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Sailcloth Awarded Grand Jury Prize for Short Film at Rhode Island Int. Film Festival

UK short film, SAILCLOTH by Elfar Adalsteins and starring John Hurt has been awarded the highest accolade at the 15th Annual Rhode Island International Film Festival - the Grand Jury Prize for Best Short. As a result of winning at Rhode Island the film automatically qualifies for consideration for an Oscar® by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences™.

'Sailcloth by Elfar Adalsteins is a brilliant and poignant work that touches at the core of the human experience. Brilliantly acted and expertly realized, leaves little doubt that a new creative voice in world cinema has burst upon the scene.' George T. Marshall, Chair of RIIFF Jury.

This year RIIFF received a record 4,537 submissions from filmmakers representing more than 60 countries worldwide. Sailcloth’s writer and director Elfar Adalsteins was on hand to receive the prize at the festival; which also marked the film’s World Premiere:

‘It is an absolute privilege to receive this award at Rhode Island – we couldn’t ask for a better platform to launch our film. It was a true honour to partake in a festival that really puts the interests of filmmakers first.’

The film tells the story of an elderly widower (played by John Hurt) who veils his disappearance from a nursing home to embark on one final journey on his beloved sailboat. Filmed on location in beautiful village of St Mawes in Cornwall, John Hurt was drawn to the project after reading Elfar Adalsteins’ script and was quick to spot his potential: 

'I read the script, I liked the idea and I met Elfar and it was quite obvious that he was a player and that cemented it for me.'

The 17-minute short is completely non-dialogue and the Oscar-nominated actor usually famed for his dramatic speaking roles relished the chance to take on such a part:

'The spoken word is not essential in film - it can be useful but it's wonderful if it is not necessary.'



UK urban drama HUSH YOUR MOUTH was awarded top prizes at Festival Bragacine in Portugal. At the Augusta Awards 2010, HUSH YOUR MOUTH was awaded the Grand prize for BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM and director TOM TYRWHITT won the award for BEST DIRECTOR.

This gritty micro-budget drama featuring a largely young cast of talented new-comers has been described by critics as "a seething, stylish and raw piece of cinema".


King's Speech, Monsters, Arbor, Never Let Me Go lead noms for British Independent Film Awards


The nominations and jury members for the thirteenth annual Moët British Independent Film Awards were announced today, Monday 1st November at St Martins Lane, London by Jared Harris. The Film receiving the most nominations is The King’s Speech with eight, including Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor and two Best Supporting Actor nominations.  Monsters, Never Let Me Go and The Arbor all received six nominations, Four Lions five and four nods went to Another Year, Made in Dagenham and Brighton Rock.

Nominations for Best Actor go to Jim Broadbent (Another Year), Riz Ahmed (Four Lions), Colin Firth (The King’s Speech), Scoot McNairy (Monsters) and Aidan Gillen (Treacle Junior).  Leading ladies battling for the Best Actress are Manjinder Virk (The Arbor), Ruth Sheen (Another Year), Andrea Riseborough (Brighton Rock), Sally Hawkins (Made in Dagenham) and hoping to repeat last year’s success, Carey Mulligan (Never Let Me Go).

Newcomer Gareth Edwards receives an impressive four nominations for his directorial debut Monsters; categories include Best British Independent Film sponsored by Moët & Chandon, Best Director, The Douglas Hickox Award for Best Debut Director and Best Technical Achievement. Both Andrea Riseborough (Brighton Rock) and Manjinder Virk (The Arbor) are nominated in two categories, Most Promising Newcomer and Best Actress, with The Arbor also competing for Best British Documentary alongside Enemies of the People, Exit Through the Gift Shop, Fire In Bablyon and Waste Land.

