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‘Dirty’ sweeps BIFAs

Three BBC Films pix snag Brit indie kudos

LONDON — “Dirty Pretty Things” was the big winner Tuesday evening at the sixth British Independent Film Awards, picking up prizes for film, director (Stephen Frears), actor (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and screenplay (Steve Knight).

Michael Winterbottom’s refugee drama “In This World” and Richard Jobson’s autobiographical debut “16 Years of Alcohol” won two awards apiece.

Jobson took the Douglas Hickox Award for debut director, with Susan Lynch winning the supporting performance category, which covers thesps of both sexes.

“In This World” was honored for achievement in production and editor Peter Christelis won for technical achievement.

Olivia Williams was named best actress for her perf in “The Heart of Me.” That award completed a great night for BBC Films, which developed and co-financed that pic plus “Dirty Pretty Things” and “In This World.”

Harry Eden, the young star of Gillies Mackinnon’s “Pure,” was named most promising newcomer. Simon Pummell’s “Bodysong” won the documentary prize and Brazil’s “City of God” was the foreign film winner. The ensemble cast of “The Magdalene Sisters” was given a special jury award.

Veteran producer Jeremy Thomas was honored with a special jury prize, and the Richard Harris Award for outstanding contribution by an actor went to John Hurt.

The ceremony, held at the Hammersmith Palais in west London, also saw Ian McKellen receive Variety‘s U.K. Personality of the Year Award for his achievements in 2003 and across his career.

“Britain is a real melting pot,” BIFA founder Elliot Grove said. “If you look down the list of nominees and winners, you will see a list of films that any country would be proud of making. They show a unique cultural diversity that ensures our films are accessible to, and enjoyed by, audiences throughout the world.”

And the winners are . . .

British Independent Film

“Dirty Pretty Things”

Director

Stephen Frears, “Dirty Pretty Things”

Actor

Chiwetel Ejiofor, “Dirty Pretty Things”

Actress

Olivia Williams, “The Heart of Me”

Supporting Actor/Actress

Susan Lynch, “16 Years of Alcohol”

Most Promising Newcomer

Harry Eden, “Pure”

Screenplay

Steve Knight, “Dirty Pretty Things”

Douglas Hickox Award (Debut Director)

Richard Jobson, “16 Years of Alcohol”

Technical Achievement

Peter Christelis, editor “In This World”

Achievement in Production

“In This World”

Foreign Film

“City of God”

Documentary

“Bodysong”

Short Film

“Dad’s Dead”

Special Jury Prize

Jeremy Thomas

Richard Harris Award

John Hurt

British Airways Bursary

Lenka Clayton

Jury 2003 Award

Anne Marie-Duff, Dorothy Duffy, Geraldine McEwan, Nora-Jane Noone, Eileen Walsh for “The Magdalene Sisters”

Variety U.K. Personality of the Year Award

Ian McKellen

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