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LONDON — Terence Davies‘s The Deep Blue Sea, starring Rachel Weisz, Tom Hiddleston and Simon Russell Beale, brought this year’s BFI London Film Festival to a close as the closing-night feature.
The event was the last to be overseen by festival artistic director Sandra Hebron, who is stepping down after almost 10 years at the helm of the British capital set event to pursue her own personal agenda. She has been with the BFI Festivals department since 1997.
Hebron, visibly moved, said the standing ovation she received made her final speech all the harder to deliver. She was at pains to thank all the fillmmakers whose work has unspooled this year and across previous editions.
Davies said Hebron and her tenure had had a profound effect. “If the audience is not there, the act (of filmmaking) is not complete,” he said. “She gives us (filmmakers) that.”
A warm embrace between the two followed as more applause erupted.
Adapted by Davies from Terence Rattigan’s play of the same name, the movie marks a return to fiction movie-making for Davies after his documentary Of Time and the City took Cannes by storm in 2008.
It details the story of privileged wife in 1950s London, married to a judge who leaves after falling in love with a young ex-RAF pilot.
The movie is bankrolled by the U.K. Film Council and Film4, Channel 4’s movie-making arm and supported by Protagonist Pictures, Lip Sync Productions and U.K. distributor Artificial Eye. Produced by Sean O’Connor and Kate Ogborn, exec producers are Katherine Butler, Lisa Marie Russo, Peter Hampden and Norman Merry.
Hiddleston said he owed deep gratitude to Hebron for showing his first film in the festival nine years ago. Weisz, currently shooting in NYC, sent a VT message of thanks to Hebron and Davies for giving her the part in his film.
The last two weeks of the festival has seen a slew of red carpet events, masterclasses, panel discussions and more than 207 fiction films unspooling and more than 133,000 tickets sold across the capital.
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