Entertainment & Arts

American Honey shines at British Independent Film Awards

Andrea Arnold and Sasha Lane Image copyright AP
Image caption Andrea Arnold (left) and Sasha Lane both picked up awards

Coming-of-age drama American Honey has picked up four honours at the British Independent Film Awards.

It won the best film prize and Andrea Arnold was named best director.

Its star Sasha Lane won best actress, while Robbie Ryan's cinematography was rewarded with the outstanding achievement in craft award.

I, Daniel Blake star Dave Johns won best actor and his co-star Hayley Squires was named most promising newcomer at the ceremony in London.

The Ken Loach film won the Palme d'Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.

Ryan was also the director of photography on I, Daniel Blake.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Ken Loach tweeted that Dave Johns 'smashed it' as best actor at the Bifas

The film, about a middle-aged widower trying to get to grips with the UK's welfare system, was nominated for seven awards.

American Honey, a road movie about a teenager who joins a travelling sales crew and also stars Shia LaBeouf, received six nods.

Arnold, who has also won an Oscar, two Baftas and four Cannes Film Festival prizes since she started directing 18 years ago, recently said she "was so shocked at the amount of women directors".

"The figures were so small," she said. "We actively have to employ more females, perhaps we need to at this point. There are a lot of capable women out there."

Under the Shadow, a horror movie set in war-ravaged Tehran in the 1980s, collected an impressive three awards, with Iranian-born Babak Anvari picking up both best debut director and best screenplay.

Avin Manshadi, the film's nine-year-old star, won best supporting actress.

Notes on Blindness, based on the diaries of academic John Hull, who has to learn to accept blindness, won best documentary.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Avin Manshadi played a seven-year-old girl under the threat of both missiles and supernatural forces in Tehran

Brett Goldstein was named best supporting actor for his turn in Adult Life Skills and the film's writer Rachel Tunnard won the inaugural best debut screenwriter prize.

The Oscar-tipped Moonlight won the best international film award - the only category open to non-UK films.

That movie stars Naomie Harris and as previously announced, she was honoured with the variety award in recognition of the impact she has had with her film work this year.

The Richard Harris award went to Alison Steadman for outstanding contribution to British film.

The 19th Bifa ceremony was hosted by Jennifer Saunders at Old Billingsgate in London.

Profile: Andrea Arnold

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Arnold's 2009 film Fish Tank won a Bafta for best British film

Andrea Arnold began her career in front of the camera - one of her earliest jobs was as a dancer on shows such as Top of the Pops.

She went on to become an actress and TV presenter, fronting Saturday morning children's programme No. 73 in the 1980s alongside Sandi Toksvig and Neil Buchanan.

But Arnold's desire to get behind the camera led to her a series of short films in the late 1990s. One of them, 2004's Wasp, won the Academy Award for best live action short film.

Three years later, Arnold's feature film Red Road won a Bafta for outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer.

In 2010, another film she directed, which Fish Tank, won the Bafta for best British film as well as the jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Her other directorial credits include 2011's Wuthering Heights as well as three episodes of the Amazon series Transparent.

American Honey's critical acclaim and award wins are likely to put it on the radar of the Academy at the Oscars in February.

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