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Legendary British Producer Jeremy Thomas to head-up LFF Official Competition Jury

23 September 2014

With fellow jurors Ahmad Abdalla, Scott Foundas, Sally Hawkins, James McAvoy and Lorna Tee

Jurors for other competitive sections include:

James Corden, Finola Dwyer, Sophie Fiennes, Dexter Fletcher, Ian Hart, Hermione Norris and Luc Roeg

The 58th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express® announces the juries for this year’s Festival, with BFI Fellow and former Chair Jeremy Thomas CBE as Official Competition Jury President, with producer Luc Roeg, writer/director/producer Sophie Fiennes and producer Finola Dwyer presiding over the First Feature, Documentary and Best British Newcomer juries respectively.

The BFI London Film Festival’s headline gala section presents high profile films in the lead-up to the awards season, while the Official Competition section provides an important platform for distinctive and inventive films to break-through in the UK and internationally. Last year’s Best Film winner – Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida – is on this year’s Academy Award® long-list for Best Foreign Language Feature and previous winners include Rust & Bone, We Need to Talk About Kevin and A Prophet.

This year’s Official Competition Jury President is Jeremy Thomas CBE, whose remarkable career as producer and executive producer spans Nicolas Roeg’s Bad Timing (1978), Bernardo Bertolucci’s multi-Oscar®-winning The Last Emperor (1987), David Cronenberg’s Crash (1996), Wim Wender’s Pina (2011) and Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive (2013). Thomas is a BFI Fellow and was the subject of a BFI Southbank retrospective in April celebrating 40 years of producing.

On Saturday 18 October at the annual Awards Ceremony, 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 to the winning film in the Documentary Competition. Each of these sections is open to international and British films.  In addition, the Best British Newcomer Award will be presented to the most accomplished and promising new acting, writing, directing or producing talent with no previous track record in feature films or television.  The BFI Fellowship, awarded each year at the BFI London Film Festival Awards ceremony will be announced ahead of the Festival.

Official Competition
The Best Film Award recognises inspiring, inventive and distinctive filmmaking. The initial shortlist was selected by Festival Director Clare Stewart, together with the Festival programming team. Jeremy Thomas CBE will preside over the jury comprising last year’s Best Film Award nominee, Ahmad Abdalla (Rags & Tatters – LFF 2013), Golden Globe winner and Oscar® & BAFTA nominee Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine), film producer and programme advisor Lorna Tee (Postcards from the Zoo), the BAFTA-winning and Golden Globe-nominated James McAvoy (X-Men: Days of Future Past); and Chief Film Critic of Variety, Scott Foundas.

Jury members who will present work at the Festival are Ahmad Abdalla, whose film DÉCOR receives its World Premiere at Rich Mix on Sunday 12 October; Sally Hawkins who features in Morgan Matthews’ debut feature X + Y which receives its European Premiere at the Odeon West End on Monday 13 October; and James McAvoy who stars in THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ELEANOR RIGBY, newly added to the official LOVE section and receiving its UK Premiere at the Odeon West End on Friday 17 October, where McAvoy will be joined by writer/director Ned Benson. 

The Official Competition selection is: Peter Ho-Sun Chan’s DEAREST; Peter Strickland’s THE DUKE OF BURGUNDY (European Premiere); Carol Morley’s THE FALLING (World Premiere); Ana Lily Amirpour’s A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT; Céline Sciamma’s GIRLHOOD; Daniel Barber’s THE KEEPING ROOM (European Premiere); Andrey Zvyagintsev’s LEVIATHAN; François Ozon’s THE NEW GIRLFRIEND; Christian Petzold’s PHOENIX; Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s THE PRESIDENT; Julius Avery’s SON OF A GUN (European Premiere); and Abderrahmane Sissako’s TIMBUKTU.

First Feature Competition
The Sutherland Award in 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 BAFTA-nominated producer Luc Roeg whose own film We Need To Talk About Kevin won the Best Film Award at the Festival in 2011.  His fellow jurors are the actors Ian Hart (The Bridge) and Hermione Norris (Spooks), producer and president of production at EOne, Xavier Marchand and the director, cinematographer and writer, Ben Rivers (Two Years at Sea – LFF 2012).

