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LFF juries announced for First Feature, documentary and Short Film Awards

23 September 2015

The 59th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express has announced further jurors for this year’s Festival, with director/screenwriter Desiree Akhavan, documentary filmmaker Mark Cousins and Academy Award nominee and BAFTA-winner Daisy Jacobs (Best Short Animated Film for The Bigger Picture, 2014), joining previously announced Pawel Pawlikowski, presiding over the First Feature, Documentary, Short Film and Official Competition juries respectively. The full jury line-up is drawn from across the creative industries, including Fine Art, multidisciplinary artists and filmmakers, connecting with the Festivals commitment to expanding the future of film by building knowledge and understanding of film’s engagement with other art forms, technologies and disciplines.

Musician and presenter Jarvis Cocker will this year host the annual Awards Ceremony on Saturday 17 October at Banqueting House. Prizes will be presented for the Festival’s competitive sections – The Best Film Award is presented to the winner of the Official Competition; the Sutherland Award is presented to the winner of the First Feature Competition and the Grierson Award is presented in partnership with the Grierson Trust, to the winning film in the Documentary Competition. This year will see the inaugural presentation of the Short Film Competition; the Best Short Film Award recognises short form works with a unique cinematic voice and a confident handling of chosen theme and content, presented to one of a shortlist of 12 films selected from across the programme. Each of these sections is open to international and British films. The BFI Fellowship, awarded each year at the BFI London Film Festival Awards ceremony will be presented to Cate Blanchett.

Jarvis Cocker, Award Ceremony host said:

"Having served on the jury back in 2009, it is a great pleasure & honour to be invited back to host the 59th BFI London Film Festival Awards. This year’s selection may very well be the most wide-ranging yet – I will be working on my pronunciation skills as we have films from over 38 countries in the competition. It is sure to be a very memorable evening – now, if only I could remember who I lent my dinner suit to…"

The Witch

First Feature Competition

The Sutherland Award for the First Feature Competition has been recognising original and imaginative feature debut directing talent for decades. Presiding over the jury for this illustrious award is director/screenwriter Desiree Akhavan, whose feature debut, Appropriate Behaviour featured in the Love strand last year. She is joined by BAFTA-nominated director and Fine Artist Clio Barnard, who won the Sutherland Award in 2010 for her feature debut The Arbor, James Kent, the director of last year’s Centrepiece Gala supported by the Mayor of London, Testament of Youth, Irish actor Allen Leech, whose credits include last year’s Opening film The Imitation Game, and chief film critic of The Times, Kate Muir.

The First Feature Competition selection is: Mai Masri for 3000 Nights (European Premiere); Eva Husson for Bang Gang (A Modern Love Story); Magnus von Horn for The Here After; Trey Edward Shults for Krisha; Yared Zeleke for Lamb; Esther May Campbell for Light Years; Ariel Kleiman for Partisan; Eugenio Canevari for Paula; Bentley Dean & Martin Butler for Tanna; Piero Messina for The Wait; Nitzan Gilady for Wedding Doll (European Premiere) and Robert Eggers for The Witch.

The Pearl Button

Documentary Competition

The Grierson Award presented for the Documentary Competition, presented in partnership with The Grierson Trust, recognises cinematic documentaries with integrity, originality, and social or cultural significance. This year’s jury is presided over by documentary filmmaker and ex-director of EIFF Mark Cousins, whose own love letter to his hometown I Am Belfast appears in this year’s Love strand (Oct 14 at Curzon Soho). Cousins’ fellow jurors are documentary filmmaker Brian Woods, who since producing The Dying Rooms (1995) has won numerous BAFTA and Emmy awards, Guardian Head of Documentaries and previous deputy director of Sheffield DocFest, Charlie Phillips, Grierson trustee and documentary filmmaker Alex Cooke. Completing the jury are Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard, London-based artists and filmmakers whose first documentary feature 20,000 Days on Earth, won directing and editing awards at Sundance last year, as well as nominations for the Spirit Awards and BAFTA and the Douglas Hickox Award for Best Debut Director at the BIFAs.

