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British Independent Film Award Winners

And all the news from the BIFAs

The British film industry got its collective groove on at the Old Billingsgate Market last night as movers and shakers of the movie business celebrated the 11th British Independent Film Awards (or ‘BIFAs’ for Viz fans). Host James Nesbitt got the old Victorian fishmarket swinging with a croontastic rendition of ‘Fly Me To The Moon’, before introducing the award nominees with his usual laconic wit.

It’s been a stellar year for British filmmaking but there was no argument over the night’s big winner, with Slumdog Millionaire awarded Best Picture and the ever-engaging Danny Boyle walking away with the Best Director prize for the movie. Clutching his glass gong after the ceremony, he told Empire: “It’ll be very nice to text all the people we worked with in Mumbai and give them something to smile about in the morning. The city will recover from the events of the last week; it has a spirit that this film celebrates and despite what’s happened, it’s a city that’s moving towards happiness.”

Boyle was coy on the project currently known only as Not **28 Months Later, although he did divulge that Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s 28 Weeks Later **had rekindled his interest in getting behind the camera for Part 3 in the series. “When you’re not involved you can see it through the eyes of the audience and I’d forgotten how enjoyable it was. There is a plan for a third film and we’ve got an idea for an ending to the franchise.”

The awards kept coming for Slumdog Millionaire, with Most Promising Newcomer going to Skin’s Dev Patel, who plays Jamal Malak, the Mumbai orphan turned gameshow contestant. The 18 year-old handled the clamouring press pack like an wizened veteran, modestly attributing his casting to the kind of lo-fi gym work Empire can relate to: “Danny originally wanted an all-Indian cast, but the guys out there are too muscular and good-looking. His daughter was watching me on Skins and said, ‘Why don’t you give this guy a go?’ He saw my lanky self on TV and I got an audition.”

Boyle’s award-hoovering urban fairytale was followed closely by the not-quite-so-cheery Hunger, with Steve McQueen winning Best Debut Director and completing a unique BIFA/Turner Prize double, and Michael Fassbender taking the Best Actor prize. A happily well-fed Fassbender paid glowing tribute to the artist-turned-filmmaker: “He’s a genius. You don’t have to be working in the world of film to have an understanding of people, and he creates such a comfortable, confident, creative environment to work in. I’m just happy to have had the experience of working with him.”

Sadly, one mention of Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds and Fassbender made like a Trappist, although he did share a weakness he’d detected in QT’s frightening film knowledge: Tom Selleck’s perma-tanned private investigator. “You can name any film and he will give you a scene that he liked or disliked, but I did get him on one thing — he didn’t know what the two dogs were called on Magnum.* Although he hit me straight back, ‘OK, so what’s the name of Crockett’s pet crocodile?’ Of course, it’s Elvis.” Empire Online’s daily quiz may have found a new contributor…

Read on for the full list of winners, and Magnum PI's dogs:

BEST BRITISH INDEPENDENT FILM
Slumdog Millionaire

BEST DIRECTOR
Danny Boyle – Slumdog Millionaire

THE DOUGLAS HICKOX AWARD [BEST DEBUT DIRECTOR]
Steve McQueen – Hunger

BEST SCREENPLAY
Martin McDonagh

BEST ACTRESS
Vera Farmiga – The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas

BEST ACTOR
Michael Fassbender – Hunger

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Alexis Zegerman – Happy-Go-Lucky

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Eddie Marsan – Happy-Go-Lucky

MOST PROMISING NEWCOMER
Dev Patel – Slumdog Millionaire

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN PRODUCTION
The Escapist

RAINDANCE AWARD
Zebra Crossing

BEST TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT
Cinematography – Sean Bobbitt – Hunger

BEST DOCUMENTARY
Man On Wire

BEST BRITISH SHORT
Soft

BEST FOREIGN FILM
Waltz With Bashir

THE RICHARD HARRIS AWARD [FOR OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO BRITISH FILM]
David Thewlis

THE VARIETY AWARD
Michael Sheen

THE SPECIAL JURY PRIZE
Joe Dunton

  • A: Apollo and Zeus