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American Honey triumphs at the British Independent Film Awards 2016

Andrea Arnold’s American Honey, starring Sasha Lane, triumphed at the British Independent Film Awards 2016

Sasha Lane in American Honey

Sasha Lane in American Honey

Film4-backed AMERICAN HONEY took home four awards from six nominations at last night’s BIFAs, including top prize Best British Independent Film, Best Director for Andrea Arnold, Best Actress for star Sasha Lane, and Outstanding Achievement in Craft for cinematographer Robbie Ryan. 

Film4’s Head of Creative Rose Garnett commented: “We are thrilled that BIFA’s jury saw fit to award American Honey with four prizes. Andrea is one of the great directors working today, and a truly independent filmmaker. American Honey is a landmark film that places British talent at the centre of the world cinema stage, and Film4 are proud to have supported the project from its inception.”

AMERICAN HONEY previously won the Jury Prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, and has also been nominated for six Independent Spirit Awards: Best Feature, Director, Female Lead, Supporting Female (Riley Keough), Supporting Male (Shia LaBeouf) and Cinematography (Robbie Ryan).

AMERICAN HONEY tells the story of Star (Sasha Lane), a teenage girl from a troubled home, who runs away with a travelling sales crew that drives across the American mid-west selling magazine subscriptions door to door. Finding her feet in this gang of teenagers, one of whom is Jake (Shia LaBeouf), she soon gets into the group’s lifestyle of hard partying, law-bending and young love.

A24 released the film in the US on September 30th; Universal / Focus Features released the film in the UK on October 14th.

Sally Wainwright awarded the prestigious Wellcome Screenwriting Fellowship

23 Nov, 2016 Posted in: Awards

British multi award-winning screenwriter Sally Wainwright (Happy Valley, Last Tango in Halifax, Scott & Bailey) receives the 2016 Wellcome Screenwriting Fellowship, in partnership with BFI and Film4.


The Fellowship carries an award of £30,000 together with a year-long tailored experience including unparalleled access to some of the most exciting scientific and humanities research in the world.

Selected from over 100 names nominated by the film and television industries, the award was made in recognition of Wainwright’s distinct voice and clear commitment to research and authenticity.

Now in its fourth year, the Fellowship is celebrated as a major annual award designed to nurture enquiring minds and unique voices and bring the worlds of film and science closer together. Previous fellowships have been awarded to Clio Barnard (2013), Jonathan Glazer (2014) and Carol Morley (2015).

This year the Fellowship was opened to individuals working in television as well as film, in recognition of television’s exceptional quality and the innovative vision of its writers. Receiving the award Sally Wainwright said:

“It was an unexpected delight and honour to be offered the Fellowship. My career has taken me in many directions, so I am curious and excited to see where this opportunity leads me.  I cannot think of a better place to research, explore and understand the human condition than Wellcome. I look forward enormously to being inspired by everyone and everything”.

Simon Chaplin, Wellcome’s Director of Culture and Society, said: “The Fellowship provides a unique opportunity to delve into what it really means to be human and is the start of what we hope is a lifelong exploration into the world of science. We’ve had the pleasure of following the journeys of Carol Morley, Jonathan Glazer and Clio Barnard over the last three years and are incredibly excited that Sally Wainwright is taking up the 2016 Screenwriting Fellowship. She will undoubtedly bring a new perspective to the world of Wellcome.”

The intention of the Fellowship is to give a screenwriter time and space to explore without the constraints of a specific project. In doing this, the partners hope to make the Fellowship’s influence profound and long-lived, and hopefully inspire films for years to come. The Fellowship is the start of a long-term relationship with Wellcome, with all fellows enjoying continued access and support.

The Fellowship, awarded by the Fellowship Panel, is chaired by Kate Leys with Lizzie Francke (Senior Development and Production Executive, BFI), Eva Yates (Creative Executive, Film4), Meroë Candy (Development Manager, Film and Drama, Wellcome) and Iain Dodgeon (Broadcast, Games and Film Manager, Wellcome).

Talking about her year, 2015 Fellow Carol Morley, said: “Wellcome has expanded my brain, and my heart – I have discovered so much that speaks so potently about the human condition. Meeting and sharing ideas with archivists, librarians, scientists, and project managers has been incredibly significant, and has had a major impact on the stories and films I am developing. The Fellowship has been a highlight of my filmmaking years, the most brilliant experience, and a total privilege”.

