Israeli films win at London Film Fest

Israeli films win at Lon

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October 29, 2009 06:17
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Israeli Yoav Shamir won the Grierson prize for documentary for "Defamation" [hashmatza], a look at anti-Semitism around the world, at the London Film Festival Wednesday evening. Another Israeli winner was "Ajami," co-directed by Palestinian Scandar Copti and Israeli Yaron Shani. The film won the Sutherland first-feature award. It is set in a mixed Jewish-Arab district of Jaffa. The prize for best picture was won by French prison drama "A Prophet." This was the first time the best-film prize was awarded. Jacques Audiard's thriller about a teenage prisoner's rise through the criminal ranks also took the second-place grand prize at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. Actress Anjelica Huston, one of the members of the London festival jury, called it "a perfect film ... an instant classic and a masterpiece." The jury also gave a special mention to "The Road," John Hillcoat's adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's post-apocalyptic novel. The 53-year-old London festival has introduced the best-picture prize this year as it tries to boost its profile to compete with better-known events in Berlin, Venice and Toronto. Jack Thorne, screenwriter of "The Scouting Book for Boys," won the award for best British newcomer. The announcement was made at a dinner ceremony in London. Also in the festival, veteran British actor John Hurt and Malian director Souleymane Cisse received lifetime achievement awards known as British Film Institute Fellowship. The two-week festival opened Oct. 14 with a gala premiere of Wes Anderson's animated adventure "Fantastic Mr. Fox," attended by voice stars George Clooney and Bill Murray. It closes Thursday with the world premiere of "Nowhere Boy," artist Sam Taylor-Wood's film about the young John Lennon.

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