The Raindance Award nominees for 2010 include Brilliant Love, Legacy, Son Of Babylon, Treacle Junior and Jackboots on Whitehall.  This Award honours exceptional achievement for filmmakers working against the odds, often with little or no industry support.  Elliot Grove, Founder Raindance Film Festival and BIFA added:  "The nominees for this year's Raindance Award show how vibrant and strong the state of independent film is in this country, despite the economic uncertainty. I am thrilled that we are able to support such great films, and know we'll see many more in the coming years"

The Pre-Selection Committee of 70 members viewed nearly 200 films, out of which they selected the nominations, which were decided by ballot. The winners of The Moët British Independent Film Awards are decided by an independent jury comprised of leading professionals and talent from the British film industry. The Jury for 2010 will include:  Mags Arnold (Editor), Finola Dwyer (Producer), Matthew Goode (Actor), Matt Greenhalgh (Writer), Andy Harries (Producer), Gemma Jones (Actress), David Mackenzie (Director), James Marsh (Director), Hannah McGill (Writer, Critic & Festival Programmer), Sean Pertwee (Actor), Jamie Sives (Actor), Jason Solomons (Film Critic), Gary Williamson (Production Designer).

The winners will be announced at the much anticipated 13th awards ceremony which will take place on Sunday 5 December at the impressive Old Billingsgate in London and will be hosted for the sixth year by James Nesbitt.

BIFA are proud to announce the following nominees for this year’s awards (after jump):


Yorkshire/Iraqi feature gets two awards in Berlin, makers donate 10k prize to charity

Son of BabylonWhile BAFTA was making history on Sunday with all four directing awards going to women, Yorkshire based Mohamed Al Daradji's Iraq set feature follow-up to Ahlaam became the only British film* to take any awards at the 60th Berlinale. Following its success in Sundance, Son of Babylon - a road movie that looks, with 'humor and lightness' at reconciliation and healing in post-Saddam Iraq - took the Amnesty International Film Prize Award and The Peace Prize Award.

Al-Daradji said "I would like to thank the juries who are honouring SON OF BABYLON with such prestigious awards for the film and my country, Iraq. I would like to dedicate this award to our IRAQ'S MISSING Campaign. I hope through these awards we will  be able to give answers to my main character Shehzad Hussen who for the last 22 years has been searching for her husband and also for my sister whose husband disappeared 5 months ago."

During the Berlin Film Festival, ‘SON OF BABYLON’ had five fully sold out screenings with standing ovations, resulting in the film being in the top five for the audience choice award in the Panorama section. The producers of the film have pledged that both prize awards, which total 10,000 Euros, will go directly to the IRAQ’S MISSING campaign as they aim to communicate the extent of the genocide.

*actually an 8-party UK / Iraq / France / UAE / Eqypt / Palestine / Netherlands co-production


Haile Gerima's 'Teza', from Ethiopia, wins Africa's Golden Yennenga Stallion

teza_01In the heat of Bollywoods' renewal, it is interesting to read of the Fespaco Film Awards In Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso, where Ethiopian Haile Gerima has continued the film's awards success, nabbing the top African film prize, for his feature Teza. It tells of the disillusionment of a young Ethiopian who returns from his studies in Germany to question his beliefs amidst a country under the brutal rule of Haile Mariam Mengistu.

(from BBC online) At the end of the week-long Fespaco film awards in hot, dusty Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, the BBC's James Copnall looks back at the films on show, and the delights and gripes of participants, at the event sometimes described as Africa's answer to the Oscars.

Teza, by the Ethiopian Haile Gerima, was an extremely popular winner of the Golden Yennenga Stallion - African film's top prize. A roar went around the 4th August Stadium in Ouagadougou when the prize was announced at the closing ceremony.

The film's main character, Anberber, heads to Germany to pursue his studies.


"We're coming down to the ground" as Slumdog Sweeps Up Oscars

india2.jpgI've been searching around trying to find a feed of the Oscars. Finally find an unofficial one on and arrive just as Heath Ledger's name is announced. There's wet eyes all over the place and for once it seems genuine.

There's so much I would like to say about Slumdog Millionaire, but like all my thoughts relating to India since getting back in March last year, I've not been able to put them down. Other than the few bits I wrote here that ended up in the Goa Herald (and these pics), it's something I guess I'll express when the time is right. In the meantime it's tempting to just talk about the more easy (but rarely discussed) subject of the business issues around Slumdog.

