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BIFAs 2016: 'American Honey' triumphs over 'I, Daniel Blake'

Andrea Arnold’s epic travelogue won four awards including best independent British film.

Andrea Arnold’s American Honey was the big winner at the 2016 British Independent Film Awards (BIFAs), taking four prizes from six nominations.

The film, which follows a group of young people travelling around the US, scooped the night’s top prize, best independent British film, as well as best director for Arnold, who danced on the stage accepting her award.

Breakthrough star Sasha Lane won best actress, while cinematographer Robbie Ryan was presented with the outstanding achievement in craft prize.

Accepting the award on behalf of the absent Lane, Arnold read a text from the actress saying: “[American Honey] completely changed my life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

Accepting his award, Ryan joked “A very strange category, I don’t quite understand it. Here’s to all the people who are crafty.”

Ken Loach’s much-fancied social drama I, Daniel Blake won two prizes from its seven nominations. This year’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner took home best actor for star Dave Johns and most promising newcomer for Hayley Squires.

Taking to the stage, Johns, who won for his first film role, thanked director Loach for “giving people who haven’t got a voice a voice.”’

“It’s 2016 and we’ve still got food banks, I think we should put a stop to that,” he added.

Collecting her prize on stage, Squires took the opportunity to respond to recent press regarding the film’s political content. “The script is based completely on truth, despite what some people want to write about,” she said.

Elsewhere, Babak Anvari’s Iran-set horror Under The Shadow – Britain’s entry to this year’s foreign language Oscar race – collected three awards. Anvari took both the Douglas Hickox Award for best debut director and also the best screenplay prize. Nine-year old star Avin Manshadi won best supporting actress.

Adult Life Skills won the inaugural best debut screenwriter award for writer-director Rachel Tunnard, and Brett Goldstein took best supporting actor.

Camille Gatin took the breakthrough producer prize for her debut project The Girl With All The Gifts. James Spinney and Peter Middleton’s Notes On Blindness won best documentary. The Greasy Strangler won the discovery award.

Barry Jenkins’ Oscar contender Moonlight won the only category open to non-UK films, best international independent film, following its recent win at the Gotham Awards in New York.

The special jury prize was presented to Picturehouse’s Clare Binns for her continued championing of independent films.

Accepting her award, Binns championed the independent film scene: “This is cinema that changes our lives. We owe it to ourselves to show the best of films from around the world in all their glory.”

Previously announced special prizes went to Naomie Harris and Alison Steadman.

Readers' comments (1)

  • JuicyShoot

    It is great to hear the voices of young people in film today. I am also so glad that Dave Johns and Hayley Squires won the best actor awards too.

    This film is so relevant to our regressive times and the world badly needs the message sent out by this film.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

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