Aftersun basks in glory at the British Independent Film Awards | Film

Aftersun, the devastating drama about a father/daughter holiday to Turkey in the late 1990s, has swept the board at the British Independent Film Awards (Bifas) in London.

Charlotte Wells’ debut film, which has captivated critics and left audiences sobbing since its Cannes premiere in May, took home seven awards at the ceremony, which honors films made outside the studio system.

It won best picture, best director, best debut director and best screenplay for Wells, 35, as well as awards for editing, cinematography and music supervision.

Its stars, Paul Mescal and 11-year-old newcomer Frankie Corio, went home empty-handed; instead, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress went to Rosy McEwen and Kerrie Hayes, stars of Blue Jean, another drama by a first-time filmmaker.

Georgia Oakley’s debut, which premiered in Venice, is the story of a gay PE teacher battling prejudice in 1980s Britain.

Rosy McEwen in Blue Jean. Photo: Film Constellation

This is the first year that Bifa has adopted gender-neutral categories; this year they also introduced an award for Best Joint Lead Performance, which went to Tamara Lawrance and Letitia Wright as the real-life siblings who only communicated with each other in The Silent Twins.

Best Ensemble went to Our River…Our Sky for a cast playing neighbors in Baghdad during the sectarian violence of 2006. Meanwhile, Safia Oakley-Green won Best Breakthrough Performance for The Origin, Andrew Cummings’ thriller about a nomadic tribe that comes under threat from an ancient force after dark.

Kathryn Ferguson’s study of the activism of Sinéad O’Connor, Nothing Compares, won Best Documentary and Best Documentary Director. Best International Independent Film went to Joachim Trier’s The Worst Person in the World.

This is the 25th year of Bifas and the ceremony was held in Old Billingsgate, East London, hosted by Ben Bailey Smith. The Richard Harris Award for Outstanding Contribution by an Actor to British Film was presented to Samantha Morton. In her speech, Morton called for a big choice, paid tribute to Code 46 director Michael Winterbottom as well as the behind-the-scenes crew, as well as addressing industrial classism.

She finished by describing Lynne Ramsay, with whom she worked on Morvern Callar, as “a remarkable human being and the best filmmaker – sorry to everyone here tonight, but she’s the best.”

Open door, which helps young people without financial support through drama school, took the special jury prize.

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