The producers have withdrawn the film, which was due to have its world premiere at the Edinburgh International Film festival, due to confusion over the Michael Powell Award criteria.

The producers of Scott Graham’s feature debut Shell have withdrawn the film from the Edinburgh International Film Festival because it is not in the running for the Michael Powell Award.

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An extension of Graham’s 2007 short of the same name, the film stars Joseph Mawle and Chloe Pirrie as a father and daughter who live in a remote highland petrol station and was financed by the BFI, Creative Scotland and ZDF Arte. Graham is a 2011 Screen Star of Tomorrow.

It was due to world premiere in the festival’s British Screens section.

David Smith, the producer of the film, told Screen that he had been under the impression that the film would be eligible for the Michael Powell Award, by virtue of being a British debut feature screening in the festival, and that he only realised that the criteria had changed at the festival’s official launch last month.

However, the festival put out a release during Berlin to say that the criteria had changed and that the films selected for the Michael Powell Award would be at the discretion of the artistic director.

The difference this year is that the films competing for the Michael Powell Award are in their own separate competition strand, as opposed to be selected from across the different sections of the festival. However, even in previous years it was not necessarily the case that a new British feature would automatically qualify for the Michael Powell Award.

In a statment, the festival said: “The filmmakers decided to withdraw their film from the EIFF programme due to it not being eligible for the Michael Powell Award. In February we announced that the awards would be re-instated for the 2012 edition of the Festival and within that highlighted that not all British features would be included in the Michael Powell competition. In previous years British films have screened at the Festival without being eligible for the Award.”

“We think it’s one of the best British films of this year and we want to find the right platform for the film,” said Smith who is now looking for alternative festivals.

Shell is being sold internationally by Bac Films.