The Documentary Competition selection is: João Pedro Plácido’s (Be)Longing; Mor Loushy’s Censored Voices; David Sington’s The Fear of 13 (World Premiere); Alexandria Bombach & Mo Scarpelli’s Frame By Frame (European Premiere); Alexander Sokurov’s Francofonia; Frederick Wiseman’s In Jackson Heights; Walter Salles’ Jia Zhangke, a Guy From Fenyang; Tomer Heymann’s Mr. Gaga (International Premiere); Patricio Guzmán’s The Pearl Button; Sarah Turner’s Public House (World Premiere); Jennifer Peedom’s Sherpa (European Premiere) and Hanna Polak’s Something Better to Come.

Short Film Competition

This year, the Festival has introduced a Short Film Competition as part of its overall commitment to supporting and developing filmmakers. With a long history of recognising and supporting new film talent through its short film programming, the Festival has previously screened early short works from filmmakers such as Andrea Arnold, Peter Strickland, Destiny Ekaragha and Sean Durkin.

The jury is presided over by Academy Award nominee, Daisy Jacobs whose The Bigger Picture featured in last year’s Festival and won the BAFTA for Best Short Animated Film, the multi-media conceptual artist and filmmaker Shezad Dawood, short film producer and Senior Film Programme Manager at British Council Will Massa, director Tom Green, whose Monsters: Dark Continent marked his feature debut at last year’s Festival in the Thrill strand and British visual artist, filmmaker and Turner Prize nominee Runa Islam.

The nominated Short Films are: João Paulo Miranda Maria’s Command Action, Till Nowak’s Dissonance; Nina Gantz’s Edmond; Peter Tscherkassky’s The Exquisite Corpus; Mees Peijnenburg’s A Hole in My Hear; An van Dienderen’s Lili (International Premiere); Maïmouna Doucouré’s Mother(s); Shai Heredia & Shumona Goel’s An Old Dog's Diary (European Premiere); Caroline Bartleet’s Operator (European Premiere); Jörn Threlfall’s Over; Vivienne Dick’s Red Moon Rising (World Premiere) and Ziya Demirel’s Tuesday.

Beasts of No Nation

Official Competition

The Best Film Award recognises inspiring, inventive and distinctive filmmaking, providing an important platform for films to break-through in the UK and internationally. The initial shortlist was drawn up by Festival Director Clare Stewart, together with the Festival programming team. As previously announced, President of the Official Competition jury is Pawel Pawlikowski, whose Ida won the LFF Best Film prize in 2013 and garnered him both the BAFTA and Oscar for Best Foreign Film. His jury comprises producer Christine Vachon (whose film Carol is this year’s American Express Gala), the BAFTA-winning and Oscar & Golden Globe nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor, the BAFTA-winning and Oscar nominee Kristin Scott-Thomas, and Chinese director and screenwriter Mabel Cheung whose A Tale of Three Cities epic based on the lives of Jackie Chan’s parents, features in this year’s Love strand (Oct 15 at Cineworld Haymarket).

The Official Competition selection is: Jerzy Skolimowski’s 11 Minutes; Cary Fukunaga’s Beasts of No Nation; Apichapong Weerasethakul’s Cemetary of Splendour; Athina Rachel Tsangari’s Chevalier; Simon Stone’s The Daughter; Jonás Cuarón’s Desierto (European Premiere); Lucile Hadžihalilovic’s Evolution; Johnnie To’s Office (European Premiere); Lenny Abrahamson’s Room; László Nemes’ Son of Saul; Terence Davies’ Sunset Song; Sean Baker’s Tangerine and Mir-Jean Bou Chaaya’s Very Big Shot(European Premiere).

The BFI London Film Festival Awards will take place at Banqueting House on October 17 2015.