‘After Love’ tops British Independent Film Awards despite underdog status

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Expectations were dashed and dazzled when the British Independent Film Awards (BIFA) took place in London last night.

The awards, judged by Britain’s biggest and brightest film talents, have already launched the hits of ‘Billy Elliot’, ‘This Is England’ and ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ in their 24-year history.

“After Love”, the feature debut of British-Pakistani director Aleem Khan, won six awards at the evening.

Starring Joanna Scanlon (The Thick Of It, Getting On), the widely acclaimed film traces the journey of a British Muslim woman grieving for her husband and discovering a devastating secret.

Winners and losers of the night

“After Love” won the following accolades: Best British Independent Film, Best Screenplay, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and the Douglas Hickox Honor for First Director.

Khan took to the stage for his Best Director win, announcing “it wasn’t in my wildest dreams that I thought this would happen tonight”.

It was a great evening for the British-Pakistani community, with Riz Ahmed honored with the Outstanding Contribution award.

“He championed a vision that is often overlooked. The industry didn’t make room for Riz, he made room for himself and for an entire generation,” the ‘Top Boy’ director said. Yaan Demange, who presented the prize.

The prize for best international independent film went to none other than Flee, a Danish creation rooted in refugee trauma intended to Oscar buzz galore.

Kenneth Branagh’s latest feature ‘Belfast’ has been the talk of the town as it entered with 11 nominations and came away with no wins.

Jude Hill, 11 – who plays Branagh-inspired child ‘Buddy’ – portrayed the film, which explores Irish family life during The Troubles.

Hill faces an all-star cast including Judi Dench, Jamie Dornan and Colin Morgan.

He was personally up for Breakthrough Performer for his film debut, but says BIFAs were a chance for him to have fun rather than network.

“I just want to say hi to a bunch of people and get to know them in case I see them again. And just, have fun.”

The intense food thriller “Boiling Point” also came to the ceremony with 11 nominations and walked away with four awards for casting, sound, cinematography and an individual award for Vinette Robinson.

Directed by Philip Barantini and shot in one take, it stars Stephen Graham as a chef under intense pressure when a series of mistakes threatens his restaurant’s busiest night of the year.

The fact that it was a one take meant a lot of rehearsals and they finally nailed it the third time around.

Something Graham himself had guessed might happen, given his experience.

“The third take is the take. I’ve always said I take bets,” he explained.

“I always said we’d do it in three takes because I worked with a director who’s pretty good… Martin Scorsese (in The Irishman). And he said the third take is normally, you know , the only one. Anything after that, you try to narrow things down or you can always find things. But that third one, if you’re on the ball, that’s the one.

You can find the full list of winners here.

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