London Film Festival Information

 

THE FESTIVAL FINALE:


JEFF Bridges and Kevin Spacey delighted film fans across London when they attended the screening of their new movie, K-Pax, to close this year's Regus London Film Festival. And the stars, who joined director Iain Softley, for the gala occasion, were equally pleased to have been asked to take part.

Softley, in particular, was thrilled, remarking that "the closing night’s a really prestigious night to have my film screened on" and noting: "There’s a real buzz about the
place – it’s really exciting.”

For Bridges, his visit to the capital marked the first time he had come to London since promoting The Fabulous Baker Boys 12 years ago, while Spacey was simply glad to be able to scotch rumours that he was one of several high profile Hollywood stars too afraid to come. “I’m extremely glad to be here, and contrary to reports I was not afraid to fly,” he commented.

On the subject of getting Spacey, director Softley also admitted that he had little trouble in persuading him to appear in the film, explaining: “Kevin Spacey was on board when I was asked to direct the picture and then we got Jeff Bridges and the rest of the cats very quickly. We had a great casting director and because the script was so good we had a lot of people queuing up to be in the film.”

As for the research done on the film, which finds Spacey as a man who believes himself to be an alien and Bridges as the psychiatrist charged with discovering the truth, the director was very thorough, explaining: “Right from the start we were very serious about our psychiatric research. We went to a number of mental hospitals in both New York and in LA. I went at first , then with the designer and then the cast.”

Bridges used a personal approach, confessing: “I’ve been to a few psychiatrists myself – as a patient, so I have some personal experience and I have a friend who is a doctor."

Spacey, however, took a more scientific route to understanding the mind of the character, saying: “You read as much material as you can for any role and for this role there was a lot about astronomy and also mental illness and psychiatry, so I did some reading and met with some psychologists and hypnosis experts."

Asked whether he tried hypnosis himself, the actor confessed that he hadn't: “I didn’t try it but I watched a lot of films about the subject. John Huston made an incredible documentary in World War II about soldiers that had suffered from watching their friends being killed. Many of them had suffered from this and perhaps couldn’t speak in a certain way or perhaps couldn’t use the letter ‘s’ for example.

" They put them through hypnosis and cured them – it was really incredible to see this because we all have a notion of what hypnosis is and what we can do. You can open your eyes and walk around a room; I always thought that you couldn’t move and had to close your eyes and yet it’s a more physical state than I imagined; so all of
this was very helpful."

Sutherland Trophy & FIPRESCI Awards Announced:
The closing night of the festival also saw the announcements of the FIPRESCI and the Sutherland Trophy award winner. BFI Chairman introduced FIPRECSI chair, Sandra Hall, who was delighted to present the fourth year of the awards.

“A special mention must go to the film, Secret Ballot but the winner goes to Bolivia, a film shot very cheaply in black and white about a woman working in Buenos Aries."


Next up was the Sutherland Trophy award, an award given by the BFI for the most original and imaginative first feature in the festival. Presenting the award was the Turner
Prize winner and designer of the festival, Wolfgang Tillmans, who revealed that Asif Kapidia was the winner for his film, The Warrior. He also gave a special mention to Todd Field’s In The Bedroom.

Kapidia was delighted to receive the award in his hometown, saying: “To even have a clip from my movie shown at the Empire Leicester Square is just mad! Even though my film is shot in India, this (London) is my hometown and to have this award presented to me where I used to hang around with my mates is just stupid!” he joked.

He also hoped that his family in Bombay would like it as they hadn’t seen it yet and didn’t want to build up their hopes too much with all the praise heaped upon it at the RLFF. He also thanked Irfan Kahn, the main actor in the film who gave a brilliant performance.

Joan Bakewell then finally announced the Satyajit Ray award, which went to Todd Field’s In The Bedroom.