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Friday, 23 November, 2001, 10:46 GMT
Warrior conquers London Film Festival
Award-winning film The Warrior
The Warrior is director Asif Kapadia's debut feature
An epic tale has battled to win the London Film Festival's prestigious Sutherland trophy this year.

Asif Kapadia has won the British Film Industry's Sutherland Trophy, for his debut feature The Warrior.

The trophy was presented by Sutherland Jury member, artist Wolfgang Tillmans, at an awards ceremony before the RLFF's closing night gala film, K-PAX, on Thursday night.

The Warrior is a timeless story recounting an epic journey from the deserts of Rajasthan to the snow capped peaks of the Himalayas.

The Himalayas
The film tells the tale of a journey to the Himalayas

To escape his violent life, the warrior (Irfan Khan) sets off in search of peace.

A Warlord learns of his desertion and sends his men to bring back his head, unwilling to forgive his betrayal.

The Sutherland trophy is awarded to a director by the British Film Institute.

Established in 1958, the BFI has awarded the Sutherland Trophy to the film-maker whose first or second feature is judged to have been the best during the year, screened at the National Film Theatre.

However, since 1997, the criteria has altered slightly and now the Sutherland Trophy is awarded to the to the maker of the most original and imaginative first feature film screened during the London Film Festival.

With so many films of a high standard this year's judges admitted choosing a winner was a difficult task. Leading RLFF Director, Adrian Wootton to comment:

"The jury found it tremendously difficult to choose a winner as the shortlist was of an exceptionally high standard this year."

"However, there was a unanimous feeling that The Warrior was superbly directed, written and performed, and it stood out as the strongest and most powerful film. It is a mesmorising achievement with a real poetic vision. "

The nominations for the 2001 Sutherland Trophy were:

The Bank (Robert Connolly, Australia 2001)

In the Bedroom (Todd Field, USA 2001)

Dôlé (Imunga Ivanga, Gabon 2001)

Freedom (La Libertad) (Albertina Carri, Argentina 2000)

Fatma (Khaled Ghorbal, Tunisia-France 2001)

Guardians of the Earth (Subrahmanian Santakumar, India 2000)

Lovely Rita (Jessica Haussner, Austria-Germany 2001)

Manic (Jordan Melamed, USA 2001)

Pauline and Paulette (Lieven Debrauwer, Belgium, France, Netherlands 2001)

Sorum (Yoon Jong-Chan, South Korea 2001)

La Spagnola (Steve Jacobs, Australia France 2001)

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