BIFA (the British Independent Film Awards) has long been an industry insider. Now sponsored by Moët Chandon champagne, it is known as the platform for rising British and Irish film talent, from auteurs like Andrea Arnold to globally recognised actors like Michael Fassbender. The BIFAs are comparable to such globally-known ceremonies like the Cesars in France or the Goyas in Spain.
This year’s awards ceremony, which The Luxury Channel was delighted to attend, was held at the Old Billingsgate building and was hosted by Richard Ayoade. Major winners on the night included Kate Winslet, who received the Variety Award, which recognises a director, actor, writer or producer who has made a global impact and helped to focus the international spotlight on the UK. The Richard Harris Award for Outstanding Contribution by an Actor to British Film was presented to Chiwetel Ejiofor.
The movie Ex Machina, which stars Alicia Vikander, was the big winner with four awards: Best British Independent Film, Best Director and Best Screenplay for Alex Garland and Outstanding Achievement in Craft for its Visual Effects by Andrew Whitehurst. The film will be screened in 74 cinemas across the country on Sunday 13th December as part of a landmark BIFA screening series supported by the BFI.
Acting awards were spread across the board: Saoirse Ronan picked up Best Actress for Brooklyn and Tom Hardy won Best Actor for his dual role as Ronnie and Reggie Kray in Legend. UK favourite and BAFTA winner Olivia Colman won her third BIFA for her Best Supporting Actress performance in The Lobster, and Brendan Gleeson won Best Supporting Actor for Suffragette. Colin Farrell presented the Most Promising Newcomer Award to Abigail Hardingham for her breakthrough performance in Nina Forever.
The Special Jury Prize was presented to Chris Collins, the BFI executive who died late last year. Director of the BFI Lottery Film Fund Ben Roberts said, “This is a really wonderful tribute to Chris. He is greatly missed, but his contribution to so many films and filmmakers continues to burn brightly. A heartfelt thanks to the BIFA jury.”
In the closely-fought Best Documentary category, Dark Horse: The Incredible True Story of Dream Alliance won out over Amy, How To Change The World, Palio and A Syrian Love Story.
Julie Nollet, Marketing & Communications Director at Moët Hennessy UK Ltd, commented that “as a longtime supporter of British film, Moët & Chandon is delighted to celebrate the very well deserved winners.” Guests joined in pouring Moët & Chandon Champagne into a giant pyramid to toast a year of amazing film achievement, and were also gifted with a bottle to take home.
For more information and full list of winners, please click here.