Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s “Evil Does Not Exist” clinched the top honor in the official competition at this year’s BFI London Film Festival Awards.
In the first feature competition, Mika Gustafson’s “Paradise Is Burning” was awarded the Sutherland Award, while Lina Soualem’s “Bye Bye Tiberias” secured the Grierson Award in the documentary competition. The short film competition saw “The Archive: Queer Nigerians,” directed by Simisolaoluwa Akande, emerge victorious.
The jury presidents for this year’s awards included Amat Escalante (official competition), Raine Allen-Miller (first feature competition), Rubika Shah (documentary competition), and Charlotte Regan (short film competition).
In their official statement about the selection of “Evil Does Not Exist” as the best film, the jury praised it as follows: “Subtle, cinematic, and enriched by exceptional performances, Hamaguchi’s confident drama transcends its individual elements. It is not only a lyrical portrayal of family and community but also a nuanced exploration of the ethics surrounding land development. Among a strong field of competitors, the jury is united in our admiration!”
Upon receiving the award, Hamaguchi expressed his genuine delight and astonishment, thanking everyone involved, particularly the dedicated cast and crew who worked tirelessly behind the scenes. He acknowledged their exceptional contributions as a constant source of inspiration. He also expressed his sincere gratitude to the judges who recognized their efforts and gave special mention to Eiko Ishibashi for her music contributions. Ishibashi not only worked on the music for the film “Drive My Car” but also provided the concept for this award-winning film. Hamaguchi believes her music played a significant role in completing the movie and garnering such positive reviews. He hopes the film will bring joy to the British audience upon its release in the UK and looks forward to visiting London again in the future, extending his heartfelt thanks for the wonderful award.