Whilst there is no obligation for the fellow to produce anything as a result of the bursary, the influence and legacy of this unique experience is beginning to emerge. Last year’s fellow Carol Morley has announced that she’s in the research stage for a film titled Typist, Artist, Pirate, King about the undiscovered life of artist Audrey Amiss, whose archive is held in the Wellcome Library. While 2013 Fellow, Clio Barnard is now in post-production with her latest film Dark River, which was developed during her Fellowship when she met with psychologists and psychiatrists working on traumatic memory. The film is backed by Film4, Screen Yorkshire, the BFI and Wellcome, produced by Moonspun Films/Left Bank Pictures and was developed by Film4, the BFI and Wellcome.

Lizzie Francke, BFI Senior Production and Development Executive said: “We need our artists – our novelists, poets, playwrights and filmmakers and screenwriters even more now to raise their voices above the cacophony and cleave their audiences together in some collective story telling harmony. As this year’s Wellcome screenwriting fellow, Sally Wainwright has provided some incredible, memorable collective moments in her work so far – bringing a mythic sensibility to the contemporary, a freshness to the familiar. It is incredibly exciting to think what her relationship with Wellcome might bring – her research here today transformed by her brilliant sense of story becoming a nation’s talking point tomorrow.”

Eva Yates, Creative Executive at Film4 said: “It’s a great privilege for us at Film4 to continue partnering with Wellcome and BFI on this unique opportunity. Sally is such an exceptional and brilliant writer and director, a determined creator of deeply truthful and ambitious works. There’s no more exciting prospect than to throw open the doors of Wellcome so that Sally and her characters may roam.”

Filming completes on Film4-backed drama I Am Not A Witch

14 Nov, 2016 Productions Posted in:

Shooting wraps on debut feature from BAFTA-nominated filmmaker Rungano Nyoni

Principal photography wraps this week on I Am Not A Witch, the debut feature film from BAFTA-nominated Welsh-Zambian filmmaker Rungano Nyoni.

I Am Not A Witch has been shooting for six weeks in Zambia’s capital Lusaka and the rural areas around it, and features a cast of non-professional actors from across the country, led by 9 year-old Maggie Mulubwa in the lead role of Shula, pictured here in the first image from the film.

David Gallego (Oscar-nominated Embrace of the Serpent) is the film’s director of photography, the production designer is Nathan Parker, costume designer is Holly Rebecca (The Incident, also stylist to Solange Knowles), and George Cragg (The Yard) is the film’s editor.

I Am Not A Witch’s producers are Emily Morgan for Soda Pictures, Juliette Grandmont for Clandestine Films and Titus Kreyenberg for Unafilm. Executive producers are Eve Gabereau (Soda Pictures), Mary Burke (BFI), Hannah Thomas (Ffilm Cymru Wales), and Eva Yates and Daniel Battsek (Film4).

I Am Not A Witch is a present day African satire about beliefs in witchcraft, revolving around a 9 year old girl, Shula, who is accused of being a witch. Shula is the first child to be taken to a travelling witch camp, where she is tethered to a spool with a ribbon. She is told that should she cut the ribbon and attempt to escape, she will be cursed and transformed into a goat. Over time Shula begins to long for freedom. Forced to decide whether to accept her fate as a witch, Shula ignites a rebellion within the camp.

Producer Emily Morgan comments: “It’s been exciting seeing Rungano deliver on her truly original script with such emotive visual flare and her unique blend of fantasy and realism, amidst a variety of captivating Zambian landscapes. Like in her short film work, she’s bringing the story to life with remarkable performances from a cast of carefully selected non-actors.”

Rungano Nyoni is a self-taught writer/director who was born in Lusaka, Zambia and grew up in Wales, UK. Her short films have been screened and selected at over 400 international film festivals including Cannes, Toronto, Rotterdam, BFI London Film Festival, Locarno and Tribeca. Her most recent short as writer/director, Listen, was selected at over 150 film festivals and won over 70 prizes including the Oscar qualifying Best Short Narrative Prize at Tribeca Film Festival (2015) and a nomination for Best Short Film at the 2015 European Film Awards.

In 2011 Rungano Nyoni wrote and directed Mwansa the Great, which was part financed by Focus Features’ Africa First programme, and was selected at over 100 international film festivals, winning over 20 prizes and earning nominations for an African Academy Award and a BAFTA. In 2012 she wrote short film The Mass of Men, which was selected at over 180 film festivals, winning over 70 awards, including the Golden Leopard at Locarno Film Festival.

