Asthe London Film Festival closed last night with a screening of David O.Russell's I Heart Huckabees, the festival organisers were claiming thatthis has been the best attended LFF yet.
There were around 150 sell-outs and ticket sales, at over 102,000, were up 3% on last year's figures. LFF artistic director Sandra Hebron believes thisunderlines the 'hunger of audiences for non-mainstream fare' and theincreasing profile of the festival.
Over the past 16 days, the festival has screened over 180 features as well as 103 shorts. Many leading auteurs have passed through London. 'We've had a lot of high-calibre international directors -everybody from Jonathan Demme to Kore-eda and Wong Kar-Wai. The directorline-up has been pretty spectacular this year,' Hebron said.
The LFF's greatly expanded 'industry screenings'were also deemed a success. UK distributor Artificial Eye acquired two titlesduring the festival: Latin American comedy Whisky and French directorLucile Hadzihalilovic's Wedekind adaptation, Innocence.
Meanwhile, the ICA picked up (for exhibition only) ThomAndersen's documentary about the portrayal of LA on film, Los Angeles PlaysItself. The film opens in London on 10th December. Other titles reported tohave piqued the curiosity of UK buyers were Czech Dreams and.
Though a non-competitive event, the festival did have anumber of prizes to announce yesterday:
The 9th annual Satyajit Ray award for a first featurepremiered in the UK at the LFF went to Nicole Kassell for The Woodsman.The Ray Award Jury also made special mention of Joshua Marston's Maria FullOf Grace and Gatson Biraben's Captive.
The Sutherland Trophy, awarded to the 'most originaland imaginative' first feature film screened at the Festival, went toJonathan Caouette for his micro-budget Tarnation.
The Firpresci International Critics' prize was won bysurrealist Belgian comedy, Aaltra, directed by Gustave Kervern andBenoit Delepine.
The UK Film Talent Award went to Amma Assante for A WayOf Life.
The TCM Short Film Award was won by Harry Wootliff for Nits.