An autobiographical film about a black member of a white skinhead gang in Sixties London has won the prestigious Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature Film at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.
Debut director Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s film Farming also won the Award for Best Performance in a British Feature Film for Damson Idris for his role as Nigeria-born Femi, "farmed out" by his parents to a white family as a child.
Akinnuoye-Agbaje said: “I am absolutely thrilled to have received this prestigious award, named after one of my cinematic heroes, for my first film. It is a huge and humbling honour. I am equally delighted that Damson Idris won for Best Performance. Thank you so much to the Festival.”
The winner was chosen by the Michael Powell Jury, comprising of Antonia Campbell-Hughes, David Hayman and Philip John.
The jury said: “The unanimous decision of the Michael Powell Jury goes to an important, powerful and disturbing film from Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje. This story forces us to confront an unfamiliar, uncomfortable reality. Farming keeps you invested in its brutal world. Culturally adrenalising. Visceral. Inspirational.”
The jury described Damson Idris’s performance as “bringing emotional truth to every frame.”
Among other awards presented at the closing gala of the 73rd EIFF was the Award for Best International Feature Film to Miia Tervo’s Aurora.
The International Jury, comprising of Natalie Brenner, Jack Lowden and Fred Tsui, described Aurora as “beautifully shot and executed, with brilliant performances from the entire cast. Our main reason for choosing Aurora is for its uniqueness and originality. We completely fell in love with every single character, big or small, all flawed yet beautiful and set in a world that we were reluctant to leave. Made with such a strong voice, with clever humour and a big heart. A true gem and, for us, the discovery of the Festival.”
The Award for Best Documentary Feature Film went to Ben Asamoah’s first feature film Sakawa. The jury comprising of William Guentzler, Daniel Monzón and Larushka Ivan-Zadeh said: “The highly sophisticated debut from Belgian-Ghanaian filmmaker Ben Asamoah is a timely and unsettling metaphor for our interconnected world.”
The Award for Best Short Feature Film went to Anca Damian’s The Call with special mentions given to The Fabric of You and Red Film.
The jury comprising of Moyo Akandé, Regina Mosch and Tara Karajica said: “We decided to give the Best Short Film Award to The Call by Anca Damian for the highly imaginative, unique and poetic way of using animation to show what we can’t see; to get the important and relevant topics of loss and grief in families across in a very short period of time. The Call is a powerful, moving, engaging and visually exceptional film.”
Special Mentions went to The Fabric of You, from Josephine Lohoar Self, and Red Film from Sara Cwynar.
The winner of this year’s EIFF Works in Progress and recipient of the £2,500 prize is the documentary Women Behind the Wheel: Unheard Voices on the Pamir Highway, produced and co- directed by Hannah Congdon and Catherine Haigh.
The EIFF Youth New Visions short film competition in the 14-18 age category was won this year by The Processing Room by Cameron Lambert and Red Hill, made by Laura Carreira, in the 19-25 age group.
The jury consisted of award-winning animator Ross Hogg, VR filmmaker Tessa Ratuszynska and SFX specialist Callum Macdonald.
They each win a £300 cash prize.
Best of the Fest announced
The EIFF’s Best of the Fest programme returns this year, featuring a selection of the Festival’s most sought-after films including Astronaut, Loopers: The Caddie’s Long Walk,Farming, Balance, Not Symmetry, Scheme Birds, I See You, Ode to Joy, The Amber Light, The Dead Don’t Die, Carmilla, The Emperor of Paris, Varda by Agnès, Boyz in the Wood and Aniara.
A free screening of all six-episodes of Good Omens, which launched worldwide on Amazon Prime Video on 31st May and will be on BBC 2 in the UK later this year, will also screen on Sunday.
The aforementioned winners were announced today ahead of Sunday’s Closing Night Gala, which concludes the 12-day Festival with the World Premiere of Mrs Lowry & Son.
The winner of both the McLaren Award and Audience Award will be announced at the Closing Night Gala.
All films will screen at select times on Sunday 30th June with tickets costing £5.