JOY directed by Sudabeh Mortezai
JOY directed by Sudabeh Mortezai

Sudabeh Mortezai’s Joy, the award-winning film that that tackles the vicious cycle of sex trafficking in modern Europe is the winner of the Best Film Award at this year’s 62nd BFI London Film Festival.  Other winners include Lukas Dhont’s feature debut, Girl won the First Feature Competition – Sutherland Award, and What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire? by Roberto Minervini won for Best Documentary.

Tricia Tuttle, BFI London Film Festival Artistic Director said: “The 2018 LFF Awards nominations demonstrate the vibrancy of global filmmaking and I’m delighted for the winning filmmakers who have triumphed at the 62nd BFI London Film Festival. After much jury deliberation, our wonderful juries have selected four extraordinary films which encourage dialogue and understanding around issues of race, class, gender and sexuality. I applaud Sudabeh, Lukas, Roberto and Charlie for their boldly distinctive work and hope that our awards can help focus even more attention from UK and global audiences on their truly deserving films. For the first time, we’ve also placed audiences at the very heart of the awards celebration and I’m thrilled to be presenting the winners to packed houses of adventurous filmgoers.”

62nd BFI London Film Festival Award Winners

JOY – Sudabeh Mortezai, Official Competition (Best Film Award)
Winner of both the first ever Hearst Film Award 2018 for Best Female Direction and the 2018 Europa Cinemas Label at the 75th Venice International Film Festival, Sudabeh Mortezai (whose debut feature Macondo competed for the LFF’s Sutherland Award in 2014), presents a vital and hugely affecting drama that tackles the vicious cycle of sex trafficking in modern Europe. It follows the life of Joy, a young Nigerian woman, who works the streets to pay off debts to her exploiter Madame, while supporting her family in Nigeria and hoping for a better life for her young daughter in Vienna.

GIRL – Lukas Dhont, First Feature Competition (Sutherland Award)
Lukas Dhont’s (Headlong, Boys on Film X) feature debut was also bestowed with the coveted Camera d’Or and Queer Palm at the Cannes Film Festival, and has been selected as the Belgian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards. GIRL is the story of Lara, a transgender teenager who dreams of becoming a ballet dancer in this extraordinary coming-of-age story. Lukas Dhont’s richly empathetic and beautifully realised film sensitively explores Lara’s complex inner emotions, expressing so much even when she herself cannot quite find the words.

WHAT YOU GONNA DO WHEN THE WORLD’S ON FIRE? – Roberto Minervini, Documentary Competition (Grierson Award)
Selected for the main competition section of the 75th Venice International Film Festival, Roberto Minervini’s (The Other Side, Stop The Pounding Heart) thought-provoking and all-too-relevant documentary follows a Louisiana community during the summer of 2017, in the aftermath of a string of brutal police shootings of black men that sent shockwaves throughout the country. A meditation on the state of race in America, this film is an intimate portrait of the lives of those who struggle for justice, dignity, and survival in a country not on their side.

LASTING MARKS – Charlie Lyne, Short Film Competition (Short Film Award)
Charlie Lyne’s short documentary (Beyond Clueless, Fear Itself) charts the story of sixteen men put on trial for sadomasochism in the dying days of Thatcher’s Britain. Men with shared sexual desires, lucky to have found each other, yet unfortunate to be considered criminal for expressing them.

Rungano Nyoni, Short Film Competition President stated: “In a strong and diverse Shorts selection, Charlie Lyne’s LASTING MARKS fascinated us all by resurrecting forgotten history. Uniquely presented as a slideshow of court documents and organised via an oral history by the prosecuted Roland Jaggard, Lyne recounts the story of a group of men put on trial for sadomasochism in the 1980s. A must-watch.“

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