LOS ANGELES, Dec 5, (RTRS): Andrea Arnold’s new-age road movie “American Honey” triumphed at the British Independent Film Awards Sunday. It won four awards, including best British independent film.
Arnold took the director prize for her movie, which Variety’s reviewer described as “part dreamy millennial picaresque, part distorted tapestry of Americana and part exquisitely illustrated iTunes musical.” The film’s Sasha Lane won best actress, and Robbie Ryan’s cinematography was rewarded with the outstanding achievement in craft award.
Among the guests at the BIFA ceremony, held at London’s Old Billingsgate, were Michael Fassbender, Jamie Dornan, Martin Freeman, Naomie Harris, Anna Friel, Lena Headey, Patrick Stewart and Danny Boyle. The awards were hosted by Jennifer Saunders.
The surprise of the evening was the triple win for Farsi-language horror movie “Under the Shadow.” The screenplay prize and the Douglas Hickox Award for best debut director both went to the film’s Babak Anvari, and Avin Manshadi, its nine-year-old star, won supporting actress. BAFTA has selected the film as the UK’s foreign-language Oscar entry. Variety’s reviewer described it as “a satisfyingly tense and atmospheric thriller set in a haunted Tehran apartment during the terrifying final days of the Iran-Iraq War.”
Dave Johns took home the best actor award for Ken Loach’s “I, Daniel Blake,” while his co-star Hayley Squires was named most promising newcomer. Variety’s reviewer described the film as “a drama of tender devastation that tells its story with an unblinking neorealist simplicity.”
Brett Goldstein was named best supporting actor for his performance in “Adult Life Skills” and the film’s writer-director Rachel Tunnard won the best debut screenwriter award. The film centers on a woman on the cusp of her 30th birthday who is struggling to accept responsibility and get a life.
“Notes on Blindness” was named best documentary. Camille Gatin received the breakthrough producer award for her debut project “The Girl With All the Gifts.” Cult comedy “The Greasy Strangler” won The Discovery Award.
The best British short film award was presented to “Jacked.”
The only category of the night open to non-UK film, best international independent film, was won by “Moonlight.”
The special jury prize was presented to Clare Binns, director of programing and acquisitions at Picturehouse Cinemas and Picturehouse Entertainment. The jury praised her “unstinting efforts in bringing independent film to new audiences.”
Naomie Harris was presented The Variety Award by Danny Boyle in recognition of the global impact she has made in 2016, helping to focus the international film spotlight on the UK. The Richard Harris Award was presented to Alison Steadman by Richard Harris’ granddaughter Ella Harris and Steadman’s co-star from “Life Is Sweet,” Claire Skinner. The award recognizes outstanding contribution to British film by an actor.
* British Independent Film: “American Honey”
* International Independent Film: “Moonlight”
* Director: Andrea Arnold
* Screenplay: Babak Anvari
* Actress: Sasha Lane
* Actor: Dave Johns
* Supporting Actress: Avin Manshadi
* Supporting Actor: Brett Goldstein
* Documentary: Notes on Blindness
* Craft: Robbie Ryan, cinematography
* The Douglas Hickox Award (Debut Director): Babak Anvari,
* Debut Screenwriter: Rachel Tunnard
* Breakthrough Producer: Camille Gatin
* Most Promising Newcomer: Hayley Squires
* The Discovery Award: “The Greasy Strangler”
* British Short: “Jacked”