Yann Demange wins best director; Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Brendan Gleeson take home top acting prizes.
At the 17th annual Moet British Independent Film Awards, Pride took home the most trophies, including Best British Independent Film, Best Supporting Actress (Imelda Staunton) and Best Supporting Actor (Andrew Scott).
Next Goal Wins won best documentary and Boyhood won best international independent film.
Yann Demange won best director for ‘71.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw won best actress for Belle, while Brendan Gleeson won best actor for Calvary.
For the full list of winners, see end of story.
Richard Linklater accepted his award for Best International Film “on behalf of the 450 people who worked on this film over 12 years,” dedicating the prize to British filmmaker [This Sporting Life director] Lindsay Anderson “who was a friend and a bit of a mentor, who I miss.”
Joint Directors of the BIFAs, Johanna von Fischer and Tessa Collinson, who are stepping down from the event after this year, said: “In our final year as directors it is terrific to see such an amazing mix of the established and new beingrepresented in our honourees tonight. The range of diverse and unique talent in this country is awe inspiring. Our jury has had some truly tough decisions to make. We hope these results will excited audiences and encourage more people to search out these films creating a greater demand for British independent cinema.”
As announced before the ceremony, Emma Thompson won the Richard Harris Award. Thompson said she was a “bit bewildered” because “I don’t really know who to thank,” before jokingly admitting that: “I have taken small roles in large studio films that could be described as formulaic for money. I have done many things for money. And I am sorry.”
Charlie Boorman collected the Special Jury Prize on award on behalf of his father John Boorman, reading out a message from the 82 year old filmmaker: “Anything achieved through independent filmmaking means one has sweated blood trying to make it. To qualify as an independent film you have to have suffered the following: spent at least a year trying to find the money, deferred your fees, cut shooting days, when you recover from your nervous breakdown you start working on your next film and you sell your award to get money for your next film.”
Benedict Cumberbatch won the Variety Award and said the award would “inspire me to work harder, which won’t be difficult because I love my job, I love my industry and the people I go to work with, I love the communities and families each job brings together and I love How proud we can all be as filmmakers in the UK, a community who inspite or because of not having a studio system is a world leader.”
“As an actor, audience members and now as a producer as well, I want to continue to support British independent film,” he added.
The best actress award was presented by Tom Hollander and George MacKay to Belle actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw, for her performance in Amma Asante’s period drama Belle which tells the true story of the illegitimate mixed race daughter of an aristocrat in the 1780s.“This story has shown a period of history that we’ve seen so frequently on screen, but from the perspective of a woman of colour. I’m really proud to be part of something that ensures that little girls can grow up knowing that Dido Belle was also part of our history.”
Yann Demange thanked his DOP Tat Radcliffe and editor Chris Wyatt. “I’d be utterly fucked without them, so I share this with them.”
Olivia Colman and Olivia Williams presented the best actor award to Brendan Gleeson for his performance in Calvary. “I’m very surprised. I’m genuinely knocked for six. One of the reasons this room is so special is because art is at the front and centre in what’s happening here.
“It’s a collaborative game, it’s all about the team,” said Gleeson, who paid credit to the producers “who have to try to make independent film when it is almost impossible for people to risk commercially what is required artistically.”
The biggest award of the night, which was presented by BIFA Jury chair Tom hooper and Jury member Stanley Tucci, went to Pride.
Hooper said of the Best Film line-up: “Stanley and I were very honoured to be on the jury in Tessa and Johanna’s final year. I pride myself on being a decision making junkie but I must admit that this year was incredibly hard, the standard of the work was so exemplary.
Director Matthew Warchus credited the film’s writer Stephen Beresford with “making this whole thing such an awesome journey and uplifting experience.” Beresford added that the film had “one compelling message: Unite”.
New presenter Simon Bird, who took over from James Nesbitt, was a hit with the BIFA audience. The Imbetweeners actor joked that he was “the obvious choice to host these awards celebrating challenging, thought provoking, avant garde cinema. If you’re not familiar with my work, I shot to fame in The Inbetweeners, a gritty emotionally charged art house film.”
He joked that “Only the BIFAs would be bold enough to nominate a plucky young upstart like the star of Disney’s 4 billion dollar franchise Keira Knightley, or a staunch Hollywood outsider like Michael Fassbender”
Accepting bouquets of flowers, outgoing BIFA organisers Tessa Collinson and Jonanna Von Fischer thanked “the filmmakers out there. Without you, BIFA would not exist and by supporting BIFA you are supporting yourselves and others in the industry as a whole. We wish the best of luck to the new team.”
Other high profile attendees and presenters included Keira Knightley, Mark Strong, Charles Dance, Max Irons, Timothy and Rafe Spall, Douglas Booth, Paloma Faith, Alexandra Roach and Jack O’Connell.
The Moët British Independent Film Awards 2014
BEST BRITISH INDEPENDENT FILM
Sponsored by Moët & Chandon
Sponsored by AllCity & Intermission
Yann Demange – ‘71
THE DOUGLAS HICKOX AWARD [BEST DEBUT DIRECTOR]
Sponsored by 3 Mills Studios
Iain Forsyth, Jane Pollard – 20,000 Days on Earth
Sponsored by BBC Films
Jon Ronson, Peter Straughan – Frank
Sponsored by M.A.C Cosmetics
Gugu Mbatha-Raw – Belle
Sponsored by Movado
Brendan Gleeson – Calvary
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Imelda Staunton – Pride
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Sponsored by St Martins Lane
Andrew Scott – Pride
MOST PROMISING NEWCOMER
Sameena Jabeen Ahmed – Catch Me Daddy
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN PRODUCTION
BEST TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT
Stephen Rennicks - Music – Frank
Next Goal Wins
BEST BRITISH SHORT
The Kármán Line
BEST INTERNATIONAL INDEPENDENT FILM
THE RAINDANCE AWARD
THE RICHARD HARRIS AWARD
THE VARIETY AWARD
THE SPECIAL JURY PRIZE