For Sama

Source: Cannes Film Festival

‘For Sama’

For Sama and The Personal History Of David Copperfield were the big winners at the 2019 British Independent Film Awards (BIFAs).

Scroll down for full list of winners

The ceremony was hosted by actress and comedian Aisling Bea and held at London’s Old Billingsgate tonight (Dec 1).

Syrian civil war documentary For Sama scooped the night’s top prize, best British independent film, as well as best director for Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts, best documentary, and best editing at the previously announced craft awards last month. On stage, Kateab said: “I really believe that one day Syria will be free and Assad will be gone.”

The Personal History Of David Copperfield finished with five awards, the highest of the night, from 11 nominations, with Hugh Laurie winning best supporting actor and Armando Iannucci and Simon Blackwell taking home the best screenplay prize. It previously also won for casting, costume design and production design. Accepting the award, Iannucci paid tribute to Charles Dickens’ contemporary relevance, adding that “our prime minister is a Dickensian character, because he speaks mostly in fiction.”

Wild Rose had ten nominations but didn’t win any prizes on the night, but it did pick up best music for Jack Arnold at the craft wards.

Renée Zellweger won best actress for her performance as Judy Garland in Judy, which also previously won best make-up and hair design.

The best actor award went to Josh O’Connor for Only You, with Harry Wootliff winning best debut director.

Shola Amoo’s The Last Tree won two awards: best supporting actress for Ruthxjiah Bellenea and most promising newcomer for its lead Sam Adewunmi.

Kate Byers and Linn Waitewon won the breakthrough producer award for Mark Jenkin’s Cornish fisherman drama Bait.

Emma Jane Unsworth picked up the debut screenwriter prize for adapting her own novel Animals, which starred Holliday Grainger and Alia Shawkat.

Bong Joon Ho’s Palme d’Or winner Parasite won best international independent film.

The Raindance Discovery Award went to Himalaya school children documentary Children Of The Snow Land

The outgoing CEO of the BFI Amanda Nevill collected the special jury prize, with the previously announced Kristin Scott Thomas picking up the Richard Harris award for outstanding contribution by an actor to British film. On stage she mentioned turning down Gladiator, which starred Harris, saying: “you have given me an award that will always remind me of my most idiotic career decision!”

Full list of winners

Winners in bold

Best British Independent Film

  • Bait, Mark Jenkin, Kate Byers, Linn Waite
  • For Sama, Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts
  • The Personal History Of David Copperfield, Armando Iannucci, Simon Blackwell, Kevin Loader
  • The Souvenir, Joanna Hogg, Luke Schiller
  • Wild Rose, Tom Harper, Nicole Taylor, Faye Ward 

Best Director

  • Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts, For Sama
  • Oliver Hermanus, Moffie
  • Joanna Hogg, The Souvenir
  • Mark Jenkin, Bait
  • Asif Kapadia, Diego Maradona

Best Screenplay

  • Joanna Hogg, The Souvenir
  • Armando Iannucci, Simon Blackwell, The Personal History Of David Copperfield
  • Paul Laverty, Sorry We Missed You
  • Peter Strickland, In Fabric
  • Nicole Taylor, Wild Rose

Best Documentary

  • Coup 53, Taghi Amirani, Walter Murch, Paul Zaentz
  • Diego Maradona, Asif Kapadia, James Gay-Rees, Paul Martin
  • For Sama, Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts
  • Seahorse, Jeanie Finlay, Andrea Cornwell
  • Tell Me Who I Am, Ed Perkins, Simon Chinn 

Best Actress

  • Jessie Buckley, Wild Rose
  • Holliday Grainger, Animals
  • Sally Hawkins, Eternal Beauty
  • Vicky Knight, Dirty God
  • Renée Zellweger, Judy

Best Actor

  • Sam Adewunmi, The Last Tree
  • Tom Burke, The Souvenir
  • Kris Hitchen, Sorry We Missed You
  • Josh O’Connor, Only You
  • Dev Patel, The Personal History Of David Copperfield

Best Supporting Actress

  • Jessica Barden, Scarborough
  • Ruthxjiah Bellenea, The Last Tree
  • Elizabeth Debicki,Vita & Virginia
  • Tilda Swinton, The Personal History Of David Copperfield
  • Julie Walters, Wild Rose

Best Supporting Actor

  • Chiwetel Ejiofor, The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind
  • Hugh Laurie, The Personal History Of David Copperfield
  • Edilson Manuel Olbera Nuñez, Yuli – The Carlos Acosta Story
  • Peter Mullan, The Vanishing
  • Bluey Robinson, Dirty God

Most Promising Newcomer

  • Sam Adewunmi, The Last Tree
  • Vicky Knight, Dirty God
  • Lorn Macdonald, Beats
  • Roxanne Scrimshaw,Lynn + Lucy
  • Honor Swinton Byrne, The Souvenir

The Douglas Hickox Award (Debut Director)

  • Will Becher, Richard Phelan, A Shaun The Sheep Movie: Farmageddon
  • Fyzal Boulifa, Lynn + Lucy
  • Ninian Doff, Boyz In The Wood
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor, The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind
  • Harry Wootliff, Only You 

Debut Screenwriter

  • Kieran Hurley, Beats
  • Lisa Owens, Days Of The Bagnold Summer
  • Nicole Taylor, Wild Rose
  • Emma Jane Unsworth, Animals
  • Harry Wootliff, Only You

Breakthrough Producer

  • Finn Bruce, Tucked
  • Kate Byers, Linn Waite, Bait
  • Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor, Blue Story [also produced by Damian Jones]
  • Becky Read, Three Identical Strangers [also produced by Grace Hughes-Hallett]
  • Jack Sidey, Moffie [also produced by Eric Abraham]

The Raindance Discovery Award

  • A Bump Along The Way, Shelly Love, Tess Mcgowan, Louise Gallagher
  • Children Of The Snow Land, Zara Balfour, Marcus Stephenson, Mark Hakansson
  • Here For Life, Andrea Luka Zimmerman, Adrian Jackson, James Lingwood, Michael Morris, Cressida Day
  • Muscle, Gerard Johnson, Matthew James Wilkinson, Richard Wylie, Ed Barratt
  • The Street, Zed Nelson

The Richard Harris Award for Outstanding Contribution by an Actor to British Film

  • Kristin Scott Thomas

Special Jury Prize

  • Amanda Nevill