BIFA 2017: Discoveries

Friday, December 8, 2017


In many ways, the Discovery Award is at the core of what BIFA does: dedicated to shining a light on the work of independent filmmakers that are working outside of the mainstream, it rewards innovation, uniqueness of vision, maverick filmmaking and risk-taking, generally in fiction films with a budget under £500k. Sponsored by the Raindance Film Festival, this category embodies the ethos of the low-budget, high-output filmmaking found at Raindance and other independent film festivals around the UK.

Discovery is also about championing diversity; fittingly, the narratives of the five nominated films take place in five different countries. There are Nepalese high-wire artists who’ve escaped the sex trade, an American parolee working on a mid-western family farm, Syrian refugees risking their lives on the open sea, a single mother protecting her child from violent criminals; and a depiction of the true strength of women in times of war.

Like the characters who compel us throughout these films, British independent cinema has never looked more fearless.



A recently released convict finds himself trapped between his urban criminal past and his new life on probation as the only black man in a conservative white Wisconsin farming town.

BIFA Voters say:

‘Such a likeable film, with good cast and production values, and a story that felt like it stayed the right side of melodrama…If I saw this at a festival, it would feel like a genuine Discovery.’


In Another Life

Jason Wingard’s debut feature is a gripping, heartfelt portrayal of people who risk their lives to find safety – only to be met with closed borders. It is a timely reminder of the responsibilities we have to each other as humans, told through an emotionally arresting narrative.

BIFA Voters say:

‘Fantastic use of location, and powerful mix of drama with documentary footage. Beautifully shot, and the Black and White really focuses the story.’



After witnessing a murder, young single mother Isla is manipulated and threatened from all sides. To protect her son and escape their situation she must outwit an ambitious prosecutor, a corrupt detective and a desparate killer.

BIFA Voters say:

‘Gripping film. Great suspense. Clever story. Definitely compelling.’


My Pure Land

In a true-to-life Pakistani tale, Nazo, her mother and sister must defend their isolated farmhouse after a bitter family feud. Surrounded by armed men hired to take back the land and with only a handful of bullets left, their defeat seems inevitable. But their spirit is not to be underestimated…

BIFA Voters say:

‘Fantastic piece of film making, with an creative use of flash backs. Made all the more powerful by being based on a true story.’


Even When I Fall

Even When I Fall tells the incredible story of Circus Kathmandu, Nepal’s first and only circus, set up by survivors of child trafficking survivors to Indian circuses. It harnesses the visual power of performance to give a unique perspective into the complex world of human trafficking.

BIFA Voters say:

‘I thought this was a really moving and compellingly told documentary. The unique distribution and funding definitely make this a Discovery film.’


Keep tabs on our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram this Sunday 10 December to find out who wins in this and all the categories!

There will be treats from the red carpet, the ceremony and behind-the-scenes too!

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