It has been a strong year for London Film School students and alumni at the 67th Berlinale as four awards headed its way. Former student Rafael Kapelinski was one of the big British winners of the festival, with the council estate drama Butterfly Kisses taking a Crystal Bear for best film in the festival’s Generation section.
Current screenwriting student Gonzalo Maza won two awards, including the prestigious Silver Bear for his work as co-writer of Una Mujer Fantastica (A Fantastic Woman). The Sebastián Lelio directed film, which was also recognized with a TEDDY award for best LGBT feature, has been hailed as a triumph, with a powerhouse performance from transgender actress Daniela Vega.
First time filmmakers – and LFS alumni – Carla Simón and Rafael Kapelinski were also recognised for their films Estiu 1993 (SUMMER 1993) and Butterfly Kisses respectively. In addition to being an LFS alumnus Kapelinski teaches at the school as a senior tutor.
Other talent competing included Jacqueline Lentzou for Hiwa and Fateme Ahmadi whose film Chandra represented London Film School at the 15th edition of the Berlinale Talents.
Gonzalo Maza said: “It is incredible that A Fantastic Woman has been so well received in Berlin. I want to keep challenging myself and I believe London Film School will provide such a creative space for me to grow and explore new directions in my work.”
Jane Roscoe, LFS director said: “This year’s festival confirms London Film School’s commitment to supporting talent at major international festivals. Gonzalo’s win is an extraordinary achievement for a current LFS student, while the awards for Rafael and Carla recognized two distinctive voices at the very start of their careers. They all learned their craft in London, a city which remains a key destination for people from all parts of the world who want to break into the business.”
Last year London Film School announced plans to move from its current site in Covent Garden to East London’s City Island. The aim is to provide state of the art facilities that will focus on meeting film industry needs and address skills gaps in post-production.