Dinard lavishes praise on ‘Boy A’

John Crowley's film sweeps film festival

DINARD, France — John Crowley’s “Boy A” took the most awards, including the top jury prize, the golden Hitchcock, at Dinard’s 19th British Film Festival on Sunday.

Mark O’Rowe’s script earned “Boy A” the Grand Marnier trophy for screenplay, and the Prix Kodak for cinematography.

Local cinephiles voted for “Boy A” the silver Hitchcock award.

Jury president Lambert Wilson noted that the jury was unanimous in its decision to give the top prize to Crowley’s dark drama about a young man’s reintegration into society with ultimately tragic consequences after spending most of his youth in prison for committing a heinous crime as a child.

While set in the U.K., “Boy A”‘ is timely in that it explores, among other things, societal issues relevant to modern-day France’s political climate, such as privacy concerns, he said.

“We are extremely aware of the laws in France that seek to control the lives of people,” Wilson said. “I believe we are entering a nightmarish, Big Brother era … the (numerous) ways to follow an individual is one of the serious societal problems we have to deal with.”

The Heartbeat Award went to Steve McQueen’s IRA drama “Hunger,” which will play in approximately 40 theaters in Brittany.

Shane Meadows, whose “Dead Man’s Shoes” won the fest’s 2005 Golden Hitchcock and was last year’s honoree helmer, was yet again in Dinard to present his “Somers Town,” the closing night film.

Brittany auds also got to see “Gone Fishing,” which earlier this year won Kodak’s top prize for short film. Helmer Chris Jones told Variety “Gone Fishing” is among about 100 films short-listed for an Oscar nomination in the category.

Wind and rain pelted fest attendees while headlines about possibly the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression dominated newspaper headlines in the French national press. However, despite the gloom, helmers remained upbeat about Dinard’s place in British cinema in France.

The fest’s honoree helmer Hugh Hudson, said Dinard remains a premier venue for directors seeking a distributor or even a French producer. He added that the fest “is a very good appreciation of British cinema.” Neil Thompson, whose “Clubbed” was in competition and will shortly seek distribution around France, said the fest serves as an outlet for bringing films to Gallic audiences.

“This is a unique festival because it focuses on getting U.K. films released in France and getting attention,” he said. “For a small indie like us, it’s great.”

Fest opened Oct. 2.