Scottish filmmakers Will Anderson and Ainslie Henderson clinched the Powell And Pressburger Award for best film, the new main competition award at the Edinburgh Film Festival, with their debut feature A Cat Called Dom.
Anderson and Henderson both star in and co-direct the indie flick, which follows how Anderson deals with the grief of his mother’s cancer. In the film, the duo work on their animations and face the frustrations of trying to make this documentary. Whilst alone, Will turns to Dom, the animated cat that lives on his laptop screen.
The jury, comprised of president Gaylene Gould, producer Rosie Crerar, and author Sarah Winman, cited the “special collaboration” between the legendary British filmmakers Powell and Pressburger which they said “was grounded in deeply human stories and the belief that life can be magic” when handing the award to A Cat Called Dom.
Accepting the honour, Anderson and Henderson said: “To screen our first feature at EIFF was an honour… but to take away the first Powell & Pressburger Award is just so special. A Cat Called Dom is a film about embracing failure… after EIFF it now feels much more like a success.”
In other main competition awards, Edinburgh’s Audience Award, voted by the viewing public, was won by Hassan Nazer’s film Winners.
Produced by Nadira Murray and Paul Welsh, Winners is set in a deprived area of a small Iranian town where children are required to work to help support their families. Nine-year-old Yahya is one such child, his little hands scouring through massive piles of junk in search of hidden treasures. One day, Yahya strikes literal gold by finding an unclaimed Oscar statue, the curious item leading the boy into an adventure-filled journey that doubles as a loving ode to the history of Iranian cinema.
“Winning the audience award at EIFF means everything to me. I have been working towards this since I decided to become a filmmaker,” Nazer said.
“I make films for the audience and will continue to do so. It’s a great thing to be part of an ethnic minority living in Scotland where your vision is a mix of your background and new home. My aim is to always tie my cultures together and celebrate diversity through cinema. I’m very thankful our work has been recognised by Screen Scotland and EIFF.”
The Norman McLaren awards for British Short Animation went to Stay by Yu Sun and Karla Crome picked up the award for British Short Film with Canvas 5.
This was the 75th edition of the Edinburgh film festival and the first under the new leadership of creative director Kristy Matheson. The festival screened 91 new features with 42 films in the EIFF 2022 programme by women, agender, non-binary directors or co-directors.
Next year, the festival will shift dates and run from Friday 18th August – Saturday 26th August 2023.