“Hallam Foe” took the top jury prize, the Golden Hitchcock, as well as the Kodak Prize for cinematography as the 18th British Film Festival came to a close Sunday in Dinard, France.
Directed by David Mackenzie, “Hallam Foe” portrays a young man’s struggle after his mother’s suicide.
Sarah Gavron’s “Brick Lane,” which explores the complexities of a young Bangladeshi woman’s life in 1980s London, took the Silver Hitchcock award, voted by local cinephiles. It also earned Abi Morgan the Grand Marnier jury award for screenplay.
A special jury mention went to John Carney’s “Once,” the winner of the Audience Award at the Sundance film festival earlier this year. While budgets were not the main criteria, jury members said they hoped their selections would give those films lacking financial backing a leg up.
“‘Hallam Foe’ I think was a difficult film to get off the ground, and the film has great originality and style,” said U.K. jury member and documaker Michael Grigsby.
In the case of “Once,” French thesp Josiane Balasko, the jury president, said she was surprised that the film did not have a Gallic distributor yet.
“You can follow the story very easily and it is very moving, and I am sure it will find a large public in France,” Balasko said.
As the only exclusively British film fest in Europe, screenings and awards at Dinard remain an important gateway into the French as well as other European markets, “Brick Lane” helmer Gavron told Daily Variety.
“Festivals like these and winning your awards become fantastically important,” Gavron said. “It all adds up to getting your film out there.”
“London to Brighton,” winner of the 2006 Golden Hitchcock, and “Almost Adult” were two from Dinard’s line-up last year that subsequently saw distribution in France.
“Almost all French movie distributors are here, and they come every year,” said Hussam Hindi, the Dinard fest’s artistic director. This year’s crop of films also reflected what Hindi thought was a refreshing change taking place in British films.
“The films this year are rather open, colorful and optimistic,” Hindi said. “Maybe it is the wish of some young directors to show something different than in the past and to turn the page.”