‘Metro Manila’ Takes Top Prizes at British Independent Film Awards


Sean Ellis' Metro Manila.

Great Britain's official entry for Best Foreign Language Oscar consideration (yes, it has one) won three awards over the weekend at the the 16th Moët British Independent Film Awards. Sean Ellis' Metro Manila was named Best British Independent Film and picked up nods for Best Director and Best Achievement in Production at the event in London Sunday.

Crime-drama Metro Manila centers on Oscar Ramirez and his family who flee their impoverished life in the northern Philippines to the country's capital, which quickly overwhelms them. Oscar catches a lucky break when he's offered steady work for an armored truck company and gregarious senior officer Ong takes him under his wing. Soon, though, the reality of his work's mortality rate and the murky motives of his new partner force Oscar to confront the perils he faces in his new job and life.

Several Film Society 2013 titles also picked up prizes at the BIFAs. Lindsay Duncan was named Best Actress for her role in Le Week-end (NYFF), while Blue is the Warmest Color took Best International Independent Film. Filmmaker Paul Greengrass received the Variety Award at the event. The prize recognizes an "actor, director, writer or producer who has helped to shine the international spotlight on the UK." His film, Captain Phillips starring Tom Hanks opened the 51st New York Film Festival. And, Best Documentary went to Pussy Riot - A Punk Prayer, which played at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival last summer.

"Thanks to an independent film industry which encompasses so many different cultures, personalities, visions and voices, Britain is producing a new generation of fearless artists both behind and in front of the camera who represent that richness of our diverse British society," said BIFA join directors Johanna von Fischer & Tessa Collinson in a statement. "With so many of the films exploring themes about being less judgmental and more forgiving, this perhaps reflects a movement within British independent filmmaking that brings much hope for the future."

The list of the 16th Moët British Independent Film Award winners:

Best British Independent Film - Metro Manila 
Best Director - Sean EllisMetro Manila 
The Douglas Hickox Award [Best Debut Director] - Paul Wright for Those in Peril 
Best Screenplay - Steven Knight for Locke  
Best Actress - Lindsay Duncan for Le Week-end 
Best Actor - James McAvoy for Filth 
Best Supporting Actress - Imogen Poots for The Look Of Love 
Best Supporting Actor - Ben Mendelsohn for Starred Up 
Most Promising Newcomer - Chloe Pirrie for Shell  
Best Achievement in Production - Metro Manila 
Best Technical Achievement - Amy Hubbard – Casting for The Selfish Giant 
Best Documentary - Pussy Riot - A Punk Prayer 
Best British Short - Z1  
Best International Independent Film - Blue is the Warmest Color 
The Raindance Award - The Machine 
The Richard Harris Award (for outstanding contribution by an actor to British Film) - Julie Walters
The Variety Award - Paul Greengrass 
The Special Jury Prize - Sixteen Films & Friends (AKA Team Ken Loach) 

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