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And the 2023 British Independent Film Awards Winners Are…..

The British Independent Film Awards (BIFA) winners were named last night during the annual ceremony at Old Billingsgate, with BIFA patron Ray Winstone opening the celebration of independent film, Lolly Adefope and Kiell Smith-Bynoe hosting the event with stars including Jodie Comer, Zawe Ashton, Asa Butterfield and Theo James in attendance to present awards.

Best British Independent Film, presented by Fiona Shaw, went to Andrew Haigh’s All of Us Strangers, a beautifully disquieting tale of a writer confronting his past, starring Andrew Scott. Haigh, previously nominated for BIFA awards for 45 Years in 2015 and Lean on Pete in 2018, also took home the prestigious Best Director award sponsored by Sky Cinema and Best Screenplay sponsored by Apple Original Films. Two winners were declared Best Supporting Actor from a shortlist of ten nominees, and Paul Mescal took home one of those trophies for his role in the film. All of Us Strangers won four awards on the night, adding to its three craft awards, announced in November: Best Cinematography sponsored by Harbor and Kodak for Jamie D. Ramsay, Best Editing for Jonathan Alberts and Best Music Supervision for Connie Farr, her second BIFA, following her win for Clio Barnard’s Ali & Ava in 2021.  

Best Lead Performance went to Mia McKenna-Bruce in Molly Manning Walker’s debut feature How to Have Sex, which follows three teenage girls navigating a wild summer holiday in Malia. Shaun Thomas won Best Supporting Performance for his role as Badger. The film won three BIFAs in total, including the previously announced win for Best Casting sponsored by Casting Society & Spotlight for Isabella Odoffin. 

Nathan Stewart-Jarrett and George MacKay were presented with the Best Joint Lead Performance award for Femme. The award was presented by 2021 and 2022 BIFA winners Adeel Akhtar and Rosy McEwen, Sam H Freeman and Ng Choon Ping’s tense, twisty revenge thriller added a third trophy to its craft wins – Best Costume Design for Buki Ebiesuwa and Best Make-Up & Hair Design for Marie Deehan.

Best Debut Director sponsored by BBC Film was presented to Savanah Leaf for Earth Mama, who also wrote the story of a pregnant single mother who embraces her community as she fights to reclaim her family. Best Debut Screenwriter sponsored by Film4 went to Nida Manzoor for her punch-packing comedy about two modern sisters navigating traditional values, Polite Society.

Breakthrough Producer sponsored by Pinewood and Shepperton Studios went to Theo Barrowclough for Scrapper, an uplifting story of a grieving young girl negotiating the reappearance of her very absent father, written and directed by debut feature maker Charlotte Regan.

Rye Lane star Vivian Oparah scored the 2023 Breakthrough Performance award for her role in Raine Allen-Miller’s refreshingly quirky Peckham-set rom-com debut, which had also received Best Original Music sponsored by Universal Music Publishing Group for Kwes.

Best Documentary Feature sponsored by Intermission Film went to If the Streets Were on Fire, Alice Russell’s debut film spotlighting the BikeStormz movement changing young lives, which also won this year’s Raindance Maverick Award. Best Debut Director – Documentary Feature went to Chloe Abrahams for her very personal unearthing of a hidden family history in The Taste of Mango

Aisling Bea presented Best British Short Film to Festival of Slaps, Abdou Cissé’s action-packed emotional rollercoaster exploring the misconceptions of Pan African parenting and the clash of modern life.

Justine Triet’s critically acclaimed, Palme d’Or winning journey into the depths of a couple’s relationship, Anatomy of a Fall secured itself another accolade, the 2023 BIFA for Best International Independent Film sponsored by Champagne Taittinger.

Previously announced craft winners who were celebrated at the ceremony included Mark Jenkin, who won Best Sound supported by Halo for his 1970s-set remote island mystery Enys Men and the two awards for Daniel Kaluuya and Kibwe Tavares’ future-set story of a dystopian London The Kitchen: Best Production Design sponsored by ATC & Broadsword for Nathan Parker and Best Effects for Richard Baker and the late Jonathan Gales.

The 2023 Richard Harris Award for Outstanding Contribution by an Actor to British Film was presented to Stephen Graham by his old friend Jodie Comer.

The Special Jury Prize, awarded by the BIFA Jury and presented by 2023 jury member Paapa Essiedu, went to We Are Parable, the grassroots company founded by Anthony and Teanne Andrews to deliver Black cinema to audiences in exciting, culturally relevant, unique ways, and setting a shining example of what can be achieved by bridging the gap between filmmakers and community.

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