In what we are sure will be the first of many, 360 producer Andrew Eaton paid tribute to outgoing artistic director Sandra Hebron at the opening gala of the London Film Festival last night.

“Anyone here will agree that she has transformed the festival during the time she has been director,” said Eaton, who referred to Hebron’s “passion and commitment in a business which can be cynical and brutal.”

Hebron, who leaves her post as artistic director after a decade, remained surprisingly calm as she delivered her last opening night speech although she did admit that it was “always exciting and nerve wracking as we come to the end of months of preparation.”

She spoke ahead of opening night gala screening of Fernando Meirelles’ 360 which took place at the Odeon Leicester Square, despite heavy construction work. Director Meirelles told the packed auditorium that he was “quite shocked to be opening the festival for a second time,” after his drama The Constant Gardener in 2005.

Jude Law (who looked like he had come straight from the set of Sherlock Holmes 2 in a Dr Watson style hat, or else he was cleverly promoting the film), was joined on stage by international cast members Moritz Bleibtreu, Johannes Krisch Gabriela Marcinkova and Lucia Siposova, although Anthony Hopkins and Rachel Weisz were notable in their absense.