56th BFI London Film Festival

Royalty from the worlds of both film and music saw their names up in lights this month as the 56th annual BFI London Film Festival rolled into town.

Kicking-off the first night was the latest offering from director Tim Burton, animated comedy-horror Frankenweenie. Ironically enough, the festival’s final night was rounded-off in some style by the latest big-screen version of Charles DickensGreat Expectations, which co-stars Burton’s other half Helena Bonham-Carter.

There was also a surprise package sandwiched in-between, with the world premiere of Crossfire Hurricane, a documentary charting the life of the Rolling Stones. It was a fitting way for the movie industry to join in the band’s 50th anniversary celebrations, with the film taking its title from a lyric in one of the Stones’ biggest hits, Jumping Jack Flash. Naturally this drew plenty of interest from the world of rock n’ roll, with Liam Gallagher among the celebrities taking time out to sneak a peek. Other stars who graced the 12-day extravaganza with their presence included Bill Murray and Dustin Hoffman, while Salman Rushdie was on hand to give a talk about the adaptation of his novel Midnight’s Children.

One more mention must go to Mr and Mrs Burton, as both were recipients of BFI Fellowships. The coveted Sutherland Trophy went to Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild, with Alex Gibney’s Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God collecting the Grierson Award for best documentary. As for home-grown talent, Sally El Hosaini was named the Best British Newcomer as the director and screenwriter of My Brother the Devil, but it was Frenchman Jacques Audiard’s Rust and Bone that scooped the big prize for Best Film.

London has been a hive of activity in 2012 and, as the festival deonstrated, this fair city is not done yet. October 10th-21st showed that the Olympic spirit is not just confined to the world of sport.

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