The director, whose 127 Hours is closing the festival, was presented with a BFI Fellowship at tonight’s awards ceremony by fellow director Stephen Daldry. Also on hand was Martin Scorsese, who paid tribute to the BFI National Archive. As for the winners, jury president Patricia Clarkson presented director Alexei Popogrebsky the Best Film award for the isolation-themed How I Ended This Summer. Andy Serkis presented the Best British Newcomer award to Clio Barnard, director of The Arbor, about playwright Andrea Dunbar. And Barnard also won this year’s Sutherland Award for most original and imaginative feature debut, presented by jurors Michael Winterbottom and Olivia Williams. Armadillo won Best Documentary. Other guests at the ceremony, held at LSO St. Luke’s, home of the London Symphony Orchestra, included ex-BBC Director General Greg Dyke and screenwriter Tony Grisoni.
Warner Bros and Paramount are getting closer on a co-production of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, the Eric Roth-scripted adaptation of the Jonathan Safran Foer novel that director Stephen Daldry and producer Scott Rudin have been working on for the last half decade. Sandra Bullock and Tom Hanks have been circling the project, a lot of journalists knew it but agreed to wait, and then somebody ran it. Oh, well. The film is not just Paramount, as was reported. Warner Bros has been the lead studio on the project, and now they and Paramount are figuring it out together. I’m told and they are in the process of making offers to talent. The book is about a bright 9-year old whose father is killed on 9/11. He finds a key left behind by his father and goes on a mission to figure out what it unlocks. The novel was a literary sensation when it was published and not the easiest film adaptation, which is why it has taken so long. But it is superb subject matter for Bullock to potentially make her first project since winning the Oscar for The Blind Side.
Lily Allen is writing some of the songs for the new Bridget Jones stage musical, which has staged its first workshop reading. I’m told this was a rough assembly of Helen Fielding’s script and some songs with the Billy Elliot creative team — director Stephen Daldry, choreographer Peter Darling and associate director Julian Webber. Producer Working Title plans to bring the show to London’s West End next year. They’ll be crossing fingers Bridget Jones replicates the success of Billy Elliot, which has been seen by 4.5 million people worldwide and won 10 Tony awards, including Best Musical.