After 10 days of bringing rich, diverse cinema from across the world to the UK, the BFI London Film Festival 2019 has come to a close – and the winners have been named among the films that screened in competition. The biggest prize of the festival, Best Film, went to Alejandro Landes’ Monos – a thriller about a group of child soldiers, drawing influence from Apocalypse Now and Lord Of The Flies, with a score from Under The Skin scorer Mica Levi. Also recognised with Special Commendations were Honey Boy – Alma Har’el’s film in which Shia LaBeouf dramatises his abusive upbringing as a fledgling child actor – and Rose Glass’s horror debut Saint Maud.
The Sutherland Award, for filmmakers presenting their first feature, went to Mati Diop for her debut Atlantics. Set in the Senegalese capital Dakar, the film follows 17-year-old Ada, who grieves for her lover Souleiman when he disappears in search of a new life one night, and her experience as she’s promised to marry another man. Recognised with a Special Commendation was Bora Kim’s Korean drama House Of Hummingbird.
Jav Censored The Grierson Award for documentaries went to White Riot – Rubika Shah’s film chronicling the Rock Against Racism movement in the mid-1970s, from its humble beginnings to a major concert in London’s Victoria Park where the likes of X-Ray Spex and The Clash played to huge crowds. The Short Film prize went to Soheil Amirsharifi for Fault Line (Gosal), a 15-minute piece about an Iranian schoolgirl.
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“Our awards highlight the most distinctive, urgent and accomplished filmmaking from around the globe and it has been an incredible Festival — with audiences moved, provoked and dazzled by these films, many of which engage with pressing social and political themes in very inventive ways,” says BFI London Film Festival Director Tricia Tuttle. “We are hugely grateful to our juries for their time this week in picking the award winners. I know the quality of the nominated films made many of the decisions very difficult and the juries brought a tremendous amount of passion, integrity and expertise to the deliberations.”