Sweet success for American Honey at BIFA Awards

Coming-of-age drama American Honey was the big winner at the British Independent Film Awards.

The movie, which stars Shia LaBeouf and Sasha Lane, was named best British independent film, while Sasha won the best actress award, film-maker Andrea Arnold took the best director award and Robbie Ryan’s cinematography was rewarded with the outstanding achievement in craft honour.

Ken Loach’s film I, Daniel Blake, the winner of the prestigious Palme D’Or at the Cannes Film festival, was also celebrated at the ceremony, with star Dave Johns named best actor and his co-star Hayley Squires named most promising newcomer.

Moonlight, an American film about a young black man growing up in Miami, won best international independent film, the only category open to non-UK film.

Naomie Harris, who stars in the film, was presented with The Variety Award by director Danny Boyle for her work on keeping the international film spotlight on the UK.

The Richard Harris Award, which recognises outstanding contribution to British film by an actor, was presented to Alison Steadman by Richard Harris’ granddaughter Ella Harris and Alison’s co-star from Life Is Sweet, Claire Skinner.

American Honey will be screened in 25 Vue, Odeon and Everyman cinemas across the country on December 11, as the first in the BIFA Independents screening series supported by the BFI.

Under The Shadow, a horror film set as a mother and daughter struggle to cope with the terrors of the post-revolution, war-torn Tehran of the 1980s, scooped three awards.

It won the best screenplay prize, the Douglas Hickox award for best debut director for Babak Anvari and Avin Manshadi, the film’s nine-year-old star, won best supporting actress.

Brett Goldstein was named best supporting actor for his performance in Adult Life Skills and the film’s writer Rachel Tunnard won the inaugural best debut screenwriter award.

Notes on Blindness was named best documentary while Camille Gatin received the breakthrough producer award for her debut project The Girl With All The Gifts and cult comedy The Greasy Strangler won The Discovery Award.

The Best British Short Film award was presented to Jacked and the Special Jury Prize was presented to Clare Binns, director of programming at Picturehouse cinemas, for her efforts in bringing independent film to new audiences.

The 19th Bifa ceremony was hosted by Jennifer Saunders at Old Billingsgate.

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