The big winners at the Dinard British Film Festival this weekend were Nigel Cole’s Made in Dagenham and Jamie Thraves’ Treacle Jr.
The two films shared the grand jury prize, the Golden Hitchchock, which comes with grants for French distribution of the winning films as well as a direct grant to each director.
The Silver Hitchcock, voted on by audiences, went to Made in Dagenham, which also won the Blue Hitchcock award for best screenplay (Billy Ivory).
The Hitchcock Blanc for cinematography, sponsored by Kodak, went to Bernard Rose’s Mr Nice.
The Bronze Hitchcock was awarded to Stuart Hazeldine’s thriller Exam, which will now be screened in 40 local cinemas in Brittany.
The Prix Entente Cordiale Award, which welcomes entries from the UK’s NFTS and France’s Femis, went to Vicky Mather’s Stanley Pickle.
Director Jamie Thraves said of Treacle Jr’s win: “This means so much. So much risk was involved in this and so many people gave up so much. It was a massive gamble and sacrifice. So it gives us some hope that the film will have a life. I hope this is some encouragement to other filmmakers who want to make a film but find it hard to get funding. It’s worth taking the risk.” (The film does not yet have a sales agent or distribution deals.)
Made In Dagenham was producer Stephen Woolley’s 16th film to screen in Dinard. Woolley saw the film’s wins as vindication of distributor ARP Selection’s release strategy: “We’re delighted to have won three award,” he told Screen. “It’s a great acknowledgment of the film’s potential in France. We were turning away hundreds at each screening. The distributors are incredibly pleased. They wanted the campaign to start here, not in Cannes, and they were right because this is a unique festival. It’s a people’s festival; the Toronto of northern Europe.”
This year the event suffered a major cut in funding after the British Council and UKFC withdrew significant support. However, the public’s appetite was undiminished with queues snaking through the streets and many having to be turned away.
Woolley was hopeful that the local public’s enthusiasm could lead to further British funding at next year’s event: “The festival seems to be a little lower in the number of delegates but higher in terms of audience numbers. The audiences have been huge. All four of our screenings sold out. Perhaps next year there will be more money for the festival if the UKFC is restructured in some way.”
Highlights of this year’s festival included a screenwriting pitching session; a “directing actors” masterclass, which included presentations from Etienne Chatiliez, Peter Mullan, Nick Moran and Anne Consigny; and the annual Franco-British co-production networking brunch, which, as of this year, is no longer funded by the UKFC.
Barbara Dent, who organises UK relations for the festival, was upbeat about the new format to the producers’ brunch while acknowledging that it needed higher attendance. She said: “The new more relaxed format for the producers’ meeting was a step in the right direction but we need to make sure that more key producers and distributors attending the festival also attend the brunch to make it really worthwhile”.
This was the 21st annual British Film Festival in Dinard. The festival opened with Sam Taylor Wood’s Nowhere Boy and closed with Peter Mullan’s Neds.
The jurors included Sienna Miller, Nick Moran and Anne Consigny.