Other winners included actors James McAvoy and Lindsay Duncan, For Those In Peril director Paul Wright and Blue is the Warmest Colour.

Scroll down for full list of winners

Philippines-set crime thriller Metro Manila has scooped the top prize at the 16th Moet British Independent Film Awards in London, beating box office hit Philomena as well as The Selfish Giant, Starred Up and Le Week-end.

Metro Manila led the pack on the night with three wins including Best British Independent Film, Best Director for Sean Ellis and Best Achievement in Production.

Clearly stunned, Ellis thanked BIFA for supporting “our little holiday film” when accepting the Best Film prize and - holding back tears - dedicated the award to his mother.

The crime drama, shot in the Philippine capital in the Tagalog language with a local cast and crew, debuted at Sundance in January and is the UK’s submission for the Best Foreign-Language Film at the Oscars.

At the glamorous ceremony, hosted for the eighth time by actor James Nesbitt at London’s Old Billingsgate, there were further surprises in the actor categories.

Best Actress

Lindsay Duncan won Best Actress for her portrayal of a frustrated middle-aged academic in Roger Michell’s Le Week-End, beating Judi Dench, Scarlett Johansson, Saoirse Ronan and Felicity Jones.

Taking to the stage, Duncan said: “If I were any happier, it would be unseemly. We had the most wonderful time making this film. We made the film we wanted to make.

“When we were doing publicity, Jim [Broadbent] said ‘Well, you know, we didn’t have much but we had what we needed.’ If you’ve got the right people, you’ve probably got what you need and we certainly did.”

She added: “You can’t play half of a couple who have been married for 30 years without someone pretty special and that’s the wonderful, legendary Jim Broadbent. I’m glad I was able to help you with your film career.

“I’m just glad I was old enough to play this part.”

Best Actor

James McAvoy’s role as a dirty, corrupt cop in Filth won him Best Actor in the face of fierce competition from Jim Broadbent, Steve Coogan, Tom Hardy and Jack O’Connell.

Accepting the award, McAvoy said: “I was thinking about ‘independent’ and what does it mean. You think of words like worthy, meaningful and depressing. Then I started to think ‘What does it really mean?’, and it means ‘on your own’.

“As independent filmmakers you can feel very much on your fucking own. Even when you’ve got friends who are giving you money and helping you make it, chances are the support and money they’re giving you isn’t humongous. You still feel on your own. But in this room tonight we’re not on our own, and that’s amazing.

“The most amazing films get made in the independent world. They don’t get seen by enough people. It’s not about production budgets, it’s about media and advertising budgets. We [Filth] had an amazing advertising campaign, by the way, from Lionsgate who sold the shit out of our film and thank you very much for that.

“But the large majority of independent films aren’t like that and I suppose I’m saying that’s a shame.

“So the British public are missing all these things they’re not being allowed to see simply because nine times out of ten we can’t afford pictures in magazines and that’s a shame.”

Best supporting

Imogen Poots took home the Best Supporting Actress award for her role as the tragic daughter of Paul Raymond in Michael Winterbottom’s The Look of Love, beating Kristin Scott Thomas, Mia Wasikowska, Shirley Henderson and Siobhan Finneran.

David Mackenzie’s prison drama, Starred Up, led the nominations with eight nods but secured just one award as Ben Mendelsohn picked up the Best Supporting Actor prize.

Screen Star of Tomorrow Chloe Pirrie won Most Promising Newcomer for her role in Shell, in which she plays the eponymous young woman who helps run a petrol station with her father in an isolated part of Scotland.

Thanking writer-director Scott Graham, Pirrie said: “It’s a privilege to be in this room and part of this event.”

Paul Wright won the Douglas Hickox Award for Best Debut Director for his film For Those in Peril while Steven Knight picked up the Best Screenplay prize for Locke, which unfolds in real-time, shot entirely in one car, starring Tom Hardy.

Wright thanked Warp Films for backing him “when I didn’t even have an idea” and added: “Hopefully there will be a second film. Who knows.”

Clio Barnard’s The Selfish Giant, nominated in seven categories, took home one for Best Technical Achivement with Amy Hubbard recognised for casting the film.

Best Documentary went to Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin’s Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer, beating among others Ken Loach’s Spirit of ‘45, and adding to an awards haul that includes the special jury prize at Sundance.

Lerner said: “Any day you beat Ken Loach at an awards ceremony is a good day. Ken’s the reason we started making films so it’s an honour to be even judged alongside him.”

