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Screen Legend Christopher Lee to Receive BFI Fellowship

Christopher Lee - H 2013
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Christopher Lee

The British Film Institute's highest accolade will be dished out during this year's BFI London Film Festival awards ceremony; festival organizers also reveals juries for high-profile awards.

LONDON – Screen legend Sir Christopher Lee will be honored with a BFI Fellowship during this year's upcoming BFI London Film Festival Awards.

The fellowship, the highest honor the BFI can dish out, will be presented during the 2013 BFI London Film Festival nods on Oct. 19 at Banqueting House, Whitehall, SW1.

A BFI Fellowship is awarded to individuals in recognition of their outstanding contribution to film or television.

In 2012, the fellowship was presented to Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton while 2011's recipients were David Cronenberg and Ralph Fiennes.

BFI chief executive Amanda Nevill described the timing for Lee's plaudit as being "a truly illustrious moment."

Lee described being chosen for the Fellowship as "a great privilege to be included amongst such a distinguished group of predecessors who have received this award from the BFI."

Knighted in 2009 for his services to drama and charity, Lee's resume boasts more than 250 acting credits for film and television.

Having made his feature debut in 1948 with Corridor of Mirrors, he first became a star in the mid-1950s playing Frankenstein’s creature, then the title role of Dracula for Hammer Films.

In a career spanning more than eight decades, he has starred as Mycroft Holmes in Billy Wilder’s The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, as Lord Summerisle in cult classic The Wicker Man, as Scaramanga in The Man With the Golden Gun, and as Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan.

The actor won a fresh worldwide audience when he starred as Saruman in the BAFTA and Oscar-winning Lord of the Rings trilogy and appeared as Count Dooku in the Star Wars prequels.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson, whose office supports the BFI, got in on the act on the eve of the British capital's movie shindig, which begins on Oct. 9, with Captain Phillips by describing Lee's career as being "genuinely iconic."

The mayor’s office, through the capital’s film and media agency Film London, has supported the BFI London Film Festival since 2004.

This year the mayor’s centerpiece gala is Inside Llewyn Davis, written and directed by Oscar-winning brothers Joel and Ethan Coen, starring Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake and John Goodman.

The mayor also funds the festival’s Industry Office and the Film London Production Finance Market.

Festival organizers also announced this year's festival juries who will dish out the winners from the festival's competitive sections, which include best film, the Sutherland Award for best first feature and the Grierson Award for best documentary.

The initial shortlist for best film was drawn up by BFI head of cinemas and festivals, Clare Stewart, together with the festival programming team.

President of the best film jury is veteran film critic and journalist Philip French, with jurors, filmmaker Lone Scherfig (An Education), Canadian-based visual artist Stan Douglas, BAFTA-winning actress Miranda Richardson, screenwriter of Pride and Prejudice and author Deborah Moggach and Oscar-nominated cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto (Argo).

The winner will come from Catherine Breillat’s Abuse of Weakness, Richard Ayoade’s The Double, Pawel Pawlikowski’s IDA, Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Like Father, Like Son, Ritesh Batra’s The Lunchbox, Jahmil XT Qubeka’s Of Good Report, Peter Landesman’s Parkland, Ahmad Abdalla‘s Rags and Tatters, Clio Barnard’s The Selfish Giant, David Mackenzie’s Starred Up, Xavier Dolan’s Tom at the Farm, John Curran’s Tracks and Under the Skin from Jonathan Glazer.

The Sutherland Award jury will be presided over by co-founder of Number 9 Films, Elizabeth Karlsen, with fellow jurors, actor Emilia Fox, BAFTA Award-winning director Susanna White, the Academy Award-, BAFTA-, Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning actor Jim Broadbent and BAFTA- and Tony-winning actor Stephen Dillane.

The Grierson Award jury is headed by producer Kate Ogborn with Sky commissioning editor Chris Wilson, cinema programmer for City Screen Chris Harris, BBC newsreader and presenter Sophie Raworth and CEO of Renegade Pictures, Alex Cooke.

The festival runs from Oct. 9-20.