I, Daniel Blake & American Honey lead BIFA nominations

Hayley Squires and Dave Johns are among the BIFA nominees for I, Daniel Blake
Hayley Squires & Dave Johns are among I, Daniel Blake’s BIFA nominees

Two British films that took their bow in Cannes – including the Palme d’Or winner – are leading the way at this year’s British Independent Film Awards.

Ken Loach’s Cannes winner I, Daniel Blake has seven nominations, including Best British Independent Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay for Paul Laverty, Best Actor for Dave Johns and Best Actress for Hayley Squires.

Andrea Arnold’s US-set American Honey is up for six BIFAs, including Best British Independent Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor for Shia LaBeouf and Best Actress for Sasha Lane. Arnold’s regular cinematographer, Robbie Ryan, is nominated in the Outstanding Achievement in Craft category; he also shot I, Daniel Blake.

Both films were backed by the BFI, as were Couple in a Hole and the documentary Notes on Blindness, which also received multiple nominations, including Best Film.

Andrea Arnold's American Honey is her 3rd film in the Official Competition in Cannes
BIFA nominee American Honey was backed by both the BFI and Film 4

American Honey was also supported by Film 4, which has received multiple nominations for Free Fire and Trespass Against Us – including Free Fire’s Ben Wheatley for Best Director and Michael Fassbender as Best Actor in Trespass Against Us.

And BBC Films, which sponsors BIFA’s Best Screenplay award, was one of the backers of I, Daniel Blake, which is nominated in that category.

With the BFI backing four of the five nominees in the Best British Independent Film category, Film 4 supporting no fewer than three multiple nominees and BBC Films backing contenders including the leader of the pack, which is nominated in the category it sponsors, questions could be asked about just how independent films have to be to qualify for the BIFAs and whether the British Independent Film Awards are looking to challenge the BAFTAs for status in the British film industry.

The awards will be handed out at a ceremony next month, with the winners chosen from the following full list of nominations:

Best British independent film
American Honey
Couple in a Hole
I, Daniel Blake
Notes on Blindness
Under the Shadow

Best international independent film
Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Manchester By the Sea
Toni Erdmann

Best director
Andrea Arnold (American Honey)
Babak Anvari (Under the Shadow)
Ben Wheatley (Free Fire)
Ken Loach (I, Daniel Blake)
Peter Middleton and James Spinney (Notes on Blindness)

Best screenplay
Andrea Arnold (American Honey)
Babak Anvari (Under the Shadow)
Billy O’Brien and Christopher Hyde (I Am Not a Serial Killer)
Paul Laverty (I, Daniel Blake)
Rachel Tunnard (Adult Life Skills)

Best actress
Hayley Squires (I, Daniel Blake)
Jodie Whittaker (Adult Life Skills)
Kate Dickie (Couple in a Hole)
Narges Rashidi (Under the Shadow)
Sasha Lane (American Honey)

Best actor
Dave Johns (I, Daniel Blake)
Max Records (I Am Not a Serial Killer)
Michael Fassbender (Trespass Against Us)
Shia LaBeouf (American Honey)
Steve Brandon (My Feral Heart)

Best supporting actress
Avin Manshadi (Under the Shadow)
Gemma Arterton (The Girl With All the Gifts)
Naomie Harris (Our Kind of Traitor)
Shana Swash (My Feral Heart)
Terry Pheto (A United Kingdom)

Best supporting actor
Arinzé Kene (The Pass)
Brett Goldstein (Adult Life Skills)
Christopher Lloyd (I Am Not a Serial Killer)
Jamie Dornan (Anthropoid)
Sean Harris (Trespass Against Us)

Best documentary
The Confession: Living the War on Terror
The Hard Stop
Notes on Blindness
Versus: The Life and Films of Ken Loach

Outstanding achievement in craft
Joakim Sundström (sound, Notes on Blindness)
Paul Monaghan and Mat Whitecross (editing, Supersonic)
Robbie Ryan (cinematography, American Honey)
Seb Barker (visual effects, The Girl With All the Gifts)
Shaheen Baig (casting, Free Fire)

Douglas Hickox award for best debut director
Adam Smith (Trespass Against Us)
Alice Lowe (Prevenge)
Babak Anvari (Under the Shadow)
Peter Middleton and James Spinney (Notes on Blindness)
Rachel Tunnard (Adult Life Skills)

Best debut screenwriter
Ed Talfan (The Passing/Yr Ymadawiad)
Hope Dickson Leach (The Levelling)
John Cairns, Michael McCartney (A Patch of Fog)
Rachel Tunnard (Adult Life Skills)
Simon Farnaby and Julian Barratt (Mindhorn)

Breakthrough producer
Camille Gatin (The Girl With All the Gifts)
Dionne Walker (The Hard Stop)
Michael Berliner (Adult Life Skills)
Mike Brett, Jo-Jo Ellison, Steve Jamison (Notes on Blindness)
Paul Fegan (Where You’re Meant to Be)

Most promising newcomer
Dave Johns (I, Daniel Blake)
Hayley Squires (I, Daniel Blake)
Letitia Wright (Urban Hymn)
Sennia Nanua (The Girl With All the Gifts)
Steve Brandon (My Feral Heart)

Discovery award
Black Mountain Poets
The Darkest Universe
The Ghoul
The Greasy Strangler

Best British short
Rate Me
The Wrong End of the Stick