67th BFI LFF announces 2023 competition juries

Sep 20, 2023
(Credit: Edmund Sumner/BFI)

The 67th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express announces its jury line-up for this year’s Festival Awards.

The Official Competition jury is led by acclaimed Mexican film director, producer and screenwriter Amat Escalante, winner of the Best Director prize at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival for Heli, and the Silver Lion for Best Director for The Untamed (Venice Film Festival 2016). His latest feature, Lost in the Night, is playing in the Thrill Strand of this year’s BFI London Film Festival. The First Feature Competition (Sutherland Award) jury will be headed up by British director Raine Allen-Miller whose universally praised directorial debut Rye Lane, was a breakthrough hit earlier this year. Award-winning writer-director and BAFTA Breakthrough recipient Rubika Shah will lead the jury selecting the winner of the Grierson Award for Best Documentary, after winning the award in 2019 for her film White Riot. The list is rounded off by BAFTA nominated and 2020 Screen International Star of Tomorrow writer and director Charlotte Regan, whose debut feature Scrapper had its world premiere at Sundance 2023 where it went on to win the World Dramatic Grand Jury Prize. She will lead the jury selecting the best short film.

The BFI London Film Festival Awards are a celebration of the most exciting, innovative new films and cinematic storytelling. Creative, beautiful and often provocative, the nominees showcase an incredible range of talent from across the world.

Kristy Matheson, BFI London Film Festival Director, said: I’m honoured to have such esteemed filmmakers, curators and industry leaders join us in London this year and look forward to the unique perspective that each jury member will bring to the films in competition.


Amat Escalante, Official Competition Jury President said: “It is an honour and a privilege to be able to escape to London and see this beautiful and exciting selection of new films from around the world along with my fellow jury members. As a filmmaker that has been selected and attended the BFI London Film Festival before, I am aware of the high quality and adventurous selection standards that the festival is known for and that makes it even more important and special to be presented with this invitation.”

Escalante is joined this year by: Programme Director of the 2023 Edinburgh International Film Festival, Kate Taylor and English Novelist Niven Govinden (Diary of a Film).

The Best Film Award recognises inspiring, inventive and distinctive filmmaking. The Official Competition films are:  

BALTIMORE (Ireland-UK, dir.-scr. Christine Molloy, Joe Lawlor)
DEAR JASSI (India, dir. Tarsem Singh Dhandwar)
EUROPA (Austria-UK, dir.-scr. Sudabeh Mortezai)
EVIL DOES NOT EXIST (Japan, dir.-scr. Ryusuke Hamaguchi)
FINGERNAILS (USA, dir. Christos Nikou)  ??
GASOLINE RAINBOW (USA, dir.-scr. Bill Ross IV, Turner Ross)
I AM SIRAT (Canada, A Collaboration Between Deepa Mehta and Sirat Taneja)   ???
THE ROYAL HOTEL (Australia, dir. Kitty Green)
SELF PORTRAIT: 47 KM 2020 (China, dir. Zhang Mengqi)
STARVE ACRE (UK, dir.-scr. Daniel Kokotajilo)
TOGETHER 99 (Sweden-Denmark, dir.-scr. Lukas Moodyson)​


Raine Allen-Miller, First Feature Competition Jury President said: A prize like the Sutherland, that is all about celebrating and championing the bold and brave is something I am honoured and quite frankly jumping up and down on the spot to be part of.

Alongside Allen-Miller will be: Festival Director of International Film Festival Rotterdam Vanja Kaludjercic and accomplished musician, composer, filmmaker and photographer Barry Adamson.

