59TH BFI LONDON FILM FESTIVAL DRAWS A STELLAR YEAR TO A CLOSE

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The 59th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express®, closed with the European Premiere of STEVE JOBS, and announced 157,000 attendances across film screenings and events, and an additional UK-Wide audience of over 10,000.

Festival Director, Clare Stewart said: “I’m very proud of what we achieved with this 59th edition of the Festival. We have had terrific filmmakers in attendance and generated significant profile for films in selection which have moved, challenged and inspired audiences. Importantly, the Festival has been rich and memorable in amplifying the focus on gender equality and diversity in the film industry at the same time as stimulating discussion about how film connects with broader creative industries. We approach the 60th edition in great shape and excited about what the future holds for filmmaking and the Festival.”

Red carpet attendees included: The Opening Night Gala of SUFFRAGETTE was attended by cast Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne-Marie Duff, Brendan Gleeson, Ben Whishaw, Romola Garai, Meryl Streep and Samuel West – the Closing Night Gala of STEVE JOBS was attended by cast Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Jeff Daniels, Michael Stuhlbarg and Katherine Waterson – other acting talent attending the Festival red carpets included for A BIGGER SPLASH Ralph Fiennes – for BLACK MASS Johnny Depp, Benedict Cumberbatch – for BROOKLYN Saoirse Ronan, Emory Cohen – for CAROL Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara – for HIGH-RISE Tom Hiddleston, Sienna Miller, Elizabeth Moss, James Purefoy, Peter Ferdinando, Enzo Cilenti, Augustus Prew, Stacy Martin – for THE IDOL Mohammed Assaf – for THE LADY IN THE VAN Maggie Smith, Alex Jennings, Alan Bennett – for THE LOBSTER Rachel Weisz, Colin Farrell, Ben Whishaw, Olivia Colman, Ariane Labed, Michael Smiley – for THE PROGRAM Ben Foster, Chris O’Dowd – for ROOM Brie Larson – for SUNSET SONG Agness Deyn, Peter Mullan – for TRUMBO Bryan Cranston, Helen Mirren, John Goodman, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje – for TRUTH Cate Blanchett, Topher Grace, and for YOUTH Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, Paul Dano, Paloma Faith

Directors attending Galas, Special Presentations and films in Official Competition included: Lenny Abrahamson, Hany Abu-Assad, Sean Baker, Mir-Jean Bou Chaaya, Danny Boyle, Esther May Campbell, Scott Cooper, John Crowley, Jonás Cuarón, Terence Davies, Stephen Frears, Cary Fukanaga, Sarah Gavron, Luca Guadagnino, Davis Guggenheim, Lucile Hadžihalilović, Todd Haynes, Nicholas Hytner, Yorgos Lanthimos, Guy Maddin, Deepa Mehta, László Nemes, Jerzy Skolimowski, Simon Stone, Ondi Timoner, Johnnie To, Athina Rachel Tsangari, James Vanderbilt, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Ben Wheatley and S. Graig Zahler – they were among the 743 directors and filmmakers presenting their work across the LFF programme over half of which came from international territories.

At the annual BFI London Film Festival Award last night the LFF competition winners announced were:

CHEVALIER – Athina Rachel Tsangari, won Best Film Award

The Witch – Robert Eggers, won Sutherland Award (Best First Feature)

SHERPA – Jennifer Peedom, won Grierson Award (Best Documentary)

AN OLD DOG’S DIARY – Shai Heredia and Shumona Goel, won Best Short Film Award

In a year when the Festival focused attention on women in film, three of the 4 awards comprising the LFF competition sections were won by films directed by women.

This year the BFI Fellowship was received by Academy Award®-winning actress Cate Blanchett, and presented by Ian McKellen, the Fellowship is the highest accolade the BFI can bestow.

Declared as the year of the strong woman, LFF 2015 welcomed Academy Award®-winning actor and advocate Geena Davis who delivered the Keynote address at the Global Symposium on Gender in Media, hosted by the LFF in collaboration with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and Women in Film and Television (WFTV).

Insightful Screen Talks were given by international leading lights of film including celebrated directors, actors and industry professionals: Geena Davis, Walter Salles & Jia Zhangke, Saoirse Ronan, Laura Rosenthal, Todd Haynes and Paolo Sorrentino.

This year’s new LFF Connects series of thought-provoking high-impact talks exploring the future of film and how film engages with other creative industries featured the innovative iconoclasts: Christopher Nolan and Tacita Dean for LFF Connects: Film – Guy Maddin for LFF Connects: Art Louis Theroux with Simon Chinn for LFF Connects: TV – Chris Milk for LFF Connects: Creative Technologies – Alistair Hope for LFF Connects: Games and Laurie Anderson for LFF Connects: Performance/Music.

Over 10,000 people across the UK attended simultaneous screenings of Opening Night film SUFFRAGETTE and the Closing Night film STEVE JOBS, as part of the Festival’s ongoing commitment to put the UK audience at the heart of the Festival-going experience. While the Opening Night red carpet action live streamed online, was viewed by over 6,000 fans.

The Surprise Film was the highly anticipated ANOMALISA from co-directors Duke Johnson and Charlie Kaufman who attended an audience Q+A with actor David Thewlis.

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