British films feted at BAFTA Awards


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LONDON -- Stars took to the red carpet to talk up the importance of the British film industry Sunday night at the Orange British Academy Film Awards.

"Its wonderful to have a night when we can celebrate the British film industry," said best actress nominee Keira Knightley, who lost out to "La Vie en Rose" star Marion Cotillard.

"We've had a wonderful year in British films with 'This Is England,' 'Atonement' and countless others. There's some wonderful and really amazing talent coming out of Britain," said Knightley.

Best actor winner Daniel Day-Lewis said Britain's top film awards ceremony had leapt in stature since his last nomination, in 2004.

"Being here, certainly the awards feel very important,” said Day-Lewis. "I think the whole ceremony has been genetically modified since I was last here -- it's pumped full of something, I don't know whether it was legal or not."

Day-Lewis said he hoped that high-profile events such as the BAFTA film awards would lead to an uplift in film financing.

"The event seems to have become a lot more important, and with the strong lineup of English films it's hopefully a showcase that will persuade people to invest in British film. It's never been easy for people to get films made in England, and they still, quite rightly, complain about the fact that everything is here except the funding. That's all that's missing; we've got the talent."

Presenter Naomie Harris said the night was a celebration of British acting and behind-the-screen potential.

"It's a real celebration of British talent -- for the indie films more so than blockbusters that cost hundreds of millions of dollars. It's such a hard thing to do to make a film for very little money, but those projects are really important because it is where people really hone their skills and crafts."