EIFF announces awards

Pikadero and Before Love among winners.

by Amber Wilkinson

Joseba Usabiaga and Bárbara Goenaga as Ane and Gorka in Pikadero
Joseba Usabiaga and Bárbara Goenaga as Ane and Gorka in Pikadero
Ben Sharrock's debut Pikadero was announced as the winner of the Michael Powell Award for best British feature film at the 70th Edinburgh International Film Festival today. The romantic comedy, written in the Basque language, tells the story of a couple's fledgling relationship that comes under pressure because they can't get time alone. You can read what he told us about the film here.

The jurors also gave a special mention to Brakes, directed by Mercedes Grower, which received its World Premiere at the Festival.

The Michael Powell Jury - which included Kim Cattral, Iciar Bollain and Clancy Brown - said: “We wanted to recognise the very personal and individual voice of director Ben Sharrock for his film Pikadero. In a year when the jury viewed a selection of very distinctive and different films his film really stood out.”

Ben Sharrock said: “I am absolutely thrilled and honoured to receive the Michael Powell Award. It is an incredible feeling. It is so valuable to have this kind of recognition for Pikadero in the UK. It is awards and recognition like this that help us get the film out to as wide an audience as possible.

Suntan
Suntan
"We have been lucky enough to screen Pikadero in different countries around the world but it has been a very special experience having the UK Premiere here at EIFF and showing it to audiences in my home city. I am extremely grateful and I would like to thank the jury, the festival team and Mark Adams. Finally, I want to thank everyone who was involved in this film for all their talent and hard work. What a journey.”

The award for Best Performance in a British feature film was given to actress Catrin Stewart for her role in The Library Suicides.

The Michael Powell Jury said: “We wanted to recognise the striking performance by Catrin Stewart in The Library Suicides. The complexities and subtleties of playing twin characters is challenging and she managed to achieve the rare feat of making each of the two roles she played truly distinctive.”

Catrin Stewart said: “Thank you EIFF. I feel hugely honoured to be given this award. It was my first feature film role and a fantastic challenge to play two characters side by side. I loved working with the wonderful Euros Lyn and Fflur Dafydd's exciting script. It was also very special for me to make a film in Welsh, and I'm very proud of what we have achieved. Diolch yn fawr.”

The jury also gave a special mention to David Sillars for his role in Seat in Shadow.

The award for Best International Feature Film went to Argyris Papadimitropoulos’ Suntan, which received its UK Premiere at this year’s Festival. The winner was chosen by the International Jury comprised of actor Angus Macfadyen, actress and producer Sadie Frost and Editor of Screen International, Matt Mueller.

The International Jury - including Angus Macfadyen, Sadie Frost and Matt Mueller - said: “While there were many outstanding films in the international competition, SUNTAN is the title that really resonated with us. Argyris Papadimitropolous’s film is a compelling and unflinching portrait of one man’s journey from infatuation to desperation, marked out by a truly great performance from its lead actor, Efthymis Papadimitriou.”

Argyris Papadimitropoulos said: "Back in the late '90s I was a student in the UK. All the films that were awarded in the Edinburgh International Film Festival were part of the conversation among us. We would go and watch everything with an Edinburgh laurel on the poster. Little did I know that 15 years later I would be so honoured as to be the recipient of such an award. I can't wait to print new posters. Thank you to the lovely people of the Festival and the amazing jury, I could not be happier."

The award for Best Documentary Feature Film went to Johan Grimonprez’s Shadow World, concerning the shocking realities of the global arms trade.

Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud embraces US President George W. Bush and shakes hands after presenting him with the King Abdul Aziz Order of Merit 14 January 2008 at the Riyadh Palace in the Saudi capital in Shadow World
Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud embraces US President George W. Bush and shakes hands after presenting him with the King Abdul Aziz Order of Merit 14 January 2008 at the Riyadh Palace in the Saudi capital in Shadow World Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
The Documentary Jury - Steve Abbott, Fife-native actor Dougray Scott and film executive Tejinder Jouhal - said: “The jury felt there was an exceptionally high quality of films presented in the documentary section this year but, for us, the clear winner was Shadow World. Quite simply, it is an extraordinary film. A particularly powerful, poignant and provocative documentary, this film asked critical questions that continue to resonate. Director Johan Grimonprez and writer Andrew Feinstein pose the essential question: will we be allowed to choose peace over the business of war?”

Johan Grimonprez said: “In an interview James Baldwin once said: ‘What we call history is perhaps a way of avoiding responsibility for what has happened, is happening, in time.’ I hope that Shadow World somewhat is able to point at how we can actually rewrite that reality. And it’s so wonderful that EIFF honours the effort of so many people, not in the least Andrew Feinstein, the writer of The Shadow World, but also the whole team that was able to get this different story out there. A big tanx, truly.”

Igor Kovalyov's Before Love was named Best Short Film, with a special mention going to Scott Whitfield's Murderous Injustice.

The Short Film Jury - Rebecca Mark-Lawson, Hilary Davis and Ashley Horner - said: “The film stood out to the jury because the director gave us a unique cinematic experience. Beautiful and stylish animation explored a bizarre love triangle with a fascinating female lead.”

Voted for by the Festival audience, the McLaren Award for Best British Animation, supported by the British Council, this year goes to Simon's Cat - Off To The Vet by director Simon Tofield.

Taika Waititi's comedy adventure yarn Hunt For The Wilderpeople was the winner of the Festival’s Audience Award.

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