‘After Love’ Dominates British Independent Film Awards With Six Wins

Aleem Khan’s directorial debut “After Love” dominated the British Independent Film Awards (BIFAs) with six wins.

The film, in which a recently widowed woman comes to terms with a shocking secret about her husband’s life won the award for Best British Independent Film, presented by Kate Beckinsale. Khan won three more BIFAs – Best Director, The Douglas Hickox Award for Best Debut Director and Best Screenplay, with Joanna Scanlan winning Best Actress and Talid Ariss Best Supporting Actor for their performances in the film.

Adeel Akhtar won Best Actor for his role in Clio Barnard’s story of forbidden love, “Ali & Ava,” which also saw Connie Farr and Harry Escott scoring the Best Music award.

The Best Supporting Actress award went to Vinette Robinson for her work in Philip Barantini’s single-take restaurant kitchen drama “Boiling Point,” which also received awards for Carolyn McCleod for Best Casting, Matthew Lewis for Best Cinematography and James Drake, Rob Entwistle and Kiff McManus for Best Sound.

Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s “Flee,” the animated real-life story of a childhood refugee’s hidden past, won Best International Independent Film.

The Richard Harris Award for Outstanding Contribution by an Actor to British Film was presented to “Sound of Metal” actor Riz Ahmed. The actor, who also writes and produces, thanked all his mentors in the industry. He was visibly emotional when he thanked his family. 

“My family told me everything there is to know about storytelling and acting,” Ahmed said. “I want to thank my wife for teaching me that to tell a story is to open your heart. I want to thank my sister for just being so dramatic.”

“I want to thank my brother who’s faced down so many demons for me both real and imagined,” Ahmed said. “And I want to thank my parents who taught me everyday through example, what it is to tell a story, what it is to act. And the way they showed me this was every day five times a day, they would stand before the Creator, before creativity itself, and empty themselves of ego and let something bigger than themselves and other than themselves take its place. And that’s what it is to tell a story.”

Ahmed’s eight-minute speech earned him a standing ovation. 

Kenneth Branagh’s “Belfast,” which had scored 11 nominations, went home empty handed.

The awards took place as an in-person event on Sunday at Old Billingsgate, London, hosted by Asim Chaudhry.


The Richard Harris Award for Outstanding Contribution by an Actor to British Film

Riz Ahmed

The Special Jury Prize

Raising Films

Best British Independent Film

“After Love” – Aleem Khan, Matthieu De Braconier

Best Director

Aleem Khan – “After Love”

Best Actress

Joanna Scanlan – “After Love”

Best Supporting Actress

Vinette Robinson – “Boiling Point”

The Douglas Hickox Award (Best Debut Director)

Aleem Khan – “After Love”

Breakthrough Performance

Nell Barlow – “Sweetheart”

Best Documentary Sponsored By Intermission

“Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché” – Paul Sng, Celeste Bell, Zoë Howe, Rebecca Mark-lawson, Matthew Silverman, Daria Nitsche

Best Screenplay Sponsored By BBC Film

Aleem Khan – “After Love”

Best Actor

Adeel Akhtar – “Ali & Ava”

Best Supporting Actor

Talid Ariss – “After Love”

Breakthrough Producer Sponsored By Pinewood Studio Group

Michelle Antoniades – “Sweetheart”

Best Debut Screenwriter Sponsored By Film4

Cathy Brady – “Wildfire”

The Raindance Discovery Award

“Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché” – Paul Sng, Celeste Bell, Zoë Howe, Rebecca Mark-lawson, Matthew Silverman, Daria Nitsche

Best British Short Film Supported By BFI Network

“Femme” – Sam H. Freeman, Ng Choon Ping, Sam Riztenberg, Hayley Williams, Rienjke Attoh

Best International Independent Film Sponsored By Champagne Taittinger

“Flee” – Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Amin Nawabi, Monica Hellstrøm, Signe Byrge Sørensen

Best Casting Sponsored By Spotlight & Casting Society

Carolyn Mcleod – “Boiling Point”

Best Cinematography Sponsored By Dirty Looks & Kodak

Matthew Lewis – “Boiling Point”

Best Costume Design

Grace Snell – “The Souvenir Part II”

Best Music Sponsored By Universal Music Publishing

Connie Farr, Harry Escott – “Ali & Ava”

Best Effects

Steven Bray, Mike Knights, Dan Martin, Leigh Cranston – “Dashcam”

Best Editing

Helle Le Fevre – “The Souvenir Part II”

Best Make-up & Hair

Vickie Lang, Kristyan Mallett, Donald Mcinnes – “The Electrical Life Of Louis Wain”

Best Production Design

Stéphane Collonge – “The Souvenir Part II”

Best Sound Supported By Halo

James Drake – “Boiling Point”

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