I mean, forget Shane Meadow's Eurostar bankrolled Somers Town, the 'three muskateers' of director Boyle, writer Beufoy and exec producer (and Celador chair) Paul Smith have pulled off the remarkable whammy of taking a multi billion dollar entertainment franchise and its cash, and building an Oscar winner around it. For those, like me, who question how much sponsor funded movies will erode the quality of feature films, a bag of shiny awards makes a pretty strong argument about what is possible.

india1.jpgTho it seems more likely that it's the film's combination of internationalism and hope in the face of poverty - which chimes with both the economic mood and Obama's 'new era of international dialogue and intelligence'  - than the film itself which is a little stereotyped and simplistic - and quite heavily criticised in India. Rumour has it Fox planned to send the film straight to video. Nevertheless, to see the country and her people again on the big screen, shot brilliantly, in a format that is accesible and entertaining to lots of people, and to know this is the Academy's film of the year does, ultimately, feel good and right. And Celedor backing or not, it's still a remarkable success for a film that was funded and produced by the UK yet never sets foot here.

Watching Resul Pookutty pick up one of India's five Oscars of the night (for Sound Mixing) just now was also rather special.



India gets first Globe on night of international success

slumdog.jpgOne of India's best loved film composers, AR Rahman, picked up the country's first Golden Globe, on a night which saw Danny Boyle's Mumbai-set Slumdog Millionaire take home four awards, including Best film, Best screenplay and Best director. In an evening of international success, Kate Winslett collected two acting awards, with Sally Hawkins and Tom Wilkinson completing the British grab, with Colin Farrell, Heath Ledger and Gabriel Byrne also winning with only three of the 14 film categories going to American films or talent (Pixar, Bruce Springsteen and Mickey Rourke).




Touch of Gold at Globes 09 as nominations announced

A day after the Film Council declared 2007 the best year for British film exports since 1995, there's a bumper crop of nominations in the 2009 Golden Globes. From the BBC :

Kate Winslet, Ralph Fiennes, Emma Thompson and Dame Judi Dench are among the British actors to feature on this year's Golden Globe shortlist...

Danny Boyle, Stephen Daldry and Winslet's husband Sam Mendes swell the UK contingent further with three of the five nominations in the best director category.

Winners in full after the jump.



Slumdog, Hunger Shines at BIFAs

slumdog.jpgPicking up Best Film and Director at the BIFAs for his Mumbai set feature, Slumdog Millionaire, Danny Boyle, who like many fell in love with the city, referred to the tragic events of the week : "It is weird to win this at the end of what's been a terrible week. The human spirit is dominant there. They will overcome, you can bet on it."

The film picked up three awards, and should boost the Oscar buzz already surrounding the film. In other wins, Man on a Wire received Best documnetary, Simon Ellis's feted Soft picked up Best Short, and Steve McQueen won the Douglas Hickox award for best British newcomer for Hunger, which won three prizes.


British Independent Film Award nominations announced

shifty2.jpgSteve McQueen's Bobby Sands biopic Hunger battles it out with Martin McDonagh's In Bruges, James Marsh's Man on A Wire, Danny Boyle's LFF closer Slumdog Millionaire and Shane Meadow's Somers Town in the nominations for the Best British Feature film at the 2008 BIFA Awards.

The films receiving the most nominations are Hunger and In Bruges tied with seven nominations each. Slumdog Millionaire follows with six, Shifty (pictured), one of the first from the Film London Microwave slate, receives five nominations, Somers Town, Son of Rambow and The Duchess hold four nominations each. Other films with multiple nominations are The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and Happy-Go-Lucky both receiving three, and Man on Wire, The Daisy Chain, Eden Lake and The Escapist receiving two each.  There is an unprecedented number of twenty-three other nominated films throughout the categories.

The 11th awards ceremony will take place on Sunday 30 November at the Old Billingsgate Market in London and will be hosted by James Nesbitt.