18 BIFA nominations for BBC co-productions

The BBC received an impressive 18 nominations for its co-productions from the British Independent Film Awards (BIFA), announced on 28 October. Leading the way for BBC Films were Eran Creevy’s debut feature Shifty with five nominations, Saul Dibb’s The Duchess with four, Mark Herman’s The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas with three, and one each for Julian Jarrold’s Brideshead Revisited, Stephan Elliott’s Easy Virtue, John Maybury’s The Edge Of Love and Terence Davies’s much lauded Of Time And The City. James Marsh’s acclaimed documentary Man On Wire received two nominations.

The BIFA Awards ceremony takes place on 30 November.The five Shifty nominations are the Douglas Hickox Award (Best Debut Director) for Eran Creevy, Best Actor (Riz Ahmed), Best Supporting Actor (Daniel Mays), Best Achievement in Production and Best Technical Achievement (Music by Harry Escott and Molly Nyman).

Gathering a marked early buzz, Shifty is an urban thriller charting an exhilarating 24 hours in the life of a charismatic small-town drug dealer, and is the second film to emerge from Film London’s Microwave scheme, a groundbreaking collaboration between Film London, BBC Films and Skillset which challenges young film-makers to shoot a feature for less than £100,000.

Produced by Rory Aitken and Ben Pugh, Shifty will be released in 2009 in the UK by Metrodome. Best Actress (Keira Knightley), Best Supporting Actor (Ralph Fiennes), Best Supporting Actress (Hayley Attwell) and Best Technical Achievement (Wardrobe by Michael O’Connor) are the nominations for Saul Dibb’s The Duchess, a contemporary tale of fame, notoriety and the search for love, based around that female icon of her time, Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. Producers are Michael Kuhn and Gabrielle Tana.

Pathé have had great success with the film at the UK Box Office with the current take approaching £7 million. Mark Herman has been nominated for a Best Director BIFA for his work on The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, Vera Farmiga as Best Actress for her performance, and a Most Promising Newcomer citation for Asa Butterfield.

The film, released by Miramax Films through Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures UK, continues to do solid business at the UK Box Office. It is a story seen through the eyes of an eight year old boy largely shielded from the reality of World War II. This unforgettable tale follows an unlikely friendship that forms between Bruno, the son of a Nazi commandant, and Shmuel, a Jewish boy held captive in a concentration camp.

Though the two are separated physically by a barbed-wire fence, their friendship grows and their lives become inescapably intertwined. David Heyman is the producer.
Particularly well represented in the Best Supporting Actress category, the other BBC Films nominations are Emma Thompson as Best Supporting Actress for Julian Jarrold’s Brideshead Revisited; Kristin Scott Thomas as Best Supporting Actress for Stephan Elliott’s Easy Virtue, and Sienna Miller as Best Supporting Actress for John Maybury’s The Edge Of Love.

There are Best Documentary nominations for Terence Davies’s much lauded Of Time And The City and James Marsh’s box office smash Man On Wire.
Both a love song and eulogy to the director’s birthplace – Liverpool – Of Time And City is a response to memory, reflection and the experience of losing a sense of place as skylines change and time takes its toll.

Sol Papadopoulos and Roy Boulter are the producers, and the film opens this week in the UK through bfi Distribution. James Marsh’s Man On Wire, also nominated as Best British Independent Film, is a feature-length documentary produced by Wall to Wall in association with Red Box Films for Discovery Films, BBC and the UK Film Council.

The film is a dramatic retelling of Philippe Petit’s daring – and illegal – scheme to walk the high-wire between New York’s twin towers as they were completing construction in 1974 – the artistic crime of the 20th century.

Jamie Laurenson, Executive Producer for BBC Films, said: “BBC Films would like to congratulate all the nominees. We are delighted that such a breadth of outstanding work has been recognised by BIFA from all arms of filmmaking at the BBC.”

The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas: Miramax Films in Association with BBC Films present a Heyday Films production. Brideshead Revisited: Miramax Films, the UK Film Council, HanWay Films and BBC Films present in association with 2 Entertain, Screen Yorkshire an Ecosse Films Production .

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