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The BFI's five biggest distribution awards of 2016

From US indie hits to British social realist drama, Screen charts the BFI’s biggest grants in 2016.

1= High-Rise (£300,000)

High Rise

Ben Wheatley’s smart and striking adaptation of JG Ballard’s seminal novel High-Rise, starring Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons and Sienna Miller, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2015, before being screened at festivals including San Sebastian, London and Turin. The film enjoyed a wide release through Studiocanal, opening on March 18 in 153 sites and going on to achieve a UK box-office gross of £2m.

1= I, Daniel Blake (£300,000)

I, Daniel Blake

Ken Loach’s Palme d’Or winner about the oppressive bureaucracy of the welfare system has proven the veteran director’s most commercially successful film since his 2006 historical drama The Wind That Shakes The Barley. eOne opened the film on October 21 and soon increased its screen count to 273, nudging the film up to a £3m local haul.

2. Moonlight (£175,000)

Moonlight

Barry Jenkins’ critically praised character drama about the struggles of a gay African-American growing up in inner-city Miami is scheduled for a UK release on February 24 through Altitude. The Oscar hopeful, handled by A24 in the US, premiered at Telluride and has grossed $11.6m in the US to date.

3. Paterson (£128,500)

In Jim Jarmusch’s film, which premiered in Cannes, Adam Driver plays a bus driver called Paterson, living in a town called Paterson, in a film titled Paterson. A character study that focuses on the habitual creative frustrations of the titular character and his interactions with the world, the film was snapped up by Amazon prior to strong reviews at Cannes and received its UK release through Soda Pictures. Paterson opened in 61 theatres on November 25, grossing £166,701 over its opening weekend and approximately £500,000 to date.

4. Hunt For The Wilderpeople (£125,000)

Hunt For The Wilderpeople

The crowd-pleasing New Zealand adventure-comedy featuring Sam Neill premiered at Sundance 2016. It was distributed in the UK by Vertigo Films and scored £171,491 on its opening weekend (September 16-18) before going on to reach an overall gross of £900,000 across an 11-week run.

5. Where To Invade Next (£78,800)

Michael Moore’s documentary, which focuses on the search for new ideas and policies for the US, was released in the UK on June 10. The film was distributed by Dogwoof, opening on 127 screens. To date, it has grossed approximately £165,000.

Readers' comments (3)

  • High Rise and I Daniel Blake - 2 films from the film establishment (no need to drop names) did not warrant such enormous sums. The BFI are still stuck in an elitist mind set and need to cut that cancer out if they really want to be an equal opportunity and diverse body. What they say does not match the evidence.
    By the way High Rise was an embarrassment to filmmaking and should never have been made by that elitist team. They ruined a national treasure of a book.

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  • Only 2 of these are British filmmakers - why are 3 of these top 5 awards going to non-UK filmmakers? why isn't BFI backing more British films with bigger distribution awards? What does that say about what they think about British indie films?

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  • Only 2 of these are British filmmakers - why are 3 of these top 5 awards going to non-UK filmmakers? why isn't BFI backing more British films with bigger distribution awards? What does that say about what they think about British indie films?

    Unsuitable or offensive?

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