Film industry creates special award for Richard Harris

By Louise Jury,Media Correspondent
Thursday 31 October 2002 01:00

Ewan McGregor led an evening of triumph for Scottish actors and films at the annual ceremony dedicated to British independent film last night.

The star of the Edinburgh hit Trainspotting won an honorary award as Variety magazine's personality of the year.

And more successes followed when Morvern Callar and Sweet Sixteen, filmed in Scotland and supported by the Scottish Screen agency, won half the awards for which they were eligible, a vindication of the growth in the film industry.

The judges of the 5th British Independent Film Awards (Bifa) created a special award of outstanding contribution by an actor for Richard Harris, born in Limerick, who died last Friday.

The awards ceremony was hosted by Johnny Vaughan at Pacha nightclub in central London and attended by many leading lights of British film.

Sweet Sixteen, the latest Ken Loach work, about a teenager who falls into the hands of drug dealers, was named best British independent film. Its young star, Martin Compston, won the most promising newcomer prize.

Samantha Morton took the best actress award for her lead role in Morvern Callar, the second feature film of the Scottish director Lynne Ramsay. The movie also won best technical achievement for its director of photography, Alwin Kuchler.

Elliot Grove, Bifa's founder, said: "We are delighted with the calibre of films this year, especially the Scottish contingent. It's great to see that Scotland has developed a strong film industry and we are pleased that our sponsors [Park Caledonia financial services group] also come from Scotland, which appears to be the new hot-bed for British film making."

Bloody Sunday, from the now disbanded Granada Film, continued its international successes with James Nesbitt taking the best actor award and Paul Greengrass best director. Tom Hunsinger and Neil Hunter, who wrote The Lawless Heart, which starred Tom Hollander and Bill Nighy, won best screenplay award.

24 Hour Party People, Michael Winterbottom's portrayal of the Manchester club scene, won best achievement in production. Other prizes went to Monsoon Wedding, for best foreign film in a foreign language, and Lantana, for best foreign film in English.

Brian Tufano, cinematographer for British films including Billy Elliot and Trainspotting, was given a special jury prize.

Olivia Harrison accepted a lifetime achievement award on behalf of her late husband, George Harrison, for his role in founding HandMade Films with Michael Palin and Terry Gilliam. The company made the Monty Python movies as well as Withnail and I and Mona Lisa.

The winners

Best British independent film Sweet Sixteen

Best actor James Nesbitt ­ Bloody Sunday

Best actress Samantha Morton ­ Morvern Callar

Most promising newcomer Martin Compston ­ Sweet Sixteen

Best director Paul Greengrass ­ Bloody Sunday

Best screenplay Tom Hunsinger and Neil Hunter ­ The Lawless Heart

Best achievement In production 24 Hour Party People

Best technical achievement

Alwin Kuchler (director of photography) ­ Morvern Callar

Best foreign film ­ foreign language Monsoon Wedding

Outstanding contribution by an actor Richard Harris

Best foreign film ­ English language Lantana

The Douglas Hickox award,for a British director on their debut feature Lindy Heymann and Christian Taylor ­ Showboy

The lifetime achievement award George Harrison

Special jury prize Brian Tufano (cinematographer)

Most effective distribution campaign Wendy Strike and Nick Moran ­ Christie Malry's Own Double Entry

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