The 57th BFI London Film Festival has come to a close. The festival ran from October 9th – 20th and featured plenty of premiers for British audiences. While most film critics and fans were shouting their collective opinions on the Closing Night premier of Saving Mr. Banks, the festival announced the winners. This year, the top honors went to Pawel Pawlikowski‘s Ida, a film that follows a Roman Catholic nun in Poland that tries to discover what happened to her parents when the Nazi’s were in power.
Film critic Philip French announced the award, proclaiming “The jury greatly admired ‘Ida,’ the first film made in his native Poland by a director who came to prominence while living in Britain. We were deeply moved by a courageous film that handles, with subtlety and insight, a painfully controversial historical situation — the German occupation and the Holocaust — which continues to resonate. Special praise went to his use of immersive visual language to create a lasting emotional impact.”
Ida previously won the International Critics’ Prize (FIPRESCI Prize) in Toronto and was snatched up for US release by Music Box. They are planning a winter/spring North American festival run followed by a second quarter 2014 theatrical release.
Other winners included Best British Newcomer, which went to Jonathan Asser, as the screenwriter for Starred Up; The Sutherland Award for First Feature went to Anthony Chen, director of Ilo Ilo; The Best Documentary Prize known as The Griersons Award, went to My Fathers, My Mother and Me; and finally, The BFI Fellowship Award went to Sir Christopher Lee.