Fittingly for an industry experiencing a flood a new tax-based film funds, Wednesday night's British Independent Film Awards (Bifa's) saw the unveiling of the latest venture to hit the market with bold claims.
Attended by actor Ewan McGregor, director Ken Loach and leading industry figures such as producer Jeremy Thomas and PFD agent Lindy King, the ceremony at London's Pacha nightclub acted as a springboard for Park Caledonia to launch three film partnerships.
The Glasgow-based independent financial services group, which sponsored this year's event, aims to invest in a slate of British-qualifying films worth£100m in terms of their total budgets. Like most of the funds currently touting themselves to filmmakers and investors in an increasingly competitive market, the company's ambitious goal depends on raising financing from investors as well as securing enough films.
Park Caledonia's three funds include Mezzanine Film Finance, a sale and leaseback model with some equity, and Studiofinance Stagenine, a production partnership with a development fund. The Raindance Raw Talent Programme, set up with the Raindance Film Festival, whose director Elliot Grove is founder of the Bifa's, is for films under£1m.
The prizes this year also had a Scottish bent, with Ken Loach's Sweet Sixteen, set just outside Glasgow, winning the prize for Best British Independent Film. The gritty tale of Scottish teenagers, which beat Bend It Like Beckham, Bloody Sunday, Morvern Callar and The Lawless Heart, is currently embroiled in a dispute with certification body the BBFC over its 18 rating for foul language.
Producer Rebecca O'Brien argues that the certification precludes the very people whom the film is about from seeing it and accused the BBFC of misrepresenting the film to MPs. Tommy Sheridan, member of the Scottish Parliament for the Glasgow Region, has written to the BBFC in support of the film.
A BBFC spokesperson denied any misrepresentation, saying that the public found the swearing offensive and the decision was in line with its guidelines, "which they knew when they made the film". At press time, O'Brien was hoping for the rating to be softened by local authorities in Scotland to a 15 certificate.
The other main awards saw Paul Greengrass winning best director for Bloody Sunday. James Nesbitt, who stars in the controversial film about Bloody Sunday, picked up the prize for best actor, while Samantha Morton won best actress for Morvern Callar.
Richard Harris, who died at the weekend, was honoured with an award for outstanding contribution by an actor. Another posthumous award, for lifetime achievement, went to George Harrison. McGregor collected the Variety UK Personality Award.
Best British Independent Film
James Nesbitt - Bloody Sunday
Samantha Morton - Morvern Callar
Most Promising Newcomer
Martin Compston - Sweet Sixteen
Paul Greengrass - Bloody Sunday
Tom Hunsinger & Neil Hunter - The Lawless Heart
Best Achievement in Production
24 Hour Party People
Best Technical Achievement
Alwin Kuchler, Dop - Morvern Callar
Best Foreign Film - Foreign Language
Outstanding Contribution by an Actor
Best Foreign Film - English Language
The Douglas Hickox Award, for a British director on their debut feature
Lindy Heymann & Christian Taylor - Showboy
The Lifetime Achievement Award
Special Jury Prize
Brian Tufano (Cinematographer)
Most Effective Distribution Campaign
Wendy Strike & Nick Moran - From Ilc - Christie Malry's Own Double Entry