Hide And Seek wins Michael Powell at EIFF

Ice Poison, My Name Is Salt and Eddie Marsan also win awards.

by Amber Wilkinson

Hide And Seek won the Michael Powell award
Hide And Seek won the Michael Powell award
Ice Poison, My Name Is Salt, Hide And Seek and actor Eddie Marsan were named as winners at the 68th Edinburgh International Film Festival, held at Filmhouse today, hosted by Moviejuice presenter Grant Lauchlan.

The ceremony took place ahead of Sunday’s Closing Night, which concludes the 12-day Festival with the International Premiere of We'll Never Have Paris, and which will see the announcement of the EIFF Audience Award.

The Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature Film was awarded to Joanna Coates’s Hide And Seek, which received its world premiere at the Festival. Her drama about a group of youngsters who experiment with non-monogamy wins one of the longest-running film awards in the UK, honouring imagination and creativity in British filmmaking. The award carries a cash prize of £20,000.

The winner was chosen by the Michael Powell Jury, chaired by director Amos Gitai with actor Nina Hoss and actor Michael Smiley.

The Michael Powell Jury said: “The Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature Film goes to a feature we found very innovative in form and in which all those involved, from the director to the cinematographer and the actors, we believe to be very talented. The Jury recognise that the film was done with very limited funds and in a time when filmmakers are confronted with the challenge of making strong cinema with limited means, it is important for us to encourage new talent to keep creating innovative cinema. The Jury believe the younger generation have a right to re-challenge and re-configurate what cinema means to them, so we want to congratulate Joanna Coates with the Michael Powell Award for her exceptional film Hide and Seek.”

Director and co-writer Joanna Coates said: "I'm just so happy that what we have tried to do with Hide and Seek has been recognised. We made a film about young people, avoiding cliche, using cinematic play and beauty to provoke thoughts about love, loneliness and joy. Those are human subjects and that a film which deals with them has been rewarded is a wonderful thing. Eye for Film have understood and championed us and their eloquent support has meant so much. Small films like ours depend on great film writing so much."

Ice Poison
Ice Poison
The Award for Best Film in the International Competition was presented to Midi Z’s Ice Poison (Taiwan, Myanmar), which tells the story of a young farmer who becomes a drug courier to make ends meet. Filmmaker, actor and writer Niki Karimi chaired the International Feature Film Competition Jury, with producer Michael Fitzgerald and journalist Mark Rabinowitz.

The International Competition jury said: “For a meticulously observed and perfectly crafted look at economic despair in the rural and developing landscape of Myanmar, the temptation of easy money and the consequence of ruinous choices... for the assured tone and quiet melancholy of this re-telling of the fall from Eden, the award for best International Feature Film goes to Ice Poison.”

Midi Z said: "I'm very happy to be given this award. It's such a great encouragement to me. I know I'm still a novice at filmmaking. First of all, I would like to thank Edinburgh International Film Festival for inviting Ice Poison. And I'm grateful to the jury for their support. I would like to thank my crew, including producer Patrick, cinematographer Fan Sheng-Hsiang, editor Awen, Sound recording and editing Chou Chen and Morgan, the lead actors Patty Wu and Wang Hsing-Hong.

"The Taiwanese crew is composed of no more than the members mentioned above, and it shows that it's a very small production. It's worth notice that the actors had endured a lot of hardship in the filming. Moreover, I would like to thank my mother and big brother who remain in Burma. In addition to being an extra, my brother cooked for the crew every day during the shooting. I'm grateful to Burma for giving me a happy childhood and memories. And lastly, I would like to thank Taiwan for nurturing me, for turning a country boy from Burma into a director who has just launched his career in film."

The Award for Best Documentary Feature Film, supported by Al Jazeera and reintroduced at the festival this year, was awarded to Farida Pacha’s My Name Is Salt. The winner - who receives a £10,000 prize - was selected by the Best Documentary Feature Film Jury, chaired by director Cynthia Beatt, with director and editor Dominique Auvray and producer Sunmin Park.

The Best Documentary Feature Film Jury said: "It is a beautifully shot and edited film that details the cyclical nature of salt harvesting in Gujarat, India. The film itself mirrors this cycle with delicacy and restraint. Between scenes are spaces to imagine what we do not see during the eight months of filming. This one family of salt harvesters represents the 40,000 other families whom one senses on the horizon, closer or farther away, all doing the same work, all burdened by the same fears of whether this harvest will bring enough for them to survive until the cycle begins again.

My Name Is Salt
My Name Is Salt
We wish Farida Pacha well with her filmmaking in the future and indeed, all the other very interesting filmmakers in this category."

Farida Pacha said, “I feel very happy and proud to receive this prestigious award. It has been a long journey for me to make this film - a journey that has often been very difficult. So, it's very gratifying to know that the effort is being appreciated and that the journey has, in the end, been worthwhile. I'm very thankful to the jury for this recognition. I'd also like to extend my gratitude to Chris Fujiwara and Jenny Leask for inviting the film to the festival in the first place. And to the wonderful EIFF staff for their kind support during my stay in Edinburgh. Thank you so much.”