After being snubbed at the European Film Awards the previous night, Abdellatif Kechiche’s Cannes-winner Blue is the Warmest Colour picked up Best International Independent Film, beating competition from Blue Jasmine, Frances Ha, The Great Beauty and Wadjda.

Outstanding contribution

As previously announced, Julie Walters was awarded the Richard Harris Award for outstanding contribution by an actor to British film, and Paul Greengrass the Variety Award, which recognises an actor, director, writer or producer who has helped to shine the international spotlight on the UK.

Walters said: “When I heard I was going to get this Richard Harris outstanding contribution award, my mind immediately pinged back to all those contributions that weren’t quite so outstanding.

“There was one in particular that whooshed back into my mind and it’s rather pertinent. It was in 1988 in Hungary and it was a film called Mack the Knife and was based on The Threepenny Opera - very, very loosly.

“I don’t think it ever got into the cinema but it certainly got reviewed because there was a magazine called City Limits, which was a bit like Time Out only on cheaper paper. It referred to the film as ‘A sizzling turd of a movie’. I hate that word, ‘movie’.

“In this film, I gave my Mrs Peachum to none other than Richard Harris’ Mr Peachum. I have to say that his fabulous wit, wisdom and Albert Hall-sized knowledge of most things and his great sense of fun and irreverence turned that piece of something into golddust for me. So this is just very very special because of that. Thank you, Richard. I’m really honoured.”

Team Loach

The Special Jury Prize went to Sixteen Films & Friends (aka Team Loach), in recognition of their contribution, bringing the work of Ken Loach to life.

Speaking about his team, the director of Kes, The Wind That Shakes the Barley and the upcoming Jimmy’s Hall said: “What has been extraordinary is that you wouldn’t think you would meet such a brilliant, generous, open, tolerant, kind group of people which - if you’re a director - you need because you drop a bollock every day and you need someone who will pick it up - and these do.

“They pull me through and somehow we get a film at the end. I owe them everything.”

The Raindance Award was won byThe Machine and the Best British Short by Z1.

In a joint statement, BIFAs directors Johanna von Fischer and Tessa Collinson said: “This year our independent jury had an extremely tough job, they were asked to choose from an impressive pool of talent and creativity in a year where the diversity of storytelling is more extreme than ever.

“Thanks to an independent film industry which encompasses so many different cultures, personalities, visions and voices, Britain is producing a new generation of fearless artists both behind and in front of the camera who represent that richness of our diverse British society.

“With so many of the films exploring themes about being less judgmental and more forgiving, this perhaps reflects a movement within British independent filmmaking that brings much hope for the future.”

This year’s jury comprised Penny Woolcock (chair), Antonia Campbell-Hughes, Art Malik, Ate de Jong, Bart Layton, James Floyd, Jill McCullough, Julien Temple, Liza Marshall, MyAnna Buring, Natascha McElhone, Pippa Harris, Roland Gift, Sally El Hosaini, Sandy Powell and Steve Hamilton Shaw.

BIFAs 2013: winners

Best British Independent Film
Sponsored by Moët & Chandon
Metro Manila

Best Director
Sponsored by AllCity & Intermission
Sean Ellis – Metro Manila

The Douglas Hickox Award [Best Debut Director]
Sponsored by 3 Mills Studios
Paul Wright – For Those in Peril

Best Screenplay
Steven Knight – Locke 

Best Actress
Sponsored by M.A.C Cosmetics
Lindsay Duncan – Le Week-end

Best Actor
Sponsored by BBC Films
James McAvoy – Filth

Best Supporting Actress
Imogen Poots – The Look Of Love

Best Supporting Actor
Sponsored by Sanderson & St Martins Lane
Ben Mendelsohn – Starred Up

Most Promising Newcomer
Sponsored by Studiocanal
Chloe Pirrie – Shell

Best Achievement In Production
Sponsored by Company3
Metro Manila

Best Technical Achievement
Sponsored by LightBrigade Media
Amy Hubbard – Casting – The Selfish Giant

Best Documentary
Pussy Riot - A Punk Prayer

Best British Short
Supported by BFI NET.WORK

Best International Independent Film
Blue is the Warmest Colour

The Raindance Award
Sponsored by Wentworth Media and Arts
The Machine 

The Richard Harris Award
Julie Walters

The Variety Award
Paul Greengrass

The Special Jury Prize
Sixteen Films & Friends (AKA Team Loach)