The 60th BFI London Film Festival is just around the corner, so what better time to look back to last year’s award winners. The London Film Festival is organised by the British Film Institute and get its annual event sponsored by American Express. Last year’s award ceremony took place at the stunning Banqueting House in Whitehall and was hosted by the musician and broadcaster Jarvis Cocker. There are 5 main categories which are Best Film, Best First Feature, Best Documentary, Best Short Film and Fellowship.

Main Competition Winner – Chevalier by Athina Rachel Tsangari

The overall winner of the BFI London Film Festival Award was Athina Rachel Tsangari with her film ‘Chevalier’. It tells the story of six men on a fishing trip who decide to play a game, friends become rivals and at the end only the best man wins.

Pawel Pawlikowski, who won the award in 2013, said “Chevalier is a study of male antagonism seen through the eyes of a brave and original filmmaker. With great formal rigour and irresistible wit, Athina Rachel Tsangari has managed to make a film that is both a hilarious comedy and a deeply disturbing statement on the condition of western humanity”.

Best First Feature – The Witch by Robert Eggers

The Best First Feature is awarded to those who direct the most original and imaginative first piece of their career. The 2015 winner was Robert Eggers with his achievement ‘The Witch’, which takes place in the 17th Century in New England. The film shows how a family is being torn apart by the suspicion of witchcraft and possession.

Desiree Akhavan who had won the award in 2014, said “This year’s Sutherland Award nominees were a bold group of beautifully crafted first features. Of the nominated films, one stood apart as the announcement of a new voice in contemporary cinema. A horror film that felt as though it were reinventing the genre with each frame and truly shocking moments that evoke both terror and empathy. With an impressive command of cameras as well as truly heartbreaking performances — it presented a fresh, feminist take on a timeless tale”


Best Documentary Film – Sherpa by Jennifer Peedom

Jennifer Peedom produced a gripping and excellent documentary on the tragedies on the Mount Everest, which had won her the award for the best Documentary Film.

The jury said: “We are taken into the lives, homes and families of the Sherpas, who have for too long been overlooked and exploited, dependent for their livelihoods on an increasing number of tourists who sometimes regard them as little more than owned slaves. We’re left with an appreciation of the sacrifices the Sherpa community have made for over 6 decades. We applaud this impressive film for giving voice to a previously voiceless community, and we hope it reaches the wide, general audience that it deserves”.

Best Short Film – An Old Dog’s Diary by Shai Heredia and Shumona Goel

This category recognises the importance of short films and awards the individual who has a unique cinematic voice and a striking theme and content. The winning duo were Shai Heredia and Shumona Goel. Their 11 minute film describes the life of a avant-garde painter and reveals his cultural conditions regarding his work.


Daisy Jacob, jury president said: “An Old Dog’s Diary is as poetic and soulful as its subject. It offers a fresh and original way of documenting the life of an artist. It looks beautiful, sounds beautiful, but, more than that, it tells us about the beauty of the human spirit.”


BFI Fellowship – Cate Blanchett

The BFI Fellowship is awarded to individuals only because of their outstanding contribution to the film or television culture. Previous winners in the past included Tim Burton, Mel Brooks and Hugh Grant.

The 2015 winner was Cate Blanchett who is an australian actress and theatre director, she is most known for her part as Galadriel in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The award was presented to her by her close friend and also co-star Ian McKellen.


This year’s submissions are now closed and their event will take place from the 5th-16th of October.


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