The Award for Best Performance in a British Feature Film went to Eddie Marsan for his role as John May, a council worker trying to find living relatives of people who have died alone in drama Still Life. The performance award was also selected by the Michael Powell Jury who further awarded a special commendation to Zoe Telford for her performance in Greyhawk.

Eddie Marsan said. “I'm so honoured to receive this award from Edinburgh International Film Festival, and so grateful to you for championing this film. Still Life is so special to me because it's such a personal film for its writer and director, Uberto Pasolini. An Italian film, set in London and given its UK Premiere in Edinburgh, what a wonderful idea!

"Although filmmaking is a collaborative art form, it often takes it practitioners away from friends, family and home, and therefore the feelings of loneliness and painful detachment are ever present. That's what Uberto explored in this film and through the character of John May.

Eddie Marsan in Still Life
Eddie Marsan in Still Life
"An artist should be judged by how honestly and courageously they give their testimony and with this in mind I graciously accept this award on Uberto's behalf as much as mine. I'd also like to give special thanks to all the cast and crew, Joanne Froggatt, Stefano Falivene, the DOP, Christopher Simon, Barnaby Southcombe and Felix Vossen. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

Slap directed by Nick Rowland won the Virgin Atlantic Little Red Award for Best Short Film. The prize was one of three Short Film Awards supported by Virgin Atlantic Little Red bestowed by the Short Films Jury which was chaired by academic, curator and journalist Linda Ruth Williams with actor Lenora Crichlow and producer Nicole Gerhards.

The Short Films Jury citation read: “The winning film told its story with true style and real cinematic confidence whilst trusting and allowing its raw talented young cast to really shine. It was a moving and dramatic and sensitive film which had us gripped every single beat of the way.”

The Award for Creative Innovation in a Short Film, now in its second year, was awarded by the Short Films Jury to The Bigger Picture directed by Daisy Jacobs. The jury citation read: “This was an incredibly strong field with creatively exciting elements present in almost all of the titles that we watched. The film we have finally chosen for the award of Creative Innovation in a Short Film sparkles with originality both in its key ideas and the freshness of technique through which it approaches its poignant subject. This carer's story dramatising child-parent relationships and the frailty of ageing is handled with humour and a quirky lightness of touch which undercuts the sadness and darkness.”

Another award in its second year within the shorts category, The Award for Outstanding Individual Contribution to a Short Film, which celebrates imaginative and innovative work in short cinema, was awarded to Ainslie Henderson and Will Anderson for their screenwriting and direction of the short film Monkey Love Experiments.

The Short Films Jury citation read: “With fireworks of poetic ideas we have been shown within the deepest loneliness a heart-breaking love story. Yes, a peanut shell can be either a rocket or a wedding ring on the finger of metal. Being as stylish as it is simple, this animation and an animated hero with wind in his fluffy hair enters straight into the heart and to tears.”

As voted for by the audience, The McLaren Award for Best New British Animation, supported by the British Council, went to My Stuffed Granny by director Effie Pappa. Named after Scottish-born filmmaker Norman McLaren, the McLaren Award is the longest running award celebrating creativity amongst UK animation talent which this year saw it celebrating its 25th anniversary, alongside the year-long celebrations marking the centenary of the birth of Norman McLaren. The Award was presented by Sue Loughlin, the first ever recipient of the McLaren Award in 1990.

The Student Critics Jury Award, supported by James and Morag Anderson, was awarded to Stations Of The Cross, directed by Dietrich Brüggemann. The award was determined by a jury of seven aspiring film critics, Alastair Livesley, Hanna Kubicka and Liam Bartie from the University of Glasgow; Helen Aitken and Rebecca Raab from the University of Edinburgh; Harrison Kelly from the University of Dundee and Ross Hamilton from the University of St Andrews, who were under the guidance of international film critics Jonathan Rosenbaum, former critic for the Chicago Reader; Dana Linssen, chief film critic of leading Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad and editor-in-chief of the Dutch monthly De Filmkrant; and London Evening Standard critic Derek Malcolm.

The Student Critics Jury citation read: “Whilst we have seen a diverse and colourful selection of films this year, none were more compelling or innovative than our chosen film. Telling a deeply harrowing story through an accomplished central performance and a rigidly disciplined single-camera setup, this remarkable feat of filmmaking left the whole jury speechless.”

Also awarded during the Ceremony were AWFJ EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Narrative and AWFJ EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Documentary. Jennifer Merin, President of the Alliance for Women Film Journalists, presented the two awards to Frauke Finsterwalder’s Finsterworld and Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez’s Manakamana respectively, with a special documentary award commendation to Farida Pacha’s MYy Name Is Salt.

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