2009 New Patrons Announced 12th British Independent Film Awards

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

BIFA ANNOUNCE DATE AND NEW PATRONS

TOP BRITISH TALENT BACK THE BIFAs 
DATE IS SET FOR 2009 
SUNDAY 6 DECEMBER

Three of Britain’s top internationally renowned stars are backing the British Independent Film Awards (BIFA) by becoming official patrons of the organisation. Helen Mirren, Michael Sheen and David Thewlis will join the prestigious list of other patrons including Mike Figgis, Tom Hollander, Adrian Lester, Ken Loach, Ewan McGregor, Samantha Morton, Bill Nighy, Trudie Styler, Tilda Swinton, Meera Syal, Ray Winstone and Michael Winterbottom.

“I am honoured and thrilled to become a Patron of BIFA. Especially, as last year’s awards made clear, it’s such a lively and exciting time for British independent filmmaking.” Michael Sheen

“Independent film is the beginning, the middle and the end in British film. Our industry depends on its success and every film-maker loves it, for it is where we find freedom and real expression. BIFA encourages and helps develop all our great British talent.” Helen Mirren

“Year after year British independent films prove that the British film industry is not only alive and well but strikingly vigorous and flourishing. I am very proud to be asked to be a patron and representative of this world-class movement.” David Thewlis

“We feel truly honoured to be joined by such wonderful new patrons”, say the team at BIFA, “Our patrons’ willingness to put their names to BIFA and actively show their support of British film has been an invaluable asset to both us and the film community we celebrate each year.”

The twelfth annual British Independent Film Awards will be held in Central London on Sunday 6 December 2009. The ceremony will celebrate the best of this year’s British and Independent film talent. Nominations and jury will be announced at the end of October.

For a film to be considered in any of BIFAs main categories, it must qualify as British, have a budget of no more than £10M (except where there is no substantial financial major studio support) and have a UK theatrical release or screening at a British based film festival between December 1, 2008 and November 30, 2009.

Last year BIFA celebrated a stellar year for independent British film with winners including Slumdog Millionaire, winner of Best British Film, Best Director for Danny Boyle and Most Promising Newcomer for Dev Patel; Hunger which won The Douglas Hickox Award (Best Debut Director) for Steve McQueen and Best Actor for Michael Fassbender; Happy Go Lucky, winner of the Best Supporting Actress Award for Alexis Zegermann and the Best Supporting Actor Award for Eddie Marsan. David Thewlis received The Richard Harris Award and Michael Sheen the Variety Award.

BIFA would like to thank its Sponsors including: UK Film Council, BBC Films. Chapter Media, The Creative Partnership, Film London, M.A.C, Raindance, Soho House and Variety.

For further press information, please contact Zoe Flower or Keeley Naylor at Emfoundation: 
zoe@emfoundation.com / keeley@emfoundation.com / 020 7247 4171

BIFA was created by Raindance in 1998

For further information on BIFA, please go to www.bifa.org.uk

NOTES TO EDITORS

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA 2009 
A film will be eligible for an Award if:

– It is intended for theatrical release, AND has had a public screening to a paying audience either on general release in the UK OR has screened at a British-based film festival between 1st December 2008 and 30th November 2009
– Where there is any major studio substantially funding a film, the total budget must not exceed £10M
– It has been produced or majority co-produced by a British company OR is in receipt of at least 51% of its budget from a British source or sources OR it qualifies as a British film under the DCMS guidelines AND includes sufficient creative elements from the UK
– BIFA also consider foreign independent films for the Best Foreign Independent Film category. Foreign films must have a British theatrical release during the eligibility period stated above
– Best British Short Film Award submissions: Any short film that has won an award at a film festival between 16th October 2008 and 15th October 2009 is eligible for consideration. A short film must be no longer than 40 minutes (including credits) and must qualify as British. 
– Films that have been entered previously are not eligible. Re-issues of previously released films are not eligible
All films submitted for consideration will be viewed by the Advisory Committee with the help of a nominated screening panel. The Advisory Committee will then decide the nominations by ballot.
All nominated films will be viewed by the Jury. The winners will be decided by a secret ballot.

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