Stephen Graham hailed independent cinema as the reason he became an actor at a ceremony celebrating the industry.
Speaking at the British Independent Film Awards (BIFA), where he was nominated for best actor for one-shot drama Boiling Point, the star told Sky News it is part of the cinema ecosystem that needs to be protected.
âThis is where people are allowed not only to learn on the job, but to hone and develop their techniques and skills,â Graham said.
“So that keeps the industry alive, so hopefully we can find more investment and we can keep it. [going].
“That’s the reason I became an actor – independent films – if I’m being honest.”
Caitriona Balfe was among the nominees for Best Actress for her role in Kenneth Branagh’s semi-autobiographical film Belfast, which has yet to hit theaters in the UK.
She told Sky News that the film, which is already slated for BAFTA and Oscar nominations, would have looked very different if it had been backed by a studio.
“I do not think so [Branagh] could have made the movie he wanted if it hadn’t been an independent film, âBalfe said.
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“And I think what ends up happening when you don’t have people on your shoulder, telling you how you got to make it accessible to everyone and all these things – you get to make a specific story from the point of view. view of an author, then it becomes universal and people can identify with it because in that specificity it becomes universal, I think.
“[Independent film] is super important, love it, we have to support it. “
“There is a post-COVID upsurge”
Balfe was beaten up for Best Actress by Joanna Scanlan, who won for her role in After Love – the night’s big winner which also took home the award for Best Director and Best British Independent Film.
Scanlan said the industry has been fighting back after the closures forced by the coronavirus pandemic.
âThere is a post-COVID upsurge, definitely in production, definitely in development too,â she told Sky News.
âI think there was a period when people could thrive because they weren’t doing anything else, being distracted by production, then now production is automotive and there’s a lot of energy behind it. , and especially because everyone did during COVID? They watched movies, albeit on their screens at home, but that’s what they were doing.
“So I think it’s even more recognition of the absolutely gigantic appetite that people have to consume these brilliant stories told in these brilliant ways.”
“British independent cinema is the toast of the world”
For BIFA founder Elliot Grove, it is essential that people in the UK support the industry, which he says has a global impact.
He said: âBritish independent film is the toast of the world – I was in New York just before the pandemic and in a multiplex in Manhattan of the nine films, five were British independent films. Wow!
“So we are recognized abroad; it is on this drab, damp, COVID-infested island that no one knows British independent cinema.
“And that’s the whole point tonight – to shine the spotlight on the incredible collection of talent in this room.”
Other winners at the ceremony in London included Adeel Akhtar for Best Actor and Riz Ahmed who received the Richard Harris Award for Outstanding Contribution by an Actor to British Cinema.