In a star-studded ceremony at Old Billingsgate hosted by Ben Bailey Smith, the winners of the 25th British Independent Film Awards (BIFAs) were announced.
The award for Best British Independent Film, presented by Daisy Edgar-Jones, went to Aftersun, Charlotte Wells’ moving directorial debut centred on a daughter’s memorable childhood holiday with her father. Echoing Aleem Khan’s 2021 BIFA wins for After Love, Charlotte scooped three further BIFA awards – Best Director sponsored by Sky Cinema, The Douglas Hickox Award for Best Debut Director sponsored by BBC Film and Best Screenplay, to add to Aftersun’s three craft awards: Best Cinematography sponsored by Kodak and Dirty Looks for Gregory Oke, Best Editing for Blair McClendon and the new Best Music Supervision award for Lucy Bright.
Best Lead Performance went to Rosy McEwen and Best Supporting Performance to Kerrie Hayes for their roles in Georgia Oakley’s 1980s Section 28 era set Blue Jean, which also saw Georgia awarded the Best Debut Screenwriter sponsored by Film4 prize. Previously announced, the Best Casting sponsored by Casting Society and Spotlight award went to Shaheen Baig for her work on the film.
Breakthrough Performance sponsored by Netflix went to Safia Oakley-Green in The Origin, Andrew Cumming’s multi-nominated debut feature in which a nomadic tribe faces a terrifying ancient threat that comes when night falls.
Further new categories for 2022 saw Best Joint Lead Performance awarded to Tamara Lawrance and Letitia Wright for their roles as extraordinary real-life siblings who communicated only with each other in The Silent Twins, and Our River…Our Sky took home the Best Ensemble award for cast members including Zainab Joda, Darina Al Joundi, Amed Hashimi, Mahmoud Abo Al Abbas, Basim Hajar, Labwa Arab, Meriam Abbas and Siham Mustafa, who portray neighbours caught in Baghdad during the civil war of 2006.
Glory in the documentary awards categories went to Nothing Compares, a reflection on the life of fearless trailblazer Sinead O’Connor, which won both the Best Feature Documentary sponsored by Intermission and Best Debut Director – Feature Documentary BIFAs for director Kathryn Ferguson.
Hassan Nazer’s Iran-set Winners, in which three film lovers seek the owner of a very recognisable golden statuette, won this year’s Raindance Discovery Award, also scoring the Breakthrough Producer sponsored by Pinewood and Shepperton Studios award win for Nadira Murray.
Best British Short Film supported by BFI Network went to Too Rough, in which a young gay couple must avoid the threat of a homophobic and dysfunctional family.
Winning Best International Independent Film sponsored by Champagne Taittinger, Joachim Trier’s The Worst Person In The World follows one woman’s less than straightforward quest for love and meaning in the modern world.
Previously announced craft award winners were also honoured at the ceremony, including Jenny Beavan for Best Costume Design for her work on Mrs. Harris Goes To Paris, Matthew Herbert for Best Original Music sponsored by Universal Music Publishing Group for The Wonder, Eugene Souleiman and Scarlett O’Connell for Best Make-Up and Hair Design for Medusa Deluxe, Helen Scott for Best Production Design for Living, David Simpson for Best Effects for Men and Tim Harrison, Raoul Brand and Cassandra Rutledge for Best Sound supported by Halo to for gastronomic soundscape Flux Gourmet.
The 2022 Richard Harris Award for Outstanding Contribution by an Actor to British Film was presented to Samantha Morton.
The Special Jury Prize, awarded by the BIFA Main Jury and presented by 2022 jury member Jenna Coleman, was given to Open Door for their work helping talented young people without financial support or resources gain places at leading UK drama schools.