Vera Drake picks up six awards
The British Independent Film Awards last night paid homage to the grittier underbelly of cinema, with director Mike Leigh picking up no less than six
17:18 01 December 2004
The British Independent Film Awards last night paid homage to the grittier underbelly of cinema, with director Mike Leigh picking up no less than six prizes for his controversial film on abortion, Vera Drake.
Leigh's uncompromising tale of abortionist Vera Drake, played by Imelda Staunton, and the debacle that becomes her life after 1950s values conflict to violent effect with her choice of profession, picked up awards for best director, best actress and best actor.
Other notable winners included Touching the Void, mountaineer Joe Simpson's account of a hellish week climbing down the summit of Siula Grande in Peru, which won awards for cinematography and best British feature documentary.
The ghoulish breakaway hit of the summer from the team behind Channel 4's Spaced comedy show, Shaun of the Dead, also struck it lucky with pensmiths Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright picking up the gong for best screenplay.
Commenting on the personal importance of the awards for what has been a much-derided project since it was first released earlier this year, director Leigh described the awards as "a surprise and an honour".
The best newcomer award went to Ashley Walters, a member of the South London R&B collective So Solid Crew, who was recognised for his honest and true to life portrayal of an 18-year-old reformed prisoner determined to make a clean break in Bullet Boy.
Harry Potter author JK Rowling was honoured with the Variety UK personality award for her contribution to the film industry.