The 2015 London Film Festival in nearing its conclusion, but not without handing out its annual prizes. The film, presented by the British Film Institute and celebrating its 59th year, showcased an astonishing 240 films from 72 countries. Chevalier, a Greek comedy of manners was awarded with the Best Film Award. The film, from director Athina Rachel Tsangari made its world premiere at the 2015 Locarno Film Festival and has since played at both the Toronto and New York film festivals. No U.S. distribution for the title has been set yet.
Jury president Pawel Pawlikowski, who directed the Oscar winning and 2013 London Film Festival prize winner Ida, presented the top award praising Chevalier as a “study of male antagonism seen through the eyes of a brave and original filmmaker.” The comedy centers around a group of six men competing in an absurd machismo contest while on a fishing trip in the Aegean Sea. Notably, Tsangari (who wrote and directed the acclaimed 2010 film Attenberg) is a woman. Recent winners of the top prize at the London Film Festival include the Oscar nominated Leviathan (2014), Rust and Bone (2012) and We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011). The Witch, a period horror film that premiered to great acclaim at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, won the Sutherland Award (for best first feature). That film will be released stateside in 2016 courtesy of A24 Films.
2-time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett (whose upcoming Carol and just bowed Truth both screened in London) was feted with the BFI Fellowship. This year, the London Film Festival opened with Sarah Gavron’s awards hopeful Suffragette (starring Carey Mulligan) and will close Sunday evening with Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs (a film currently in limited release stateside). Other films that screened this year include Trumbo (starring Bryan Cranston), Black Mass (starring Johnny Depp), A Bigger Splash (starring Tilda Swinton and Ralph Fiennes) and The Lobster (starring Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz). Full list of winners below.
- BEST FILM: Chevalier– directed by Athina Rachel Tsangari
- SUTHERLAND AWARD (Best First Feature): The Witch– directed by Robert Eggers
- GRIERSON AWARD (Best Documentary): Sherpa– directed by Jennifer Peedom
- BEST SHORT FILM: An Old Dog’s Diary– directed by Shai Heredia and Shumona Goel
- BFI FELLOWSHIP: Cate Blanchett