Award season is starting to properly kick into gear at the moment. While shows like the Hollywood Film Awards, BAFTAs, and Oscars, reward established names, there are also awards for independent filmmakers.

For British independent filmmakers looking to make their mark, the British Independent Film Awards are a serious accolade.

Past winners of the Best Director award include Danny Boyle, Andrea Arnold, Gareth Edwards, and Neil Marshall. The latter two might not be household names yet but Edwards recently directed Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Marshall was behind Watchers On The Wall, one of the most critically-acclaimed episodes of Game Of Thrones ever.

The British Independent Film Awards might not have the glitz and glamour of the Oscars. However, the winners go on to achieve worldwide acclaim in the cinema industry. It’s certainly worth keeping an eye on the nominees at this awards show.

In a press release, BIFA noted:

“This year’s nominations showcase the range and quality of British independent filmmaking. It’s a diverse and varied list, in terms of the teams making the films and also the kinds of stories being told. It is especially encouraging to see so much exciting work from so many new filmmakers; this points to a very bright future for British cinema and we’re proud to be at the heart of it, celebrating these exceptional films.”

British Independent Film Awards directors to watch

What’s noteworthy about this year’s British Independent Film Awards is that the nominees for the top awards are also industry newcomers.

Lady Macbeth, the debut feature of theatre director William Oldroyd, leads nominations with 15.

Directorial debuts following just behind are Rungano Nyoni’s I Am Not A Witch with 13 nominations and Francis Lee’s God’s Own Country with 11.

All three won nominations for Best Independent Film, Best Director, and Best Screenplay, as well as Debut Director and Debut Screenwriter. Safe to say, that the minds behind these films are definitely ones to watch.

In particular, Francis Lee and Rungano Nyoni have personal nominations for more awards than anyone else. Each have four personal nominations. These are for Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Debut Director, and Best Debut Screenwriter. Both of these two should definitely be on Hollywood’s radar!

How are the British Independent Film Awards nominees chosen?

Unlike the BAFTAs and the Oscars, the BIFA awards are mostly only open to British films. The official guideline defines this as:

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“It has been produced or majority co-produced by a British company or is in receipt of at least 51% of its budget from a British source or sources and includes sufficient creative elements from the UK.”

Individuals in receipt of the awards must have a British passport.

The other key part about these awards is their independent nature. However, that doesn’t necessarily have to mean that major studios can’t be involved. On the contrary, they can be as long as their funding is kept to a minimum. The guidelines state:

“Where there is any major studio substantially funding a film, the total budget must not exceed $20million. Films are not defined as ‘independent’ strictly on the terms of financing.”

In addition, films must have been released to a paying audience between 1st December 2016 and 30th November 2017.

These rules ensure that only the very best of British Independent work gets nominated at the awards.

British Independent Film Awards Nominations

Best British Independent Film

  • THE DEATH OF STALIN
  • GOD’S OWN COUNTRY
  • I AM NOT A WITCH
  • LADY MACBETH
  • THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI

Best International Independent Film

  • THE FLORIDA PROJECT
  • GET OUT
  • I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO
  • LOVELESS
  • THE SQUARE

Best Director

  • ARMANDO IANNUCCI, The Death of Stalin
  • FRANCIS LEE, God’s Own Country
  • MARTIN McDONAGH, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • RUNGANO NYONI, I Am Not a Witch
  • WILLIAM OLDROYD, Lady Macbeth

Best Screenplay

  • ALICE BIRCH Lady Macbeth
  • ARMANDO IANNUCCI, DAVID SCHNEIDER, IAN MARTIN The Death of Stalin
  • FRANCIS LEE God’s Own Country
  • MARTIN McDONAGH Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • RUNGANO NYONI I Am Not a Witch

Best Actress

  • EMILY BEECHAM Daphne
  • FRANCES McDORMAND Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • MARGARET MULUBWA I Am Not a Witch
  • FLORENCE PUGH Lady Macbeth
  • RUTH WILSON Dark River

Best Actor

  • JAMIE BELL Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool
  • PADDY CONSIDINE Journeyman
  • JOHNNY HARRIS Jawbone
  • JOSH O’CONNOR God’s Own Country
  • ALEC SECAREANU God’s Own Country

Best Supporting Actress

  • NAOMI ACKIE Lady Macbeth
  • PATRICIA CLARKSON The Party
  • KELLY MACDONALD Goodbye Christopher Robin
  • ANDREA RISEBOROUGH The Death of Stalin
  • JULIE WALTERS Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool

Best Supporting Actor

  • SIMON RUSSELL BEALE The Death of Stalin
  • STEVE BUSCEMI The Death of Stalin
  • WOODY HARRELSON Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • IAN HART God’s Own Country
  • SAM ROCKWELL Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Most Promising Newcomer

  • NAOMI ACKIE Lady Macbeth
  • HARRY GILBY Just Charlie
  • COSMO JARVIS Lady Macbeth
  • HARRY MICHELL Chubby Funny
  • LILY NEWMARK Pin Cushion

