2006 British Independent Film Awards

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Photo by Alan Diment. Shane Meadows, director of This is England – the top prize winner of the 2006 British Independent Film Awards at the Hammersmith Palais in London on Nov. 29.

Coming-of-age skinhead drama This is England claims the top prize, while Kevin Macdonald receives Best Director for The Last King of Scotland at this year’s British Independent Film Awards.

An age gap of nearly 70 years separate the oldest and youngest recipients at last night’s ceremony at the Hammersmith Palais in London. Fourteen-year-old Thomas Turgoose proved a hugely popular early winner when he picked up the Most Promising Newcomer prize for his performance in Shane Meadows’ This is England. In his acceptance speech, Turgoose described making the film as “the best experience I’ve ever had as a kid” before movingly dedicating the award to his late mother. Leslie Phillips, at 82 – not quite as young but still very sprightly – picked up the Best Supporting Actor award for his role in Venus. He too paid tribute to his mother – who was tragically killed in a mugging – saying “by God she’d have been proud” of his win.

The BIFAs, now in their ninth year, are regarded as the opening salvo of the award season which culminates with the Oscars in February. In order to be eligible, films have to be majority produced by a British company and not be the product of a single studio or have a budget of more than eight-million pounds. The awards are the brainchild of Raindance founder Eliot Grove, who feels that there is a need to recognize that “in Britain there is so much talent making great films.”

There was certainly talent in abundance at the ceremony, with special awards going to Jim Broadbent, Ken Loach and Helen Mirren. Mirren, introduced by presenter and friend Charles Dance as “a cross between Peggy Ashcroft and Janis Joplin”, received the Variety UK Personality of the Year award. She took the opportunity to pay a timely tribute to the director Robert Altman, with whom she worked on the film Gosford Park. Mirren said he was “the great independent filmmaker because of his independence of thought and of mind. He was courageous not just in his filmmaking, but also in politics, with the courage to stand up when everyone else was against him.”

The awards saw one or two surprise winners. Mirren was beaten to the Best Actress honor by Red Road star Kate Dickie, while Dickie’s co-star Tony Curran claimed Best Actor. Both appeared genuinely amazed to have beaten off such formidable competition.

The acceptance speeches were generally of the “I’d like to thank ” variety, although the staunchly left-wing director Loach sounded a more political note by wishing for an “independent British foreign policy ” to accompany his prize. With the audience in full-on celebratory mode, the overall mood of the evening suggested that it has been a very good year for independent British filmmaking. Curran summed up this feeling in his speech by saying, “God bless British independent film and long may you continue to rock the world!”

The following is a list of all nominees and winners:

BEST BRITISH INDEPENDENT FILM
The Last King of Scotland
The Queen
Red Road
This is England
The Wind That Shakes the Barley

BEST DIRECTOR
• Kevin Macdonald – The Last King of Scotland
Stephen Frears – The Queen
Michael Caton Jones – Shooting Dogs
Shane Meadows – This is England
Ken Loach – The Wind that Shakes the Barley

BEST ACTOR
Forest Whitaker – The Last King of Scotland
Peter O’Toole – Venus
Cillian Murphy – The Wind that Shakes the Barley
• Tony Curran – Red Road
James McAvoy – The Last King of Scotland

BEST ACTRESS
Helen Mirren – The Queen
• Kate Dickie – Red Road
Frances de la Tour – The History Boys
Robin Wright Penn – Breaking and Entering
Juliette Binoche – Breaking and Entering

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR / ACTRESS
Martin Compston – Red Road
• Leslie Phillips – Venus
Vanessa Redgrave – Venus
Joseph Gilgun – This is England
Stephen Graham – This is England

MOST PROMISING NEWCOMER (ON SCREEN)
Jodie Whittaker – Venus
• Thomas Turgoose – This is England
Samuel Barnett – The History Boys
Harry and Luke Treadaway – Brothers of the Head
Dominic Cooper – The History Boys
Rafi Gavron – Breaking and Entering

BEST SCREENPLAY
Alan Bennett – The History Boys
• Peter Morgan – The Queen
Hanif Kureishi – Venus
Shane Meadows – This is England
Peter Morgan & Jeremy Brock – The Last King of Scotland

BEST FOREIGN INDEPENDENT FILM
Volver
Cache
The Beat My Heart Skipped
Brick
Hard Candy

THE DOUGLAS HICKOX AWARD
(BEST DEBUT DIRECTOR)
• Menhaj Huda – Kidulthood
Paul Andrew Williams – London to Brighton
Andrea Arnold – Red Road
Tom Vaughan – Starter For Ten
Caradog W James – Little White Lies

BEST BRITISH DOCUMENTARY
The Road to Guantanamo
Blindsight
The Great Happiness Space
The Pervert’s Guide To Cinema
Unknown White Male

BEST TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT
The Last King of Scotland – Cinematography: Anthony Dod Mantle
This is England – Music: Ludovico Einaudi (Original Music)
The Wind That Shakes The Barley – Cinematography: Barry Ackroyd
The Queen – Make-Up: Daniel Phillips
The Queen – Production Design: Alan MacDonald

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN PRODUCTION
London to Brighton
Kidulthood
Shooting Dogs
The Road to Guantanamo
Severance

BEST BRITISH SHORT
Cubs
Ex Memoria
The 10th Man
Who I Am & What I Want
At the End of the Sentence

THE RAINDANCE AWARD
The Ballad of AJ Weberman
London to Brighton
Scenes of a Sexual Nature

BEST 15 SECOND SHORT
Chrysanthemums the Word
What’s the Point?
Fate and Mr McKinley
Death of the Dinosaurs
Ah, Youth

THE VARIETY UK PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR
Helen Mirren

THE RICHARD HARRIS AWARD
(OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO BRITISH FILM BY AN ACTOR)
Jim Broadbent

THE SPECIAL JURY PRIZE
Ken Loach

This year’s jury, which will be chaired by Sandy Lieberson, consists of Reuben Barnes, Martin Childs, Anne V Coates, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Alan Cumming, Leo Davis, Anna Friel, Jason Isaacs, Mick Jones, Damian Lewis, Helen McCrory, Damien O’Donnell, Kelly Reilly, Martin Sherman and Colin Salmon.

© 2006 Alan Diment. All rights reserved.

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