Another Round and The Painter and the Thief win LFF 2020 awards
James R | On 18, Oct 2020
Another Round and The Painter and the Thief were the big winners at this year’s London Film Festival.
The part-online, part-in-person event, which came to a close tonight, screen films across the country in cinemas as well as streaming many online. It was only fitting, then, that the festival should conclude with a virtual ceremony announcing the winners of awards voted for by audiences, with all contemporary films presented virtually being eligible.
The Best Film prize was presented to Thomas Vinterberg for Another Round by director and writer Gurinder Chadha.
Underscored by delicate and affecting camerawork, director Vinterberg’s spry script, co-written with regular collaborator Tobias Lindholm, uses this bold premise to explore the euphoria and pain of an unbridled life. At its heart is Martin, an unappreciated tutor, husband and father. Playing a once brilliant but now world-weary shell of a man, the ever surprising Mikkelsen delivers a touching, note-perfect performance – including surely one of his most lithe and memorable onscreen moments to date.
Vinterberg said: “Thank you to the audience at the London Film Festival for bringing this award to us. We are very proud to receive this from a British audience; it’s a great honour. We are so sad that we can’t be there.”
Best Documentary went to Benjamin Ree for The Painter and the Faith by author, actor, producer and comedian David Walliams,
The sheer audacity of the theft of artist Barbora Kysilkova’s enormous paintings from the windows of an Oslo gallery immediately piqued documentarian Benjamin Ree’s interest. Neither he, Kysilkova nor the perpetrators could have predicted what happened next. During the trial Kysilkova asked one of the accused why he took the paintings: Karl Bertil Nordland answered ‘Because they were beautiful.’ Deeply affected, Kysilkova contacted Nordland afterwards to request a rather unusual form of restorative justice: to paint his portrait. Both damaged outsiders and creative in their own ways, Kysilkova and Nordland found something in one another akin to a strange form of therapy. Blending elements of love story, mystery and biopic, with non-linear storytelling Ree crafts a beguiling take on the long roads back from (other people’s) bad choices.
Ree said: “Thank you so much BFI London Film Festival and to all the people who have voted for the film; it’s a great honour for us to win this prestigious award. There’s two people I would like to especially thank and that’s Barbora Kysilkova and Karl-Bertil Nordland, the two main subjects of the film. The way Barbora approached Karl-Bertil at the trial, when he had stolen two of her most valuable paintings, was so moving to hear and that’s the reason I wanted to make this film: “I did not see the thief in him”, she told me, “I saw a human being”. Who would have known back then that the painter and the thief would become such good friends? I have missed being at the Festival this year (and visiting the BFI film store which has been my favourite since I was 11 – buying rare DVDs and books to learn more about filmmaking) but I would like to say that I’ve been really impressed by this year’s digital Festival.”
Best Short Film was presented to Tommy Gillard for Shuttlecock by actress, director and playwright Zawe Ashton.
Carl is king of the court. But today he’s very distracted. This highly amusing comedy playfully combines homoerotic vibes with toxic masculinity on a badminton court.
Gillard said: “I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has watched and voted for the film – this is an amazing honour. London Film Festival is my favourite festival and I go every year with my mates and so it’s an honour to be included and it’s even more of an honour to be named as the winner for the Best Short Film.”
Best XR/Immersive Art was presented to Anna West and David Callanan for To Miss the Ending by the Executive Producer of XR immersive art collective Marshmallow Laser Feast, Nell Whitley.
Anna West and David Callanan said: “The BFI’s LFF Expanded has been truly special to be a part of. Our work itself talks about the scary and unstable times we’re living in, and we’ve really felt that this year. The film was made under COVID restrictions, and with an incredibly small creative team, most of whom are Manchester based. This means a lot to us all and the work on show at this festival is a real demonstration of the resilience of our industry. Our thanks go to the BFI, to everyone who watched and voted, to our small and brilliant team, and our funders New Creatives, Tyneside Cinema, BBC Arts and Arts Council England. We’re so happy that this work has had a life outside our homes, and thrilled that people enjoyed it!”
Screen International Star of Tomorrow and first-time feature director of Wildfird, Cathy Brady, was the winner of the IWC Schaffhausen Filmmaker Bursary Award in association with the BFI. The £50,000 Bursary, which awards an outstanding first or second time UK writer, director, or writer/director presenting work at the BFI London Film Festival, was presented by Christoph Grainger-Herr, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen. Brady, who is from Northern Ireland, was selected as the winner by Grainger-Herr along with Ben Roberts, Chief Executive, BFI, and multi-hyphenate actor, director, screenwriter, producer and poet Michaela Coel. Wildfire, which premiered at the LFF on 10th October, tells the story of two sisters whose familial bonds are pushed to breaking point in a simmering drama set on the Irish border.
Brady said: “I’m deeply honoured to receive the IWC Schaffhausen Filmmaker Bursary. In a year that has been so turbulent for so many, it feels like a safe harbour and for a first feature filmmaker, the chance to recalibrate, dream and immerse myself in the next project is such an incredible gift. Thank you IWC and BFI.”
Coel commented: “Wildfire is a compelling story, expertly told and unlike anything we had seen in UK filmmaking before. Cathy weaves an emotionally rich, intimate story of two sisters elegantly framed against a wider, politically charged backdrop, she says so much without saying very much at all. Great films make you think and jolt you out of your comfort zone, in the very best way Wildfire was deliciously uncomfortable!”
Ben Roberts, Chief Executive, BFI said: “All three finalists presented astonishing first or second feature films, further evidence of the UK’s exceptional filmmaking talent. Supporting filmmakers through the earlier stages of their career is one of our top priorities and we’re incredibly proud of how our partnership with IWC has contributed to this for the past 5 years, and hopefully many more.”
Roberts also congratulated the other nominees, Aleem Khan (After Love), Francis Lee (Ammonite).
For more on the London Film Festival, see our festival hub here.