOROUGH, whose credits include Birdman, Shadow Dancer, Nocturnal Animals and the Primetime Emmy-winning Black Mirror.
The Best Film Award recognises inspiring, inventive and distinctive filmmaking. The Official Competition films are:
- BIRDS OF PASSAGE, Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra
- DESTROYER, Karyn Kusama (European Premiere)
- HAPPY AS LAZZARO, Alice Rohrwacher
- HAPPY NEW YEAR, COLIN BURSTEAD., Ben Wheatley (World Premiere)
- IN FABRIC, Peter Strickland
- JOY, Sudabeh Mortezai
- THE OLD MAN AND THE GUN, David Lowery
- SHADOW, Zhang Yimou
- SUNSET, László Nemes
- TOO LATE TO DIE YOUNG, Dominga Sotomayor
FIRST FEATURE COMPETITION
Francis Lee, First Feature Competition President said: “The Sutherland Award is an important honour bringing a focus onto the first time filmmaker and I am feeling very privileged to be President of the jury this year”
FRANCIS LEE’s fellow jurors are the Academy Award and BAFTA-nominated Production Designer MARIA DJURKOVIC (The Imitation Game, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Hours, Billy Elliot); British actor and Screen Actors Guild nominee NATALIE DORMER (Game of Thrones, The Riot Club, Rush, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt 2); 2014 BAFTA Rising Star winner WILL POULTER, whose credits include The Maze Runner, The Revenant and The Little Stranger; International Film Festival Rotterdam programmer INGE DE LEEUW, who has curated several special programmes for IFFR, including the widely travelled ‘Out of Fashion´ (2011) and Everyday Propaganda (2015); and multi-talented British rapper, comedian, actor, screenwriter and radio presenter BEN BAILEY SMITH (aka Doc Brown).
The Sutherland Award for the First Feature Competition has been recognising original and imaginative début feature directing talent since 1958. This year’s nominated directors are:
- Lila Avilés, THE CHAMBERMAID
- Soudade Kaadan, THE DAY I LOST MY SHADOW
- Cathy Yan, DEAD PIGS
- Lukas Dhont, GIRL
- Isabella Eklöf, HOLIDAY
- Celia Rico Clavellino, JOURNEY TO A MOTHER’S ROOM
- Harry Wootliff, ONLY YOU (European Premiere)
- Richard Billingham, RAY & LIZ
- Ivan Ayr, SONI
- Paul Dano, WILDLIFE
Simon Chinn, Documentary Competition President comments: “It’s an exciting time for feature documentaries internationally and this year’s competition reflects the way the genre is continuing to evolve in terms of range, originality and cinematic ambition. I’m truly honoured to be presiding over the jury with such a great group of fellow jurors.”
Joining SIMON CHINN are BAFTA nominee and winner of last year’s Grierson Award for Kingdom of Us, LUCY COHEN; the award-winning director and critic CHARLIE LYNE, whose film Lasting Marks is a Short Film Award nominee at this year’s Festival; BAFTA-nominated director, producer and cinematographer DAISY ASQUITH (Queerama, After The Dance); and British radio and television presenter ANITA RANI.
The Grierson Award presented in partnership with The Grierson Trust recognises cinematic documentaries with integrity, originality and social or cultural significance. The documentaries selected this year are:
- BISBEE ‘17, Robert Greene
- DREAM AWAY, Marouan Omara, Johanna Domke
- EVELYN, Orlando von Einsiedel (World Premiere)
- JOHN MCENROE: IN THE REALM OF PERFECTION, Julien Farau
- THE PLAN THAT CAME FROM THE BOTTOM UP, Steve Sprung (World Premiere)
- PUTIN’S WITNESSES, Vitaly Mansky
- THE RAFT, Marcus Lindeen
- THEATRE OF WAR, Lola Arias
- WHAT YOU GONNA DO WHEN THE WORLD’S ON FIRE? Robert Minervini
- YOUNG & ALIVE, Matthieu Bareyre
SHORT FILM AWARD
Rungano Nyoni, Short Film Competition President comments: “It was an honour to be asked. I’ve been to LFF as a filmmaker with my short film and my feature film which competed in the first film competition last year. It’s a pleasure to return this year in my capacity as Jury president. What I am also quite impressed by is that I get to see the films in an actual cinema. That’s an incredibly gracious and respectful gesture towards the filmmakers that sweated for their shorts. Looking forward to full immersion.”
RUNGANO NYONI’s fellow jurors are British director AYO AKINGBADE (Tower XYZ, A is for Artist); JOE LAWLOR AND CHRISTINE MOLLOY the Dublin-born filmmaking duo Desperate Optimists (Helen, Who Killed Brown Owl); Musician and composer OLIVER SIM from the Mercury Prize-winning British indie pop band the XX; and BAFTA EE Rising Star Award nominee ANYA TAYLOR-JOY (Sutherland Award winner The Witch (LFF 2015), The Miniaturist, Split).
The Short Film Award recognises short form works with a unique cinematic voice, which demonstrate a confident handling of chosen theme and content. The nominations are:
- ANOTHER DECADE, Morgan Quaintance
- DE NATUTRA, Lucile Hadžihalilović
- THE FIELD, Sandhya Suri
- HELLO, RAIN, C J ‘Fiery’ Obasi
- LASTING MARKS, Charlie Lyne
- LEASH, Harry Lighton
- MONELLE, Diego Marcon
- SALAM, Claire Fowler
- SOLAR WALK, Réka Bucsi
- VESLEMOY’S SONG, Sofia Bohdanowicz