The Sutherland Award recognises the most original and imaginative directorial debut. Introduced in 1958 and named in honour of BFI Patron George Sutherland Leveson-Gower. This year’s nominated directors are:

BLACK DOG (UK, dir. George Jaques)
EARTH MAMA (USA-UK, dir.-scr. Savanah Leaf)
HOARD (UK, dir.-scr. Luna Carmoon)
IN CAMERA (UK, dir.-scr. Naqqash Khalid)
MAMBAR PIERRETTE (Belgium-Cameroon, dir.-scr. Rosine Mbakam)
PARADISE IS BURNING (Sweden-Italy-Denmark-Finland, dir. Mika Gustafson)
PENA CORDILLERA (Chile-Brazil, dir.-scr. Felipe Carmona)
THE QUEEN OF MY DREAMS (Canada, dir.-scr. Fawzia Mirza)
SKY PEALS (UK, dir.-scr. Moin Hussain)
TIGER STRIPES (Malaysia-Taiwan-Singapore-France-Germany-Netherlands-Indonesia-Qatar, dir.-scr. Amanda Nell Eu)
TUESDAY (UK-USA, dir.-scr. Daina O. Pusić)


Rubika Shah, Documentary Competition President said: ” I am honoured and super excited to be back at LFF, to preside over the Grierson Jury. Winning the Grierson Award, a few years back, was a huge career highlight. I look forward to getting stuck into watching films with my fellow jurors.”

Joining Shah on the jury this year is: award-winning documentary filmmaker Jeanie Finlay, whose credits include BIFA & Grierson nominated The Great Hip Hop Hoax and Emmy nominated Game of Thrones: The Last Watch and The Imposter along with Australian film industry veteran Paul Tonta who is currently General Manager Theatrical Acquisitions and Film Festivals at Madman Entertainment.

The Grierson Award recognises feature-length documentaries with integrity, originality and social or cultural significance. The selected documentaries this year are:  ??

BYE BYE TIBERIAS – (dir-scr. Lina Soualem)
CELLULOID UNDERGROUND – (dir. Ehsan Khoshbakht)
CHASING CHASING AMY – (dir. Sav Rodgers)
A COMMON SEQUENCE – (dir. Mary Helena Clark and Mike Gibisser)
THE KLEZMER PROJECT – (dir-scr. Leandro Koch, Paloma Schachmann)
QUEENDOM – (dir. Agniia Galdanova)
THE TASTE OF MANGO –  (dir. Chloe Abrahams)

Charlotte Regan, Short Film Competition President comments: “I think short films are the hardest format to tell a story. You have such a short window to make people connect and engage. So I’m so so hyped about getting to no doubt watch some brilliant ones and be a part of the LFF jury this year. Every year I’m proper amazed by the work that comes out of the programmes, so the day of judging is going to be the nicest work day ever.”

Joining Regan will be: BFI Film Academy Young Programmer Francesca Tomlinson, who assists with the programming of the Future Film Festival and conducting live interviews for the BFI Film Academy and Rina Yang director of photography working across film, TV commercials and music videos whose credits include Euphoria for A24/HBO, Flint Strong for MGM, O’dessa for Searchlight pictures and the award winning Anti-Hero music video for Taylor Swift.

The Short Film Award recognises short form works that speak with a unique cinematic voice, demonstrating a confident handling of theme and content. The nominated films this year are:

THE ARCHIVE: QUEER NIGERIANS (UK, dir. Simisolaoluwa Akande)
AREA BOY (UK, dir. Iggy London)
BOAT PEOPLE (Canada, dir. Thao Lam, Kjell Boersma)
ESSEX GIRLS (UK, dir. Yero Timi-Biu)
THE GOOSE’S EXCUSE (Egypt-UK, dir. Mahdy Abo Bahat)
KHABUR (Germany-Iran, dir. Nafis Fathollahzadeh)
ONSET (UK-Poland, dir. Anna Engelhardt, Mark Cinkevich)
THE SINGER (UK, dir. Cora Bissett)
THE WALK (UK, dir. Michael Jobling)
WELLS OF DESPAIR (Netherlands, dir. sata taas)

The ever-popular Audience Awards will also return for 2023, with audiences being able to vote for their favourite work they saw at this year’s Festival, be it fiction, documentary, short or immersive work. Four awards for Best Feature, Best Documentary, Best British Film or Work and Best XR will be awarded; 2022 winners of LFF Audience Awards include Blue Bag Life (Best Feature) and Drop Out (Best Short).

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