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Having foregone the usual festival jury and main competition as part of its hybrid, coronavirus-impacted 2020 edition, the BFI London Film Festival came to close on Sunday with its awards in the hands of the audience.
With all contemporary films presented virtually being eligible, it was Another Round, Thomas Vinterberg’s ode to alcohol starring Mads Mikkelsen, that earned the biggest cheers after winning best film.
“Thank you to the audience at the London Film Festival for bringing this award to us,” said Vinterberg in a virtual ceremony. “We are very proud to receive this from a British audience; it’s a great honour. We are so sad that we can’t be there.”
Elsewhere, best documentary went to Benjamin Lee’s The Painter and the Thief, detailing the unusual bond between a Czech painter and the Norwegian man who stole two of her works.
“Thank you so much BFI London Film Festival and to all the people who have voted for the film; it’s a great honour for us to win this prestigious award,” said Lee. “There’s two people I would like to especially thank and that’s Barbora Kysilkova and Karl-Bertil Nordland, the two main subjects of the film. The way Barbora approached Karl-Bertil at the trial, when he had stolen two of her most valuable paintings, was so moving to hear and that’s the reason I wanted to make this film.”
Also on the night, Tommy Gillard won best short film for Shuttlecock, while To Miss the Ending from Anna West and David Callanan won best XR/immersive art.
Also announced on Sunday was the winner of the £50,000 ($65,000) IWC Schaffhausen filmmaker bursary, which was awarded to Wildfire director Cathy Brady by a panel led by Michaela Coel.
“Wildfire is a compelling story, expertly told and unlike anything we had seen in U.K. filmmaking before,” said Coel. “Cathy weaves an emotionally rich, intimate story of two sisters elegantly framed against a wider, politically charged backdrop, she says so much without saying very much at all. Great films make you think and jolt you out of your comfort zone, in the very best way Wildfire was deliciously uncomfortable!”
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