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BFI London Film Festival 2021 Awards
by Christine Riney

London is back! How exciting to be back in London, in the theaters watching some amazing movies with other excited film lovers. Although the waiting in line was also back and mask-wearing was still a thing, the thrill in the air was measurable: Particularly for that first red carpet and the stars coming out to enthrall us. The winners this year were perhaps not as expected but what has been in the world as of late.

The winners are…...

Best Film Award - HIT THE ROAD (2021)

First Feature Award - PLAYGROUND (2021)

The microcosm of the playground is seen through the eyes of a seven-year-old girl, Nora. “It’s an intimate film that everyone can identify with and connect with, and yet has a striking and singular voice, with a courageous commitment to its vision. It has a visceral ability to capture beautifully and clearly how we are shaped by our experiences, and through an insular setting shows us a microcosm for the human condition, laying bare the power dynamics of people. It left us wanting to see more from this bold, audacious filmmaker.” Isabel Sandoval, First Feature Competition president.

This film has made the rounds at the Film Festivals this year including Hamburg. Unfortunately, none of our AWCHamburg Film Critics managed to watch it to give us their opinion.

Documentary Award - BECOMING COUSTEAU (2021)

Chronicles the life of the explorer, environmentalist, and filmmaker Jacques Cousteau. “The film was a fascinating look at the life of Jacques Cousteau, but more importantly it highlights the most pressing issue of our time, Climate Change, and urges us all to take action now. He witnessed the devastation first hand, and this influenced his path to become a champion for the environment. He used his considerable influence, not only with his many followers but World leaders, to urge us as human beings to protect our planet.” Kim Longinotto, Documentary Competition president.

I remember watching Jacques Cousteau specials as a kid and being enthralled with what I saw: A truly inspiring person. We must all watch and take action for our future world.

Short Film Award - LOVE, DAD (2021)

Filmmaker Diana Cam Van Nguyen’s explores her personal experience navigating Vietnamese-Czech culture along with a difficult father daughter relationship. “An irresistible marrying of technical wizardry and emotional precision. It is a moving and exquisitely crafted piece of filmmaking.” Rose Glass, Short Film Competition president

This animated film keeps you interested throughout, a well-rounded short film that seems true to its aim, the difficulties with family relationships.

Audience Award - COSTA BRAVA, LEBANON (2021)

Mounia Akl’s cinematic debut impressed the ‘regular movie goers’, no judges just them voting for their favorite. This film is filled with family drama set on the backdrop of corruption in Beirut. It is very real, perhaps what motivated so many to vote for this feature.