The past weekend brought great news for the Creative England Film Team’s projects. Charlotte Rampling won the title of European Actress at the European Film Awards for her performance in ’45 Years’ and Mark Kermode named ‘The Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson’ as one of his Top 10 Films of 2015. Both were backed by the Creative England Production Fund.
The 28th European Film Awards (EFAs) was held in Berlin on Saturday 12th December 2015 and a host of British film talent was recognised for both filmmaking and acting. British actor, Michael Caine won the Honorary Award as well as the title of European Actor for his role in ‘Youth’; London-based Asif Kapadia won the European Documentary title for ‘Amy’ and Bexley-born Faris Badwan (lead singer of British alt-rock band The Horrors) and his Canadian-Italian Cat’s Eyes counterpart, Rachel Zeffira, won the European Composer title for their soundtrack to Peter Strickland’s ‘The Duke of Burgundy’.
The stand-out result of the awards, however, was Charlotte Rampling bagging both the European Film Academy Lifetime Achievement Award and the European Actress title. The latter was for her role as Kate Mercer in Andrew Haigh’s Norfolk-set drama, ’45 Years’. The film was backed by the Creative England Production Fund, which supports feature films with a budget of up to £2million that have a strong regional voice or are made by regional filmmakers.
Earlier this month, Rampling also won the Best Actress title from the Women in Film and Television awards on top of winning the Best Actress Silver Bear Award from the Berlinale earlier this year and Best Performance in a British Feature Film at Edinburgh International Festival. Her achievements have even been celebrated by generation-y feminist icon and GIRLS creator, Lena Dunham in this month’s ‘Lenny’ newsletter (the same platform that saw Jennifer Lawrence pen her open letter about the gender pay gap in film). You can read the interview with Rampling here.
If this weren’t enough good news to brighten a gloomy December weekend, the highly-revered film critic, Mark Kermode named another Production Fund-supported film, ‘The Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson’ as one of his Top 10 Films of 2015. It is important to note that Julien Temple’s film was the only documentary that made the list – no mean feat when Asif Kapadia’s emotive documentary, ‘Amy’ was amongst the competition.
Richard Holmes, Senior Film Executive at Creative England said:
“What a great year it’s been. We get to work with lovely, talented filmmakers and they deliver funny, moving, thrilling films. Everyone on the film team is truly grateful to the writers, directors and producers who trust us to contribute what we can to the development and funding mix. Onward to next year and more wonderful feature films.”
Other films supported by Creative England were name-checked in Kermode’s article for The Observer, though they did not make the final list. The films were: Jeanie Finlay’s music-doc about the unlikely tale of a reluctant Elvis impersonator, ‘Orion: The Man Who Would Be King’ (also supported by the Production Fund) which won her a BIFA earlier this month; Andrew Haigh’s ’45 years’ and ‘Catch Me Daddy’ from Daniel Wolfe (the Creative England Production Services team helped source and secure permissions and road closures at Yorkshire locations for the production). The company behind 'Catch Me Daddy', EMU Films were also supported by our Film Enterprise Fund with a £150,000 loan investment.
Though ’45 Years’ missed Mark Kermode’s list, other publications such as Indie Wire’s The Playlist named Haigh’s drama number 5 in their 20 Best Films of 2015. Haigh’s film also made the cut for The Telegraph’s picks as well as the top half of Rotten Tomatoes’ Top 100 list for 2015.
The widespread recognition amongst festivals, award ceremonies, critics and audiences alike goes to show that a regional production like ’45 Years’ can provide a beautiful podium for a very human, universal story with mass appeal. Rampling today has been nominated for yet another Best Actress title off the back of her performance from The Broadcast Film Critics Association 21st Annual Critic’s Choice Awards; we wish her the best of luck.
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