‘Red Road’ wins London fest prize

'Babel' closes 50th edition of British event

LONDON — Andrea Arnold’s “Red Road” has been awarded the BFI Sutherland Trophy for the most original and imaginative debut feature screened at the London Film Festival.

The fest closed Nov. 2 with a gala screening of “Babel,” at which Arnold was presented with her prize.

Sandra Hebron, the fest’s artistic director, said, “One of the most striking British feature debuts in years, ‘Red Road’ is an assured, multilayered slice of poetic realism.”

In its citation, the Sutherland jury said, “The subtle innovation, the sheer courage with storytelling and the kind of attention to detail which makes a story resonate on an astounding range of levels resulted in massive support for this beautiful debut feature.”

“Red Road,” the story of a bereaved operator of surveillance cameras in Glasgow who gets sucked into a dangerous relationship with a man from her past, had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, where it won the grand jury prize.

The Alfred Dunhill U.K. film talent kudos, which recognizes the achievements of new and emerging British writers, directors and producers, was awarded to Mark Herbert, producer of the Shane Meadows-helmed “This Is England,” an arresting portrayal of the radicalization of disaffected skinhead gangs by the far right in 1980s Britain. The pic was a firm fest fave with U.K. critics.

The Satyajit Ray award for debut feature making its U.K. bow went to Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck for “The Lives of Others,” a bleak portrayal of life under communism in East Germany.

Javier Rebollo, director of “Lola,” picked up the Fipresci prize. Rebollo’s study of a Parisian loner who becomes increasingly obsessed with his new Spanish neighbor toplines Lola Duenas (“Volver”) as the flirtatious girl next door.

The Times BFI LFF Grierson awarded to the best feature-length doc in the fest was awarded to Lauren Greenfield for “Thin,” an examination of four women’s struggles to deal with eating disorders.

The Turner Classic Movies short film award was dished out to Chris Shepherd’s “Silence is Golden” at a separate kudos bash at the National Film Theatre on Nov. 1. The short was selected from more than 340 entries by a judging panel of film industry heavyweights, including Pierce Bros-nan, Terry Gilliam, Richard E. Grant, Imelda Staunton, Stephen Poliakoff and Matthew Modine.

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