8th Annual BRITISH INDEPENDENT FILM AWARDS
“A Year of Diversity in British Cinema”
Hammersmith Palais, London, November 30, 2005.
The rich diversity of British film making this year can clearly be seen in the results of the British Independent Film Awards (BIFA) announced tonight, where top honours are shared between director Fernando Meirelles’ sweeping tale of romance and politics, The Constant Gardener, and the claustrophobic horror of Neil Marshall’s The Descent.
Brazilian Meirelles’ African-set The Constant Gardener is the big winner, taking three top awards – BEST ACTOR, Ralph Fiennes, BEST ACTRESS, Rachel Weisz, and BEST FILM.
Marshall’s leaner budgeted The Descent, which has become a box office success at home and abroad, wins him BEST DIRECTOR and also takes the BEST TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT Award for the film’s editor, Jon Harris.
The success in the awards of The Constant Gardener is a further triumph for UK producer Simon Channing Williams, whose Vera Drake dominated last year’s BIFAs, scooping six awards including the prestigious Best Film and Best Director trophies.
The other awards categories show an equally eclectic mix: Scottish director Annie Griffin wins the DOUGLAS HICKOX (DEBUT DIRECTOR) Award for Festival her black comedy set during the annual Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Griffin made her mark as a writer with the acclaimed TV series, The Book Room.
BEST FOREIGN INDEPENDENT FILM is awarded to Downfall, the German director Oliver Hirschbiegel’s account of Adolf Hitler’s final days in his Berlin bunker as told by his secretary, while BEST DOCUMENTARY is Sean McAllister’s The Liberace of Baghdad, focusing on Iraq’s most famous pianist Samir Peter holed up in a Baghdad hotel as he waits for his visa which will grant him a new life in America.
BEST SCREENPLAY is given to Frank Cottrell Boyce for Millions. And the SPECIAL JURY PRIZE is awarded to industry veteran, producer Sandy Lieberson.
Actresses do well in the awards; one of our most seen young talents, Rosamund Pike takes the BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS/ACTOR Award for her role as Elizabeth Malet in The Libertine.
MOST PROMISING NEWCOMER Award goes to actress Emily Barclay in the UK/New Zealand co-production In My Father’s Den, the family-drama-with-hidden-secrets story of a disillusioned war journalist’s return home.
Keira Knightley receives the VARIETY UK PERSONALITY Award, and Tilda Swinton is the recipient of this year’s RICHARD HARRIS AWARD, given annually to recognise outstanding achievement to the craft.
Best British Independent Film:
The Constant Gardener
Ralph Fiennes – The Constant Gardener
Rachel Weisz – The Constant Gardener
Best Supporting Actor/Actress:
Most Promising Newcomer:
Neil Marshall – The Descent
Frank Cottrell Boyce – Millions
Douglas Hickox Award (Debut Director):
Annie Griffin – Festival
Best Technical Achievement:
Jon Harris, Editing – The Descent
Best Achievement in Production:
Best Foreign Film:
The Liberace of Baghdad
Best Short Film:
The Raindance Award:
Richard Harris Award:
Presented to Tilda Swinton
Special Jury Award:
Presented to Sandy Liebersen
Variety UK Personality of the Year Award:
Presented to Keira Knightley
Hosting the 8th BIFA awards is James Nesbitt, with presenters including Hugh Dancy, Vanessa Redgrave, Kevin Macdonald, Ken Loach, John Simm, Amanda Donohoe, Helen McCrory, Imelda Staunton, Phil Davis and Joely Richardson.