From Best Supporting Actress to Best Costume Design, this year’s BIFA ’s will mark 20 years of celebrating the best in British independent film.
The British Independent Film Awards illuminate and celebrate the best in British film, film makers, and future prospects. They aim to ‘shine a light on and provide access to the best British film audiences have or haven’t heard of’. As part of the awards selection, nominees and winners are selected by the industry itself. This explains why this is a particularly imperative event to win, as every eligible film is thoroughly watched and discussed, making BIFA the only truly credible source for the best in British independent film.
There are 15 proud individuals that conduct this. They are Mark Figgis, Tom Hollander, Adrian Lester, Ken Loach, Ewan McGregor, Helen Mirren, Samantha Morton, James Nesbitt, Michael Sheen, Trudie Styler, Tilda Swinton, Meera Syal, David Thewlis, Ray Winstone and Michael Winterbottom. And, to present these prestigious awards, Mark Gatiss will host. He said:
“It’s a delight to take a break from my on-going experiments in the reanimation of dead tissue to present these awards which reflect the brightest talents in our industry.”
It is evident that debut features, with first-time writers, producers and directors, dominate this year’s nominations. Lady Macbeth, I Am Not a Witch and God’s Own Country are recognised in the three newcomer categories – Debut Screenwriter, Breakthrough Producer sponsored by Creativity Media and The Douglas Hickox Award for Best Debut Director as well as Best Screenplay sponsored by BBC Films, Best Director and Best British Independent Film.
It is exciting to announce that for this year for the first time, nine craft categories have already been awarded in the disciplines of casting, cinematography, costume design, editing, make-up and hair design, music, production design, sound and effects, replacing the catch-all ‘achievement in craft’ category from previous editions. The winners of those awards were announced on the 23rd of November.
So which films made the cut this year?
Firstly, William Oldroyd’s feature directorial debut, Lady Macbeth, has received a phenomenal 15 nominations for this year’s BIFA. Adapted by Alice Birch, the drama from the 19th century novel, Lady Macbeth of The Mtsensk, stars Florence Pugh as a young bride sold into marriage; whose innocence is slowly corrupted by her circumstances and yearning to rebel. Included in the 15 nominations are points for Florence Pugh, Naomi Ackie and Cosmo Jarvis for their performances. In fact Ackie is nominated twice, for Best Supporting Actress and Most Promising Newcomer sponsored by The London EDITION. Not only this, but the film has been nominated for five technical categories including Best Cinematography. Lady Macbeth won two craft awards this year which included Best Costume Design from Holly Waddington and Best Cinematography from Ari Wegner.
Armando Lannucci’s The Death of Stalin, starring Andrea Riseborough, Rupert Friend, Paddy Considine, Steve Buscemi and Jeffery Tamber, follows the demise of the Soviet Dictator. The internal political landscape of 1950’s Soviet Russia takes on a darkly comic form. This film has taken an early lead at the BIFA’s – picking up three awards as part of the ceremonies newly introduced craft section. These awards included: Best Casting from Sarah Crowe, Best Production Design for Cristina Casall and Best Makeup and Hair design for Nicole Stafford.
God’s Own Country, directed by Francis Lee, features John O’Connor’s (who plays Johnny Saxby) lonely existence whilst working long hours on his family farm in the North of England. He forms an intense relationship with Alec Secareanu, a Romanian migrant worker, which changes his life forever. This film has been highly applauded, by BIFA, as “One of the strongest British films of the year. Raw and beautifully played, observed and crafted. A wonderful debut by the director and two lovely leads”. Lee’s film has currently won an award for Best Sound from Anna Bertmark whilst both O’Connor and Secareanu are nominated for Best Actor.
Other current craft winners are as follows: Three Billboards Outside Epping, Missouri for Best Music and Best Editing and The Ritual for Best Effects.
BIFA has said, “This year’s nominations showcase the range and quality of British independent filmmaking. It’s a diverse and varied list, in terms of the teams making the films and also the kinds of stories being told. It is especially encouraging to see so much exciting work from so many new filmmakers; this points to a very bright future for British cinema and we’re proud to be at the heart of it, celebrating these exceptional films”.
This year’s ceremony will be held on the 10th of December at London’s Old Billingsgate.
We hope you are as excited as we are to find out the winners! Who do you predict will win?
Text: Ella Buxton
Images: The British Blacklist, The Telegraph, Filmjabber.com, Theplaylist.net, I.D Magazine.