'Red Road' leads to BIFA wins


Tony Curran and Kate Dickie, stars of Andrea Arnold's gritty Glasgow-based thriller "Red Road," scooped up the best actor and best actress awards at the ninth annual British Independent Film Awards on Wednesday night at London's Hammersmith Palais.

The stark drama about grief and retribution in Scotland — which picked up the Jury Prize at May's Festival de Cannes — sees Dickie play closed-circuit television operator Jackie, who becomes increasingly drawn into the life of a character from her past when she catches sight of him on video footage. As Clyde, the object of Jackie's obsession, Curran portrays a shiftless urban waster living on the fringes of society.

"This Is England," Shane Meadows' autobiographical coming of age drama about a fatherless misfit who falls in with the local skinhead community, took the best British independent film award and also won best newcomer plaudits for its star, Thomas Turgoose.

Kevin Macdonald won the best director prize for his "The Last King of Scotland," about a young Scottish doctor's relationship with Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. The best supporting actor/actress award went to Leslie Phillips for "Venus."

"Moulin Rouge" star Jim Broadbent took home the Richard Harris award for outstanding contribution to British film, and Ken Loach was handed the special jury prize.

Peter Morgan's "The Queen," a contemporary portrait of Elizabeth II in the days following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, was named best screenplay, and star Helen Mirren won the U.K. film achievement nod.

"Hidden" was named best foreign independent film, while the Douglas Hickox award for best debut director was awarded to Menhaj Huda for "Kidulthood." The Sept. 11 drama "The Road to Guantanamo" was named best in the British documentary category.

Anthony Dod Mantle was awarded the technical achievement award for the cinematography on "Last King of Scotland," while the best achievement in production prize went to "London to Brighton," Paul Andrew Williams' feature debut about 24 hours in the life of a prostitute and young runaway.

Best British short was awarded to "Cubs"; best 15-second short went to "What's the Point"; and the Raindance award was given to "The Ballad of A.J. Weberman."

Now in its ninth year, the BIFAs honor the U.K. independent film community with prizes voted on by fellow filmmakers. Chaired by Sandy Lieberson, the 2006 jury included Anna Friel, Mick Jones, Damian Lewis, Damien O'Donnell and Colin Salmon.