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The 54th BFI London Film Festival closes its doors for another year of Awesome films

29 October 2010

Last night, the 54th BFI London Film Festival, in partnership with American Express, rounded off a highly successful year with the European premiere of Danny Boyle’s 127 HOURS, attended by the director and star, James Franco.

This year’s festival hosted 201 feature films and 112 short films from 68 countries including 11 World premieres. There were 530 screenings and 629 filmmaker guests, including 346 UK based and 283 from outside the UK. With 990 industry delegates accredited, the Festival exceeded last year’s figures and reports the highest ever audience attendance in excess of 132,000 filmgoers, compared to 130,000 in 2009.

A host of celebrated filmmakers and actors from around the world were in London to present their films over the 16 days. Opening the festivities was the European premiere of NEVER LET ME GO with Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan and Andrew Garfield in attendance; Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell introduced CONVICTION; Michelle Williams appeared for BLUE VALENTINE; Freida Pinto graced the red carpet with Julian Schnabel for MIRAL; Alejandro González Iñárritu and Javier Bardem introduced BIUTIFUL; Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo and Lisa Cholodenko attended for THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT; and BLACK SWAN director Darren Aronofsky was joined by actors Mila Kunis and Vincent Cassell.

This year marked an outstanding British presence, including both the Opening and Closing galas. THE KING'S SPEECH was attended by Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter. ANOTHER YEAR's Mike Leigh, Lesley Manville, Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen introduced their screening - an event which was simultaneously beamed to cinemas across the UK via a satellite link, taking the festival experience nationwide for the first time. Peter Mullan introduced NEDS, Jimi Mistry and Om Puri led the cast of WEST IS WEST, Turner Prize winner Gillian Wearing presented SELF MADE, Joanna Hogg returned to the festival with ARCHIPELAGO and Lucy Walker introduced WASTE LAND.

Other international filmmakers who travelled to London included: Cannes Palme D'Or winner Apichatpong Weerasethakul for UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES, John Sayles for AMIGO, Rachid Bouchareb for OUTSIDE THE LAW, HOWL's Robert Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, Ryan Fleck for IT'S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY, Michaelangelo Frammartino for LE QUATTRO VOLTE, Amir Bar-Lev for THE TILLMAN STORY, Thomas Vinterberg for SUBMARINO, Diego Luna for ABEL and Anton Corbijn for THE AMERICAN. In the Experimenta strand, guests included David Gatten, Nathaniel Dorsky and Lewis Klahr, in his first UK appearance. THE GREAT WHITE SILENCE was the hugely popular restoration from the BFI Archive

Yoko Ono makes a special appearance at the Vue West End tonight to introduce the documentary celebrating her late husband, LENNONYC. Other special guests to the festival included Sarah Brown, who introduced Christy Turlington Burns for her directorial debut NO WOMAN, NO CRY (presented by Brightwide), and Peter Mandelson, who came to the world premiere of Hannah Rothschild's MANDELSON: THE REAL PM?.

Amongst those filmmakers welcomed on stage for Screen Talks were Darren Aronofsky and Mark Romanek, whilst Olivier Assayas, Lisa Cholodenko, Peter Mullan and Alejandro González Iñárritu led Masterclasses. Other events included British Cinema: Breaking with Convention, with directors Patrick Keiller, Clio Barnard and John Akomfrah; and A Novel Idea: Adapting Books for the Screen in which Thomas Vinterberg and Richard Ayoade participated.

Last night, the BFI presented its second annual awards ceremony held at London’s LSO St Luke's and hosted by Sue Perkins. Best Film was presented to Alexei Popogrebsky for HOW I ENDED THIS SUMMER by Patricia Clarkson, Chair of the Best Film Jury. Best British Newcomer went to Clio Barnard, director of THE ARBOUR, presented by Andy Serkis. Jon Snow presented the Grierson Award for Best Documentary to Janus Metz for ARMADILLO. The jury was chaired by Kevin Macdonald. The longstanding Sutherland Award was also presented to Clio Barnard by jurors Michael Winterbottom and Olivia Williams. Legendary director Martin Scorsese delivered a special tribute to the work of the BFI National Archive in its 75th year. A BFI Fellowship, the highest accolade that the Institute bestows, was awarded to Danny Boyle for his significant achievement in the field of directing, presented by fellow director Stephen Daldry.

The festival hosted a wide range of industry-related events including Ken Loach's keynote address, which was as provocative as anticipated. Power to the Pixel returned with the Cross-Media Forum and the Film London Production Finance Market brought together UK and international producers and financiers. It was another successful year for the Education and Children's programme, with a number of events and talks including The Film Festival Project, free morning film screenings, Masterclasses with leading filmmakers and Q&A's with screenwriters and directors. The series of seven Filmmakers’ Afternoon Teas saw 54 directors complete a total of 291 interviews with national, regional and international journalists. There were 93 press screenings and a total of1307accredited press delegates attended from 58 countries.

Festival Artistic Director, Sandra Hebron, commented: “ We enjoyed two weeks of outstanding films and live events, generous and insightful film makers, and enthusiastic audiences, so we’re very happy with the reception that this year’s festival has received, and grateful to all our supporters.”