British Independent Film Awards
The contentious story of an abortionist in 1950s England swept the board last night at the 7th annual British Independent Film Awards. Vera Drake scooped a massive six awards including the prestigious Best Film and Best Director.
Mike Leigh and actress Imelda Staunton repeated their Venice Film Festival triumph where the film was awarded the Golden Lion for Best Film and Best Actress award for Staunton. Again, Leigh, who has enjoyed a momentous year saw his film take the Best Film trophy, his first BIFA. Imelda Staunton as the selfless working class Vera Drake whose beliefs conflict with the morals of 50s society picked up Best Actress.
Further plaudits for Vera Drake saw veteran actor Phil Davis, as Vera's unassuming husband, and up and coming star Eddie Marsan, as the introverted Reg, pick up Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor respectively. Vera Drake picked up its sixth award for Achievement in Production.
Dealing with an equally contentious subject, the Best Newcomer award went to So Solid Crew's Ashley Walters for his portrayal of Ricky in Bullet Boy, an eighteen year old fresh out of custody and desperate to stay on the straight and narrow.
Korean movie Oldboy was named Best Foreign Film in a strong category in which other nominees included Fahrenheit 9/11 and the Motorcycle Diaries. Directed by Chan-wook Park, Oldboy is the story of a man imprisoned in a hotel room for 15 years with no explanation.
The true story of two climbers and their perilous journey to the summit of Siula Grande in Peru was a winner in the documentary category. Touching the Void directed by Kevin Macdonald picked up two awards tonight for Best British Documentary and Best Technical Achievement for Cinematographer Mike Eley.
Elsewhere, Irish director John Crowley received the Douglas Hickox Award for Debut Director for Intermission, his urban love story starring Colin Farrell and Kelly Macdonald.
Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright scooped the Best Screenplay award presented by Meera Syal for their comedy/horror movie Shaun of the Dead. Tagged 'a romantic comedy with zombies', the film has proved to be a huge hit all over the UK. This is the first BIFA award for TV's Spaced writer Pegg and writer/director Wright.
Other awards on the night went to The Barn for the Raindance Award. Directed by Ruaridh Webster and produced by Steffan Boje, The Barn chronicles the life of two American brothers, locked in a barn with terrible injuries after a run-in with some comedy East End gangsters. School of Life took the award for Best British Short.
This year, the Special Jury Prize was awarded to Norma Heyman. Currently producing Mrs Henderson Presents with Bob Hoskins and Dame Judi Dench, Norma Heyman is widely regarded as the UK's number one female film producer. Heyman's previous films include The Honorary Consul, Phil Collins' film debut Buster, Gangster No.1 and the hugely successful multi-Oscar and BAFTA winning Dangerous Liasions.
The hugely talented British actor Bob Hoskins received from his Mrs Henderson Presents co-star Will Young the Richard Harris Award for Outstanding Contribution by an Actor. Now in its third year and given with the blessing of the Harris family, the honour was given to Hoskins for his remarkable work in film. Oscar nominated for Mona Lisa, his work also includes The Long Good Friday, recently voted by the LFF and BBC London audiences as London's favourite film of all time. Hoskins can currently be seen in Vanity Fair and Beyond the Sea.
This year's Variety UK Personality Award honoured J K Rowling for her contribution to the industry. The author has seen four of her successful Harry Potters books be adapted for the big screen. Harry Potter producer David Heyman accepted this award on her behalf (adding a 'well done mum' for Norma).
LIST OF WINNERS
Best British Film
Phil Davis - Vera Drake
Imelda Staunton - Vera Drake
Eddie Marsan - Vera Drake
Most Promising Newcomer
Ashley Walters - Bullet Boy
Mike Leigh - Vera Drake
Simon Pegg & Edgar Wright - Shaun of the Dead
John Crowley - Intermission
Best Foreign Film
Best British Documentary
Touching the Void
Best Technical Achievement
Mike Eley - Cinematography - Touching the Void
Achievement In Production
Variety UK Personality Award
Richard Harris Award
Special Jury Prize
Best British Short
School of Life
The Awards were presented on Tuesday 30 November at Hammersmith Palais.
This year has seen some wonderful new talent on-screen and behind the scenes. First time nominees included Scarlett Johansson, Imelda Staunton, Phil Davis, Eva Birthistle, Anne Reid and Natalie Press. They were joined by previous BIFA winners Samantha Morton, Daniel Craig, Kevin Macdonald and Shane Meadows.
'This year's nominees reflect the growing strength and diversity of British independent filmmaking,' says BIFA founder and director, Elliot Grove, 'Our selection committee had a harder time than ever narrowing down the field. It's also extremely gratifying to see two of our past Douglas Hickox Award (for Best Directorial Debut) winners following through on the promise that they showed: both Kevin Macdonald and Shane Meadows were recognised by BIFA for their first feature films and both are nominated this year in the Best Director category.'
