Party of the Week: Cocktails for Woody's latest

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The Independent Culture

A luminous Penelope Cruz, who had wowed the audience in a ruffled black dress at the screening of her latest film, Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona, may have gone home early and given the after-party a miss but Britain's film glitterati congregated to let their hair down nonetheless at the Sky Movies HD gala bash for the London Film Festival.

The venue, No 17 Berkeley Street, reminiscent of a New York loft with its brick walls, snaking bar, funk DJ and white leather sofas, filled up quickly as the film industry sipped on raspberry and whisky concoctions.

The cocktails were not to everyone's tastes. The ever-understated film director Shane Meadows ambled in, wearing casual clothing and a rucksack, with his producer, Mark Herbert, and swapped his ginger and whisky beverage for some old fashioned white wine.

Meadows said he had missed the film's screening but revealed his soft spot for its director, Woody Allen. "He doesn't influence my work in the way that Martin Scorsese does, for example, but I really like his films," he said.

Nathalie Press, the actress who has starred in Red Road, and, most recently, in Fifty Dead Men Walking – about the life of the IRA informer Martin McGartland – marvelled at the drinks and canapés, which ranged from chicken and mango concoctions to chocolate-covered fruit on a stick.

Don Carlos Miranda, the stately Spanish ambassador, and his wife, waxed lyrical about Allen's talents (he is so reminiscent of our Almodovar, she said), while explaining that Allen had decided to base his film in Barcelona due to his love of Gaudi's architecture. With or without Penelope, good fun was had by all.