Low-budget film scoops the honours in French festival

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The Independent Culture

A film which was shot for £80,000 has won the grand jury prize at a festival dedicated to promoting British film in France.

London Brighton, a first-time feature written and directed by Paul Andrew Williams, beat films including Pierrepoint, a drama about Britain's last hangman, starring Timothy Spall and Juliet Stevenson, and Small Engine Repair, with Iain Glen, to take the Hitchcock d'Or main prize at the 17th Dinard film festival in Brittany.

The film, a crime thriller which features 13-year-old Georgia Groome as a teenager on the streets of London, will now receive promotional backing on French television.

British films have been growing in popularity in France in recent years, and this festival has previously honoured Bloody Sunday by Paul Greengrass, and Danny Boyle's Shallow Grave with its top prize since it was set up in 1991.

The jury, a mix of French and British film professionals, this year included the actors Charles Dance and Stephen Mangan. Rachel Robey, 30, who produced London Brighton with her husband, Alastair Clark, and Ken Marshall, said: "I think from day one we knew it was something special but we didn't know if it would work out in the way we hoped."

The core of the team behind it were film students and everyone worked for a future cut of any profits. The original funding came from a group of wealthy individual backers, with the UK Film Council providing extra funding to complete the production.