The BIFA pre-selection committee viewed a diverse range of independent films from which they selected the nominations and this year sees an eclectic mix of nominees from drama to comedy to romance excelling in a number of categories. Dead Man's Shoes lead the way with eight nominations. Vera Drake seven nominations and My Summer of Love received five nominations. Other multi-nominated films include Shaun of The Dead, Ae Fond Kiss., Girl With a Pearl Earring, Enduring Love and Touching the Void.
Now in their seventh year, the British Independent Film Awards continue to grow in size and stature, filling an important niche in the UK and independent filmmaking calendar. The talent and achievements of these independent filmmakers will be celebrated at the ceremony.
This year's BIFA jury chair is Anthony Minghella Writer/Producer/Director and he is joined by Christian Slater Actor, Cate Blanchett Actress, Helena Bonham-Carter Actress, Rosamund Pike Actress, Lynne Ramsay Writer/Director, Sam Taylor-Wood Artist/Photographer/Director, Skin Actress/Singer, Mark Cousins Writer/Producer/Director, Laura De Casto Managing Director Tartan Films, Antonia Bird Producer/Director, David Aukin Producer, John Akomfrah Director, Stewart Till Chief Executive Officer UIP/Chairman UK Film Council.
A film is eligible for consideration if:
*it is intended for theatrical release, and has had a public screening to a paying audience either on general release in the UK or at a British-based film festival between 1st October 2003 and 30th November 2004.
*it is not solely funded by a single studio.
*it has been produced or majority co-produced by a British company or is in receipt of at least 51% of its budget from a British source or sources or it qualifies as a British Film under the DCMS guidelines
*When the majority of finance has come from a British source the film must also include sufficient creative elements from the UK
*BIFA also consider foreign independent films for the Best Foreign Independent Film category
All films submitted for consideration are viewed by the Advisory Committee with the help of a nominated screening committee. The committee then decide the nominations by ballot.
Nominees for the 7th Annual British Independent Film Awards 2004
Best British Independent Film
1. Dead Man's Shoes
2. Touching the Void
3. Vera Drake
4. Shaun of the Dead
5. My Summer of Love
1. Paddy Considine Dead Man's Shoes
2. Geoffrey Rush The Life & Death of Peter Sellers
3. Daniel Craig Enduring Love
4. Phil Davis Vera Drake
5. Ian Hart Blind Flight
1. Imelda Staunton Vera Drake
2. Natalie Press My Summer of Love
3. Eva Birthistle Ae Fond Kiss
4. Anne Reid The Mother
5. Scarlett Johansson Girl With A Pearl Earring
Best Supporting Actor/Actress
Sponsored by Film Finders
1. Paddy Considine My Summer of Love
2. Gary Stretch Dead Man's Shoes
3. Romola Garai Inside I'm Dancing
4. Samantha Morton Enduring Love
5. Eddie Marsan Vera Drake
Most Promising Newcomer
Sponsored by Chiltern
1. Toby Kebbell Dead Man's Shoes
2. Emily Blunt My Summer of Love
3. Nick Frost Shaun Of the Dead
4. Ashley Walters Bullet Boy
5. Atta Yaqub Ae Fond Kiss
Sponsored by The Creative Partnership
1. Kevin Macdonald Touching the Void
2. Shane Meadows Dead Man's Shoes
3. Mike Leigh Vera Drake
4. Pawel Pawlikowsky My Summer of Love
5. Roger Michell Enduring Love
Sponsored by BBC Films
1. Shane Meadows & Paddy Considine Dead Man's Shoes
2. Simon Pegg & Edgar Wright Shaun Of The Dead
3. Paul Laverty Ae Fond Kiss
4. Mike Leigh Vera Drake
5. Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely The Life & Death Of Peter Sellers
Douglas Hickox Award (Debut Director)
1. Peter Webber Girl With A Pearl Earring
2. John Crowley - Intermission
3. Matthew Vaughn Layer Cake
4. Saul Dibb Bullet Boy
5. Emily Young Kiss Of Life
Best Technical Achievement
1. Cinematography Touching the Void Mike Eley
2. Wardrobe Bride & Prejudice Eduardo Castro & Ralph Holes
3. Cinematography Enduring Love Haris Zambarloukos
4. Editing Dead Man's Shoes Lucas Roche & Chris Wyatt
5. Production Design Code 46 Mark Tildesley
Best Achievement in Production
Sponsored by Recorded Picture Company
1. Dead Man¹s Shoes
2. Vera Drake
3. Girl With a Pearl Earring
4. Code 46
5. Bride & Prejudice
Best Foreign Film
Sponsored by UGC Cinemas
1. Motorcycle Diaries
3. Fahrenheit 9/11
5. Pieces of April
1. Touching the Void
4. Drowned Out
5. Peace One Day
The Raindance Award
1. The Barn
3. Chicken Tikka Masala
The Variety UK Personality of the Year
J K Rowling
To be announced:
The Special Jury Prize sponsored by The UK Film Council
Best British Short Film sponsored by Nokia and supported by the British Council The Richard Harris Award
The Jury are:...
Anthony Minghella is the jury chair.
And the rest:
Helena Bonham Carter
Laura De Casto
Sam Taylor Wood