Cannes: U.K. Industry Reacts to Ken Loach's Palme d'Or Win

Courtesy of Joss Barratt
'I, Daniel Blake'

BBC Films head Christine Langan calls it a "stunning tribute to one of our most humane filmmakers."

A year after the British film industry bemoaned its absence from the Cannes film festival's official selection, one of its most celebrated directors scooped the festival's top prize. Again.

Ken Loach's I, Daniel Blake may not have been the critics' favorite (although it did receive a 15-minute standing ovation), but was awarded the Palme d'Or — his second — on Sunday night to rapturous applause from across the English Channel.

Christine Langan, head of BBC Films, described the award as a "stunning tribute to one of our most humane filmmakers."

"We're honored at BBC Films to have backed Ken and heartily congratulate him and his team on this most powerful and moving piece," she added. "I, Daniel Blake is a lesson in cinema connecting with modern life and ordinary people and we're thrilled that it's been recognized in this way."

But it wasn't just Loach who caused U.K. cheers, with Andrea Arnold's American Honey, backed by the BFI and Film4, winning the jury prize, the third time the director has come away with the award.

"American Honey is a passionate and brilliant odyssey that takes us into the hearts and minds of the young and disenfranchised in modern America," said Film4's head of creative, Rose Garnett. "Film4 is proud to have supported the project from its inception. Andrea is one of the great directors working today — and American Honey is a landmark film that places British talent at the center of the world cinema stage."

Added Ben Roberts, director of the BFI Film Fund: "What a moment for British cinema, and for two important and humane films with so much to say. Bravo to Ken and to Andrea and their collaborators — including the unstoppable Robbie Ryan who shot both films. This is cinema from the heart, and we're grateful that we have an industry that can support such personal, powerful filmmaking."

At the post-win press conference, Loach, who turns 80 next month, admitted that he was "quietly stunned" to have won the Cannes award with "the same little gang" from 2006's The Wind that Shakes the Barley, which earned him his first Palme d'Or.

As for Loach's celebrations, it's unlikely the I, Daniel Blake team descended on Cannes' high-end bars and clubs with their prize. In 2006, the filmmaker chose to reward himself after the closing ceremony with a cup of tea.