BFI Luminous Celebrates Cinema, Tilda Swinton Presents Filmmakers Awards

A week before the London Film Festival kicks off, the British Film Institute has brought together UK film giants to toast the return of cinema-goers and celebrate the next generation of filmmakers.

BFI’s Luminous Gala was held at the luxurious Londoner Hotel in Leicester Square on Thursday evening (September 29), where diverse He had exclusive access. The event, which also marked the inaugural BFI and Chanel Filmmaker Awards, was a semi-annual gala, but was the first since the pandemic.

The star-studded dinner was attended by about 400 guests, including actors Daisy Ridley, Nkoti Gatwa, Morvid Clarke, Rebel Wilson, Lily James, Malachi Kirby, Dame Joan Collins, and Eddie Redmayne. Directors Edgar Wright, Gurinder Chadha, Steve McQueen, Terry Gilliam; and producers including Working Title co-founder Eric Fellner, screenwriter Jemima Khan, and former BBC Drama Commissioner-turned-International Head of A24, Piers Wenger.

Tim Richards, BFI Chairman and CEO, European cinema giant Vue Cinemas, kicked off the proceedings with a massive crowd for cinemas. “We’re back for revenge,” Richards declared. “The pandemic has been very difficult, but the industry has survived and the masses have returned, at times, in record numbers.”

However, the cute Canadian CEO, who will celebrate his two years as Chairman of the Board in February, also highlighted the challenges facing the show, such as the fact that the number of films released in 2022 is 37% less than in 2019, as well as a decline in the number of films being released in 2022. Offer at 30%. Desk. “Now, it’s not because of the masses; that’s because we need the films, and we need smaller films – those smaller British films and independent films,” Richards said.

Wearing Chanel costumes, Tilda Swinton also banged the drum for the indie film and described herself as a “BFI baby”: you were sure your movie would be a commercial success, it was BFI that gave film artists eager to experiment, push shape and grow new cinema audiences. , and support. Not for a specific project that can be counted and generate profits, but for the development of the voice of this nascent and unique artist over several years.”

Swinton chaired the Filmmakers Awards jury, which also included British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful, Le Cinéma Club founder Marie-Louise Khundji, and BFI CEO Ben Roberts. The latter joined Swinton on stage to present awards and cash prizes to four emerging filmmakers.

The awardees, shortened from a shortlist of seven, are “Queen of Glory” artist, director and producer Pav Akoto. Catherine Ferguson, director and co-writer of Sinead O’Connor’s documentary Nothing Compares; Sam Firth, director and producer of The Wolf Suit; and Irfan Saadati, director and producer of the VR documentary drama Child of the Empire. Each received a prize of 20,000 pounds ($22,100).

According to the award’s producers, the quartet was chosen for its “creative audacity and ambition to explore a new dynamic in its practice”. The awards are aimed at underrepresented voices in the industry.

Akuto, a former television director at the BBC and Channel 4, said: diverse That desire to take the author’s path and work with different media and forms of motion picture is what “motivated me to move away from television in developing my own material and work in different formats such as virtual reality and augmented reality and eventually making art pieces and exhibition.” He is currently developing his next feature film” Etta and Lotus”.

Meanwhile, Ferguson premiered her first feature-length project, Nothing Compares, at Sundance in January. The film was purchased by The Kapler Showtime, where it will be shown soon. Growing up in Northern Ireland in the 80s and 90s, the director became a “big fan” of O’Connor as a teenager. “I was frustrated to see how I was treated when I spoke. This affected me greatly as a young Irish teenager. This was a story I carried with me for many decades.”

“The Wolf Suit” maid Firth, whose documentary aims to expose conflicting accounts of her parents’ separation, says everything she does is “really personal.”

“I use my own experiences,” says Frith, who lives in the highlands. “I’m interested in how we create stories and build our sense of ourselves through stories.”

Elsewhere, Saadati’s virtual reality project focused on the partition of India in 1947, which led to the creation of Pakistan. The Iranian-Romanian filmmaker, who describes himself as a multidisciplinary artist, says the project unites “survivors, one from each side of the border, back on their journey.”

What does the “Creative Audacity” award theme mean to Saadati? “For me, every story that is received has to have a piece of you, so being honest not just with the audience, but with the movie — getting yourself out there takes a lot of courage,” he says.

The ceremony was followed by a lively BFI fundraising auction, as well as a two-minute live performance by Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker and his band. The event, which sent guests home with Chanel gift bags, was a perfect – and hopefully annual – harbinger of the London Film Festival, which is set to enjoy one of its strongest editions in recent years.

KJ Yossman contributed to this report.


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