The First Feature Competition selection is: Yann Demange’s 71; Josephine Decker’s BUTTER ON THE LATCH; Daniel Wolfe & Matthew Wolfe’s CATCH ME DADDY; Zeresenay Berhane Mehari’s DIFRET; Franco Lolli’s GENTE DE BIEN; Guy Myhill’s THE GOOB; Adityavikram Sengupta’s LABOUR OF LOVE; Sudabeh Mortezai’s MACONDO; Debbie Tucker Green’s SECOND COMING; Ester Martin Bergsmark’s SOMETHING MUST BREAK; Naji Abu Nowar’s THEEB; and Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy’s THE TRIBE.

Documentary Competition
The Grierson Award in the Documentary Competition, presented in partnership with The Grierson Trust, recognises cinematic documentaries with integrity, originality, and social or cultural significance. The jury is presided over by director, writer and producer Sophie Fiennes (The Perverts Guide To Ideology - LFF 2012). She is joined by Emmy®-winner and BAFTA-nominated producer and director Roy Ackerman (The House I Live In), the Emmy®-winning producer and editor of Storyville Nick Fraser, Dogwoof’s head of distribution Oli Harbottle, and the BAFTA-nominated filmmaker and screenwriter Penny Woolcock (1 Day – LFF 2009).

The Documentary Competition selection is: Nadav Schirman’s THE GREEN PRINCE; Jean-François Caissy’s GUIDELINES; Randall Wright’s HOCKNEY (World Premiere); Jason Sussberg & David Alvarado’s THE IMMORTALISTS (European Premiere); Ulrich Seidl’s IN THE BASEMENT; Sergei Loznitsa’s MAIDAN; Frederick Wiseman’s NATIONAL GALLERY; Sabine Lubbe Bakker & Niels van Koevorden’s NE ME QUITTE PAS; Edward Lovelace & James Hall’s THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS; Ossama Mohammed & Wiam Simav Bedirxan’s SILVERED WATER, SYRIA SELF-PORTRAIT; Debra Granik’s STRAY DOG; and Lynette Wallworth’s TENDER (European Premiere).

Best British Newcomer Award
The Best British Newcomer Award recognising new British talent is presented to the most promising writer, actor, producer or director with no previous track record in feature films or television. Jury president is the Oscar® and BAFTA-nominated film producer Finola Dwyer (An Education). Her jury consists of the celebrated writer and novelist Monica Ali (Brick Lane), the BAFTA-winning actor and writer James Corden (Gavin & Stacey), BAFTA-nominated director, actor and writer Dexter Fletcher (Sunshine on Leith), and the BAFTA-winning screenwriter Matt Greenhalgh (Nowhere Boy – LFF 2009). 

The Best British Newcomer selection is: Guy Myhill – Writer/Director THE GOOB; Florence Pugh – Supporting Actor THE FALLING; Sameena Jabeen Ahmed – Actor CATCH ME DADDY; Rebecca Johnson – Writer/Director HONEYTRAP; Taron Egerton – Actor TESTAMENT OF YOUTH; Daniel Wolfe & Matthew Wolfe – Writers/Directors CATCH ME DADDY; Alex Lawther – Supporting Actor THE IMITATION GAME.

The BFI London Film Festival Awards will take place at Banqueting House on Saturday 18 October 2014.

About the BFI London Film Festival
BFI London Film Festival is Britain's leading film event and one of the world's best film festivals. It introduces the finest new British and international films to an expanding London and UK-wide audience and attracts significant international film industry participation. LFF is a compelling combination of red carpet glamour, friendly audiences and vibrant exchange. LFF provides an essential profiling opportunity for films seeking global success; promotes the careers of British and international filmmakers through its industry and awards programmes and positions London as the world’s leading creative city.

Clare Stewart biography
Clare Stewart’s nineteen year programming career has encompassed leadership roles as Festival Director, Sydney Film Festival (2006-2011) and the inaugural Head of Film Programs at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melbourne (2002-2006) as well as various roles at the Australian Film Institute (1996-2001), including Exhibition Manager, and programmer and Committee Member of the Melbourne Cinémathèque (1995-2002).