UPDATE: Berberian Sound Studio scooped the biggest haul of trophies at the 15th British Independent Film Awards but was beaten to the Best Film prize by Rufus Norris’ drama Broken.
- See below for full list of winners
Berberian Sound Studio won four awards including Best Director for Peter Strickland and Best Actor for Toby Jones. It also won Best Achievement in Production and Best Technical Achievement for the work of Joakim Sundstom and Stevie Haywood on the film’s sound design. The film itself concerns sound design — Jones plays an English sound engineer working for an Italian company making horror films.
Strickland’s second feature (which he also wrote) was produced by Mark Burke for Warp X and Keith Griffiths for Illuminations; Film4 was among its backers. Artificial Eye handled the UK release.
Broken, the film debut of theatre and opera director Rufus Norris, went into the night as the frontrunner, with nine nominations.
The BBC Films-backed drama, adapted from Daniel Clay’s 2008 novel, was the somewhat surprising winner of the top prize of Best British Independent Film and also saw Rory Kinnear win Best Supporting Actor. It previously opened Critics Week in Cannes and StudioCanal will release in the UK.
Norris said: “I quite like being British…it’s a bit complicated and embarrassing sometimes. I really, really like being independent.” Producer Dixie Linder added: “We’re a truly independent British film.” She praised the “amazing case and crew who stuck together” even when budgets were tight.
The BFI Film Fund backed both of those films.
The Imposter also won two awards including Best Documentary and the Douglas Hickox Award for Best Debut Director, which went to Bart Layton. The director praised backers Film4 and said: “I’m amazed by the whole experience of making this film.” The film was also a box-office hit in the UK via its release from Picturehouse and Revolver (The BFI’s P&A Fund backed its release.)
Dark comedy Sightseers, directed by Ben Wheatley, won Best Screenplay for the writing of Alice Lowe, Steve Oram and Amy Jump. Oram noted that the film had been “a labour of love” for him and Lowe for seven years (it was developed with producer Nira Park at Big Talk).
Andrea Riseborough, wearing a daringly low-cut dress that she had to cover with her statuette, won Best Actress for her portrayal of an IRA member-turned-informant in Shadow Dancer.
James Floyd was named Most Promising Newcomer for his complex performance in London gang drama My Brother the Devil. He was one of two Screen 2012 Stars of Tomorrow honoured tonight, alongside Mahalia Belo for short film Volume. Floyd kicked off the night with an emotional acceptance speech, before joking “I would buy you a drink…but I work in British independent film so I don’t have any money.”
Danish drama The Hunt, directed by Thomas Vinterberg, beat critically acclaimed films Amour, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Rust and Bone, and Searching for Sugar Man to the Best International Independent Film award.
Rob Savage’s teen drama Strings, this week acquired for distribution by Vertigo Films, won the Raindance Award. The 20-year-old director shot the film in his kitchen for just £3,000.
Former BFI London Film Festival artistic director Sandra Hebron was honoured with a Special Jury Prize. She said the honour was “an incredibly precious and very humbling award. It’s the best thing to be recognised by one’s peers.” She continued by quoting Jonas Mekas’ advice to new filmmakers: “Invent cinema from the beginning as if nobody has done it before you.”
The ceremony was held at London’s Old Billingsgate, hosted for the seventh time by actor James Nesbitt, who just returned to the UK from shooting Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit in New Zealand.
Fox Searchlight’s The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, a box-office hit, left empty handed despite its five nominations; iLL Manors, Song For Marion and Ginger & Rosa had gone in with three nominations each but were also snubbed.
The starry list of presenters included Idris Elba, John Hurt, Terry Gilliam, Jared Harris, Rufus Sewell, Alicia Vikander and Noomi Rapace.
This year’s jury was led by producer Alison Owen and included members Iain Canning, Tristan Goligher, Tom Hiddleston, Lesley Sharp, Jina Jay and Adrian Hodges.
The BIFAs are run by joint directors Johanna von Fischer & Tessa Collinson. They said in a statement tonight: “It is wonderful to see so many films acknowledged by our jury which goes to prove what a strong year 2012 has been for British Independent film. We were delighted that so many of the winners were with us tonight to collect their awards and celebrate our 15th birthday, along with a number of previous winners, patrons, and friends of BIFA. We are extremely proud that The Moët British Independent Film Awards continues to highlight the extraordinary talent that is so plentiful within British independent filmmaking today.”
Full list of winners
BEST BRITISH INDEPENDENT FILM
Sponsored by Moët & Chandon
Sponsored by AllCity & Intermission
Peter Strickland – Berberian Sound Studio
THE DOUGLAS HICKOX AWARD [BEST DEBUT DIRECTOR]
Sponsored by 3 Mills Studios
Bart Layton – The Imposter
Sponsored by BBC Films
Alice Lowe, Steve Oram, Amy Jump – Sightseers
Sponsored by M.A.C
Andrea Riseborough – Shadow Dancer
Toby Jones – Berberian Sound Studio
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Olivia Colman – Hyde Park on Hudson
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Sponsored by Sanderson & St Martins Lane
Rory Kinnear – Broken
MOST PROMISING NEWCOMER
Sponsored by StudioCanal
James Floyd – My Brother the Devil
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN PRODUCTION
Sponsored by Company3
Berberian Sound Studio
BEST TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT
Sponsored by LightBrigade Media
Joakim Sundström, Stevie Haywood AMPS IPS– Sound Design – Berberian Sound Studio
BEST BRITISH SHORT
Supported by the BFI
BEST INTERNATIONAL INDEPENDENT FILM
THE RAINDANCE AWARD
THE RICHARD HARRIS AWARD (for outstanding contribution by an actor to British Film)
THE VARIETY AWARD
THE SPECIAL JURY PRIZE