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British success at Cannes 2015

  • Amy

Asif Kapadia's Amy was a triumphant and emotional 'Midnight Screening'

May 2015

UK productions and co-productions performed well at Cannes 2015, pulling in awards and five-star reviews.

As the dust settled on another frenetic Cannes Film Festival,  the sunshine faded and the drama of 'heelgate' became a distant memory, the winners and losers have finally been revealed.

Fyzal Boulifa’s short film Rate Me won the Illy short film prize in Directors Fortnight. Read our spotlight on Fyzal here. (Fyzal’s trip to Cannes was supported by the joint BFI/British Council Short Support Travel Grants Scheme).

In the main competition, UK co-production The Lobster by Yorgos Lanthimos won the jury prize, and Rooney Mara shared the best actress award for her role in Carol by Todd Haynes (another UK co-production).

Asif Kapadia’s Amy, a documentary about Amy Winehouse, was one of the best-reviewed films of the festival. The Guardian’s five-star review said it was a “tragic masterpiece” and “stunningly moving and powerful: intimate, passionate, often shocking, and almost mesmerically absorbing.” Indiewire wrote that the film “is an extraordinary, powerful work.”

Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth starring Michael Fassbender also won some rave reviews - The Telegraph’s five-star review says, “Fassbender was born for this.” Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth inspired Variety to write, “Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel bring lifetimes of depth to Paolo Sorrentino’s most tender film yet.”

There was good news in the marketplace too, as Film London and India’s Cinestaan Film Company announced more details for Film London Microwave International: Shakespeare India, which British Council also supports. The scheme will offer writers, producers and directors the chance to hone their skills while receiving an intensive programme of training, professional mentoring and advice on issues ranging from financing through to distribution. The scheme will partner promising Asian talent from the UK and India, who will attend a British Council-funded Microschool in Mumbai. The teams will be mentored by leading industry professionals, and, with Indian and UK production finance, the ambition is to award one filmmaking team up to £500,000 to produce a feature for worldwide release.

Creative England, BBC Films, BFI and Creative Skillset's iFeatures scheme announced its latest three greenlights - and we’re thrilled to report that the British Council Film team’s own Rachel Robey will be producing Hope Dickson Leach’s The Levelling.

British Council presented a panel at the UK Film Centre about festival strategies (read a roundup here) and hosted a mixer to introduce international festival programmers to rising British talents who have projects for the 2015-2016 season.

The other British films to screen in Cannes included Steve McQueen: The Man & Le Mans in Cannes Classics; Love Is Blind by Dan Hodgson and Patriot by Eva Riley in the Short Film Competition, and MANoMAN by Simon Cartwright of the National Film and Television School in the Cinefondation selection.

The UK Film Centre hosted many expert talks about the making of Brooklyn, The Lobster and Carol; Scottish talents; the challenges of a second film; film financing relationships; the UK working with international partners; trends in distribution; sustainable filmmaking; and working with sales agents. Check out the video recaps of the talks here

If you weren’t in Cannes to pick up a hard copy, you can catch up with our new UK Film catalogue in pdf format here.