Stephen Frears' Dirty Pretty Things has emerged as the frontrunner for this year's British Independent Film Awards (BIFAs), earning seven nominations.

Sixteen Years of Alcohol and Buffalo Soldiers received five nominations followed by Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself, Young Adam, In This World and Bright Young Things, each of which are nominated four times.

The winners will be announced on November 4. Innovations for the awards this year include the introduction of the best British feature documentary category and the presentation of a new British Airways Bursary for the National Film and Theatre School to a student picked by the school itself.

This is part of the airline's Film Festival programme which sees them sponsoring the Awards this year as well as offering the scholarship in tandem with film programming selected by well known British directors, producers and actors on board their flights.

This year's Jury comprises: Daniel Battsek, senior vice-president Buena Vista International UK, costume designer Lindy Hemming, actor Tom Hollander, agent Lindy King of Peters Fraser & Dunlop, director Kevin MacDonald, actor Bill Nighy, cinematographer Roman Osin, BBC Films head of developemtna and executive producer Tracey Scoffield, actress and writer Meera Syal, Miramax executive vice-president, European production and development Colin Vaines, and Peter Watson, chief executive of the Recorded Picture Company.

'This year has been unprecedented', says BIFA head, Elliot Grove, 'As always the pre-selection process is incredibly hard because of the extraordinarily high standard of work produced. But this year that quality seems to have been higher than ever.'

The BIFA pre-selection committee viewed more than 100 films.

Best British Independent Film
28 Days Later
Buffalo Soldiers
Dirty Pretty Things
Magdalene Sisters
Young Adam

Best Actor
Paddy Considine (In America)
Chiwetel Ejiofor (Dirty Pretty Things)
Ewan McGregor (Young Adam)
Kevin McKidd (16 Years of Alcohol)
Joaquin Phoenix (Buffalo Soldiers)

Best Actress
Kate Ashfield (This Little Life)
Helena Bonham Carter (The Heart of Me)
Samantha Morton (In America)
Tilda Swinton (Young Adam)
Olivia Williams (The Heart of Me)

Best Supporting Actor/Actress
Shirley Henderson (Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself)
Susan Lynch (16 Years of Alcohol)
Sophie Okonedo (Dirty Pretty Things)
Adrian Rawlins (Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself)
Benedict Wong (Dirty Pretty Things)

Most Promisimg Newcomer
Harry Eden (Pure)
Chiwetel Ejiofor (Dirty Pretty Things)
Romola Garai (I Capture The Castle)
Jamie Sives (Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself)
Fenella Woolgar (Bright Young Things)

Best Director
Danny Boyle (28 Days Later)
Stephen Frears (Dirty Pretty Things)
David MacKenzie (Young Adam)
Jim Sheridan (In America)
Michael Winterbottom (In This World)

Best Screenplay
Eric Weiss, Nora Maccoby & Gregor Jordan (Buffalo Soldiers)
Tim Firth & Juliette Towhidi (Calendar Girls)
Steve Knight (Dirty Pretty Things)
Peter Mullan (The Magdalene Sisters)
Anders Thomas Jensen & Lone Sherfig (Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself)

Douglas Hickox Award (Debut Director)
Stephen Fry (Bright Young Things)
Sarah Gavron (This Little Life)
Richard Jobson (16 Years of Alcohol)
Jeremy Wooding (Bollywood Queen)
Penny Woolcock (The Principles of Lust)

Best Technical Achievement
Tim Alban, Joakim Sundstrom & Stuart Wilson (Sound - In This World)
Peter Christelis (Editing - In This World)
David Holmes (Music - Buffalo Soldiers)
Michael Howells (Production Design - Bright Young Things)
John Rhodes (Cinematography - 16 Years of Alcohol)

Best Achievement in Production
16 Years of Alcohol
28 Days Later
Bright Young Things
Buffalo Soldiers
In This World

Best Foreign Film
Belleville Rendez-vous
City of God
Spirited Away
Whale Rider

Best Documentary
100 Doors
The Game of their Lives
Hoover Street Revival

Best Short Film
72 Faced Liar
Dad's Dead
Extn 21
Salaryman 6

To be announced:
Special Jury Prize
Richard Harris Award
British Airways

A film is eligible for consideration for the BIFAS if:

*it is intended for theatrical release, and has had a public screening to a paying audience either on general release in the UK or at a British-based film festival between 1st October 2002 and 30th September 2003
*it is not solely funded by a single studio
*it has been produced or majority co-produced by a British company or is in receipt of at least 51% of its budget from a British source or sources or it qualifies as a British Film under the DCMS guidelines
*BIFA also consider foreign independent films for the Best Foreign Independent Film category