I Am Not A Witch is a  UK-French co-production financed by the BFI, Film4, Ffilm Cymru Wales, Aide aux Cinémas du Monde (CNC-Institut français), the Berlinale’s World Cinema Fund and HBF+Europe: Minority Co-production support. The film has been developed with the support of the BFI NET.WORK with National Lottery funding for new and emerging UK filmmakers, Ffilm Cymru Wales, and has also benefitted from development support from Cannes Cinefondation Residency 2013, Moulin D’Ande Residency 2014, IFP No Borders Prize 2013, ARTE Prize 2014, Vision Sud Est Development Funding via Locarno Film Festival and HBF Development support.

Bart Layton to write and direct American Animals, starring Evan Peters

01 Nov, 2016 Productions Posted in:

Bart Layton will write and direct the heist film American Animals starring Evan Peters.

The Imposter

The Imposter

Co-financed and developed by Film4 and AI Film, the film, which is based on a true story, will be a Raw production, produced by Katherine Butler, Dimitri Doganis, Derrin Schlesinger and Mary Jane Skalski. Executive Producers of the project are Aviv Giladi and Len Blavatnik via the AI Film banner; David Kosse; Film4’s Sam Lavender and Daniel Battsek; and Tory Metzger via the Lava Bear Films banner. Principal photography of the film is slated to begin early 2017 in the US. Sierra/Affinity is handling international sales of the project starting at this year’s American Film Market.

The unbelievable but mostly true story of four young men who mistook their lives for a movie and attempted one of the most audacious heists in US history; American Animals takes the thrill of the heist genre and turns it inside out, blurring the line between truth and fiction in a wild story of money, movies and the search for meaning.

Layton directed the film The Imposter in 2012 to huge critical acclaim.  It fused documentary and drama in a completely innovative way, premiered at Sundance and went on to win a slew of awards including the BAFTA Best Debut Film, the BIFA Best Documentary and Best Debut film and was shortlisted for the Academy Awards. The Imposter, which was also financed by Film4, became one of the most successful documentaries ever at the UK box office.

Peters is acclaimed for his starring role as the character Quicksilver in X-Men: Apocalypse and X-Men: Days Of Future Past. He has also received critical attention for his recurring lead character across all six seasons of multi-award winning hit television series American Horror Story. His other film credits include Elvis And Nixon and Kick-Ass.

Film4 Receives 12 Nominations for the British Indepdendent Film Awards 2016

01 Nov, 2016 Productions Posted in: Uncategorized

Film4 received a total of 12 nominations for the British Independent Film Awards 2016, announced this morning.

Sasha Lane as in American Honey

Sasha Lane in American Honey

Andrea Arnold’s American Honey received six nominations, there were three nominations for debut filmmaker Adam Smith’s Trespass Against Us, two for Ben Wheatley’s recent LFF Closing Night film Free Fire, and one nomination for Susanna White’s Our Kind of Traitor.

Director of Film4 Daniel Battsek commented: “I’m thrilled for all our nominees whose work was recognised in this morning’s announcement, and very happy that those nominations are spread over four films from a variety of gifted filmmakers. The BIFAs are an important champion of British independent filmmaking, and we’re proud to have backed all of those nominated this morning. Good luck to everyone on December 4th, we’ll be cheering for you.”

Andrea Arnold’s American Honey received six nominations, for Best British Independent Film, Best Director and Best Screenplay for Arnold herself, Sasha Lane was nominated for Best Actress, Shia LaBeouf for Best Actor, and cinematographer Robbie Ryan was nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Craft.


Michael Fassbender & Brendan Gleeson in Trespass Against Us

Trespass Against Us secured three nominations: Best Actor for Michael Fassbender, Best Supporting Actor for Sean Harris, and The Douglas Hickox Award for Debut Director for Adam Smith.

Ben Wheatley's Free Fire

Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire

Free Fire secured two nominations: Best Director for Ben Wheatley and Outstanding Achievement in Craft for Shaheen Baig, for casting.

Our Kind of Traitor’s Naomie Harris was nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category. As previously announced, Harris will also receive The Variety Award, which recognises a director, actor, writer or producer who has made a global impact and helped to focus the international spotlight on the UK.

Winners will be announced at the British Independent Film Award ceremony on Sunday 4th December at Old Billingsgate.