Best Debut Director

  • DEBORAH HAYWOOD Pin Cushion
  • FRANCIS LEE God’s Own Country
  • THOMAS NAPPER Jawbone
  • RUNGANO NYONI I Am Not a Witch
  • WILLIAM OLDROYD Lady Macbeth

Debut Screenwriter

  • ALICE BIRCH Lady Macbeth
  • GABY CHIAPPE Their Finest
  • JOHNNY HARRIS Jawbone
  • FRANCIS LEE God’s Own Country
  • RUNGANO NYONI I Am Not a Witch

Breakthrough Producer

  • GAVIN HUMPHRIES Pin Cushion
  • EMILY MORGAN I Am Not a Witch
  • BRENDAN MULLIN, KATY JACKSON Bad Day for the Cut
  • FODHLA CRONIN O’REILLY Lady Macbeth
  • JACK TARLING, MANON ARDISSON God’s Own Country

The Discovery Award

  • EVEN WHEN I FALL Sky Neal, Kate McLarnon, Elhum Shakerifar
  • HALFWAY Ben Caird, Jonny Paterson
  • IN ANOTHER LIFE Jason Wingard, Hannah Stevenson, Rebecca Clare Evans
  • ISOLANI R Paul Wilson, Lisa Hague
  • MY PURE LAND Sarmad Masud, Bill Kenwright

Best Documentary

  • ALMOST HEAVEN Carol Salter
  • HALF WAY Daisy-May Hudson
  • KINGDOM OF US Lucy Cohen, Julia Nottingham, Lucas Ochoa, Thomas Benski, Bill Rudgard
  • UNCLE HOWARD Aaron Brookner, Paula Vaccaro
  • WILLIAMS Morgan Matthews, Hayley Reynolds, Sarah Hamilton

Best British Short Film

  • 1745 Gordon Napier, Morayo Akandé, John McKay
  • FISH STORY Charlie Lyne, Catherine Bray, Anthony Ing
  • THE ENTERTAINER Jonathan Schey, Jodie Brown, Jun Bung Lee
  • WORK Aneil Karia, Scott O’Donnell
  • WREN BOYS Harry Lighton, John Fitzpatrick, Sorcha Bacon

Best Cinematography

  • BEN DAVIS Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • DAVID GALLEGO I Am Not a Witch
  • TAT RADCLIFFE Jawbone
  • THOMAS RIEDELSHEIMER Leaning Into the Wind
  • ARI WEGNER Lady Macbeth

Best Casting

  • SHAHEEN BAIG Lady Macbeth
  • SHAHEEN BAIG, LAYLA MERRICK-WOLF God’s Own Country
  • SARAH CROWE The Death of Stalin
  • SARAH HALLEY FINN Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • DEBBIE McWILLIAMS Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool

Best Costume Design

  • DINAH COLLIN My Cousin Rachel
  • SUZIE HARMAN The Death of Stalin
  • SANDY POWELL How to Talk to Girls at Parties
  • HOLLY REBECCA I Am Not a Witch
  • HOLLY WADDINGTON Lady Macbeth

Best Editing

  • JOHNNY BURKE Williams
  • DAVID CHARAP Jawbone
  • JON GREGORY Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • PETER LAMBERT The Death of Stalin
  • JOE MARTIN Us and Them

Best Effects

  • NICK ALLDER, BEN WHITE The Ritual
  • LUKE DODD Journeyman
  • EFFECTS TEAM The Death of Stalin
  • DAN MARTIN Double Date
  • CHRIS REYNOLDS Their Finest

Best Make Up & Hair Design

  • JULENE PATON I Am Not a Witch
  • JAN SEWELL Breathe
  • NADIA STACEY Journeyman
  • NICOLE STAFFORD The Death of Stalin
  • SIAN WILSON Lady Macbeth

Best Music

  • CARTER BURWELL Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • FRED FRITH Leaning into the Wind
  • MATT KELLY I Am Not a Witch
  • PAUL WELLER Jawbone
  • CHRISTOPHER WILLIS The Death of Stalin

Best Production Design

  • JACQUELINE ABRAHAMS Lady Macbeth
  • CRISTINA CASALI The Death of Stalin
  • JAMES MERIFIELD Final Portrait
  • NATHAN PARKER I Am Not a Witch
  • EVE STEWART Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool

Best Sound

  • ANNA BERTMARK God’s Own Country
  • MAIKEN HANSEN I Am Not a Witch
  • ANDY SHELLEY, STEVE GRIFFITHS Jawbone
  • JOAKIM SUNDSTRÖM Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • SOUND TEAM Breathe

When will the winners be announced?

Unfortunately, there’s still quite a long time to wait before the British Independent Film Awards show.

The ceremony will take place in London on Sunday 10th December 2017. In addition, we know that the ceremony will be hosted by award-winning writer, actor, and executive producer Mark Gatiss.

If you’re a fan of British film and also love to have your finger on the pulse of who is rising through the ranks in the industry, it should prove to be some fascinating viewing!