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Documentaries reign at the Edinburgh Film Festival

Highlighting the increasing prominence of international co-productions, the 67th Edinburgh International Film Festival has awarded it’s Best International Film prize to a UK-based film-maker, while the Best British Film went to a French director who shot her film in the seas off North America, admittedly with a British co-director.

Best British Feature Film winner, Leviathan

The Best British Film went to Leviathan, a documentary about the US fishing industry, directed by Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor. The jury, headed by the Iranian director Samira Makhmalbaf, described the film as “an original and imaginative documentary which observes the brutal routine of deep sea fishing in a way which completely immerses the watcher in its story.” The directors said the award “gives us the courage and conviction to continue to keep pushing at the envelope – of cinema, of documentary, of art.”

The award for the best performances in this category was shared by Jamie Blackley and Toby Regbo, who star as dysfunctional schoolboys in uwantmetokillhim? “I’m absolutely over the moon,” Regbo said. “Making this film was so positive: a really interesting story, a great director and a superb actor to work opposite, what more could you want really?”

The International Competition was also won by a documentary. United Arab Emirates-born Mahdi Fleifel, who’s lived in the UK for thirteen years, was praised for his film A World Not Ours, which follows three generations at a refugee camp in southern Lebanon. The jury said it loved the film’s “warm regard for the people at the heart of the film” and said a difficult subject was handled with confidence and humour.

Back after a two year absence, the Audience Award went to Anthony Wonke’s Fire in the Night, another documentary – this one about the 1988 Pip Alpha North Sea oil rig disaster. Wonke said the men who took part in the film would “be incredibly touched and thankful that the public engaged with this film and their story in such a positive way.”

The Best Short Film award went to GHL by Lotte Schreiber. Muzi Quawson’s Doll Parts won the new award for Creative Innovation in a Short Film. The award for the Outstanding Individual Contribution to a Short Film went to Josh Gibson, as the Director of Photography of Light Plate, which he also directed.

The award for the Best New British Animation, as voted for by the audience, went to Marilyn Myller, for Mikey Please. And the Student Critics Jury Award was handed to Celestial Wives of the Meadow Mari, by Alexey Fedorchenko.

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