London Film School honours Richard Lester, Rita Tushingham and Philip French at the 2011 Annual Show

LFS celebrates year of graduate achievement and exciting development initiatives.

Director Richard Lester, Actress Rita Tushingham and film critic Philip French will be named Honorary Associates of The London Film School at the School's annual graduation ceremony at the National Gallery on Tuesday 13th December. LFS chairman and Associate Mike Leigh and director Ben Gibson will present the awards. Lester, Tushingham and French will then award Associateships to 84 graduates of the School's MA Filmmaking, MA Screenwriting and MA Curating programmes.

Rita Tushingham said, “It is a great honour for me to be become an Honorary Associate of The London Film School, a school that is held in such high esteem worldwide and has recognised and encouraged so many talented people, some of whom I've been fortunate enough to work with over the years”. Philip French said, “The London Film School was established shortly before I came to work in London, and it has become exactly the kind of institution – wide in its scope, imaginative in its aims, exacting in its standards – that this country needed. It is a great honour to become an honorary associate in the company of two such distinguished cineastes as Rita Tushingham and Richard Lester, and to be joining the company of past recipients so many of whom are god-like figures to me”In the past year, LFS films have played at over 150 festivals, including Berlin, Clermont-Ferrand, Camerimage, Locarno, Guadalajara and Encounters, winning over 30 major prizes. LFS graduates were selected for numerous new talent initiatives, including Binger Film Lab, Film London Microwave Scheme, C4 Coming Up, Sundance Directors Lab and the The Cinetrain project .

Ben Gibson commented, “Through slumps and renaissances, UK cinema has survived and excelled because of the energy, optimism and originality of the indefatigable – a fitting word to bring together three people who have taught us so much about the potential of cinema”

LFS Chairman and alumnus Mike Leigh commented “LFS continues to thrive on the creative richness and the diversity of its international student community. This, together with its role as one of the UK’s two major film schools, is one of our great traditions”.

In 2011 first and second features by LFS graduates continued to emerge on the world’s festival and distribution circuits. Three graduates were selected to represent their countries for Academy Award 2012 selection – Oliver Hermanus (Skoonheid for South Africa), Ann Hui (A Simple Life for Hong Kong) and Leticia Tonos (Love Child) for the Dominican Republic.

Source Code, the second feature from Duncan Jones opened to great critical acclaim and commercial success. Jannicke Systad Jacobsen won the Best Screenplay Award at The Tribeca Film Festival for her first feature 'Turn me on, goddammit'. Also screening at Tribeca was another first feature from LFS graduates Lotus Eaters, directed by Alexandra McGuinness, produced by Mark Lee and shot by Gareth Munden. Work from seven graduates was represented at The London Film Festival.

Upcoming features include Ryan Andrews’ Elfie Hopkins, starring Ray and Jaime Winstone, and Borrowed Time, a ‘Microwave’ project from writer/director Jules Bishop and producer Olivier Kaempfer, both LFS graduates. In October this year, Mike Leigh and Ben Gibson unveiled a new programme aimed at raising vital funds for LFS. Inspired by Britain’s first Film Society founded in 1925, whose members included H.G.Wells, George Bernard Shaw, Maynard Keynes and Anthony Asquith, the Society is enrolling influential patrons to play a crucial role in supporting the work of the School and the next generation of cinematic talent. Founding members include David Aukin, Don Boyd, Dan Chambers, Will Clarke, Tony and Janey Elliott, Stephen Garrett, Keith Greenhalgh, Goodman Derrick LLP, Christo Hird, Patricia Jackson, Olivier Kaempfer, Paul Kafka, Waseem Mahmood OBE, Franc Roddam, Lisa Marie Russo and Michael Sackler.