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Winners announced for 53rd London Film Festival

October 28, 2009 |  8:08 pm


Jacques Audiard's "A Prophet" took top honors at the Times BFI 53rd London Film Festival. Jury co-chair Anjelica Huston presented the Star of London for Best Film to the French thriller, which took second-place grand prize at the Cannes Film Festival this year, citing its "purity of vision and clarity of purpose." John Hillcoat's apocalypse drama "The Road" also received honorable mention. Both Best Film awards were the first for the venerable festival, whose organizers hope to boost its profile on the global award circuit.

Other winners announced Wednesday included Jack Thorne, who claimed another first-time award -- best British newcomer -- for his script for "The Scouting Book for Boys," while Palestinian filmmaker Scandar Copti and Israeli director Yaron Shani took the Sutherland Award for most original and imaginative first feature for "Ajami," which takes place in a Jewish-Arab neighborhood. The Middle East was also the focus of the Grierson Award for best documentary, which  went to Yoav Shamir for "Defamation," his exploration of anti-Semitism around the world. And BFI Fellowships -- the British Film Institute's equivalent of a lifetime achievement award -- were given to actor John Hurt and Malian filmmaker Souleymane Cisse for  contributions to their respective fields. 

The London Film Festival concludes Oct. 29 with the world premiere of Sam Taylor-Wood's "Nowhere Boy," about the young John Lennon.

-- Paul Gaita

Photo: Scene from "A Prophet." Credit: Optimum Releasing.