The Edinburgh International Film Festival today announced the Award Winners for this year’s 71st edition, with the winner of the prestigious Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature Film going to British filmmaker Francis Lee’s directorial debut, God’s Own Country, which received its UK Premiere at the Festival. The Michael Powell Award honors imagination and creativity in British filmmaking.
The Michael Powell Jury said: “We present the Michael Powell Award to God’s Own Country, directed by Francis Lee, a film with a singularity of storytelling and consistency of vision. Assured direction with raw and endearing performances result in a film that has an authenticity that is both tender and brutal, a juxtaposition of landscape and emotion, which explores the question of what it means to be a man.”
Francis Lee said: “I am thrilled with this honor for God’s Own Country, especially when you consider the British films that have won before. After premiering at Sundance and Berlin it has been wonderful to see how the film has created a real resonance with people and that is why the Michael Powell Award feels so brilliant.”
The award for Best Performance in a British Feature Film went jointly to actresses Emily Beecham for her role in Daphne and Anne Reid for her roles in Kaleidoscope and Romans, and was also selected by the Michael Powell jurors.
The Michael Powell Jury said: “In the category of Best Performance in a British Feature Film, the Michael Powell Jury recognizes two actors, Emily Beecham and Anne Reid, portraying fascinating, complex and flawed characters who didn’t strive for your affection but commanded your attention – real in the best sense of the word.”
The award for Best International Feature Film went to Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov’s Glory, which received its UK Premiere at this year’s Festival.
The International Jury said: “Deftly acted, beautifully photographed and directed, we loved this film. The subtlety of the performances and the story-telling was defined with such a lightness of touch which led to the immoral and moral choices having a heavy impact on this Jury.”
Petar Valchanov said: “It is a great honor for us to receive this award from Edinburgh International Film Festival, which has been preserving the traditions of good cinema the longest and carrying them over the generations. This award is a recognition not only for us, but also for Bulgarian cinema, which is currently on the rise again. Thank you for being there!”
The award for Best Documentary Feature Film went to Chico Pereira’s contemplative Donkeyote, which studied Pereira’s uncle whose wonderful spirit of adventure belies all of his 73 years. Special mention was given to Thomas Riedelsheimer’s Leaning Into The Wind.
Chico Pereira said: “On behalf of the entire Donkeyote team I’d like to say thank you so much for this recognition. For some of us who live or lived in Edinburgh, it holds an extra special meaning: our formative cinema experiences have been with EIFF, and just to return for our UK premiere is an honor in itself. I dedicate this also to my family, and in particular Manolo and Gorrión who teach us how to be truly modern and to enjoy life.”
The award for Best Short Film went to The Full Story, directed by Daisy Jacobs, with Kevin Pickering’s Close to the Bone and Gordon Napier’s 1745 receiving a special mention from the jurors.
Daisy Jacob’s said: “It is an honor to receive the Best Short Film Award from such a prestigious Festival, we are delighted.”
Voted for by the Festival audience, the McLaren Award for Best British Animation, this year went to Paloma Baeza’s Poles Apart.
The winner of this year’s EIFF Works in Progress and recipient of the £2,500 award is Piano to Zanskar by Michal Sulima.
Michal Sulima said: “We are delighted to have been selected for the EIFF Works in Progress award this year. It was a real privilege to be part of the showcase and to pitch our documentary to an audience full of industry professionals, which resulted in a number of meetings and expressions of interest. It’s only fair to say that we were heartily impressed by the quality of all the films presented, so the award comes to us as a great surprise! Given that our film has been entirely self-funded, it will go a long way towards helping us reach completion. We’re very grateful to the wonderful team at the EIFF for giving us this opportunity.”