Other awards were presented to Andrea Arnold, Nira Park and Jane Goldman.

British actress Sheila Hancock was honoured today with the Women in Film and TV lifetime achievement award, in recognition of a film and television career spanning 50 years.

She was presented with her award at a lunchtime ceremony, which was hosted by Julie Walters at London’s Park Lane Hilton. The event marked the 21st anniversary of Women In Film And Television (WFTV).

In other prizes, Carey Mulligan won the Pinewood Studios Best Performance award for her roles in An Education and Never Let Me Go, while Fish Tank director Andrea Arnold collected the Director Award. She has just finished shooting her latest project, a film adaptation of Wuthering Heights, in Yorkshire.

Big Talk producer Nira Park was presented with her Producer Award by Nick Frost, the star of her films Hot Fuzz and Shaun Of The Dead. Meanwhile, Jane Goldman won the UKFC Writing Award for her screenplays which include Kick Ass, Stardust and the upcoming The Woman in Black, which is currently shooting at Pinewood.

The Business Award was handed to Lisbeth Savill, head of film and television at London media law firm Olswang.

Chief executive of Women in Film and TV, Kate Kinninmont, said: “There are huge numbers of talented women coming through the UK’s film schools, making award-winning short films and TV shows; yet as far as directing feature films are concerned, we are still only snipping away at the celluloid ceiling.

“But the number of women at this year’s awards ceremony highlights the huge amount of female talent that is out there and we are working towards the day when we break through the celluloid ceiling and all talented people reach their goals, despite their gender.”