I Daniel Blake I Daniel Blake
News

What are the best British independent films of the year?

You don’t need a huge budget to tell a good story. Film critic Stefan Pape talks us through this year’s BIFA nominated films and which ones you can see on the big screen at Vue.

The term “passion project” has become something of a cliché, but I think it’s the best way to sum up all the work that goes into making an independent movie. I’ve been fortunate enough to have been invited to the BIFAs (British Independent Film Awards) every year, and whenever the nominations are announced, one of the biggest surprises for me is the fact that you can’t always tell when a film has been made outside of the major film studios.

This year’s awards take place on 4th December and there are 32 British films nominated, including I, Daniel Blake, American Honey, Couple in a Hole, Notes on Blindness and Under the Shadow, which are all in the running for Best Film. Most of these have already been released, but that's not to say you’ve missed your chance to catch them on the big screen. Vue's partnership with ourscreen, an on-demand cinema platform, allows fans to create and attend screenings of their choosing, and certain Vues across the UK will be showing the winning BIFA film – you can get your ticket here
What are the best British independent films of the year I, Daniel Blake leads the way with seven BIFA nominations.
Cinema, at its core, is about the art of storytelling. That’s what we respond to and emotionally engage with most – and you don't need a huge budget to tell a good story.
One film you’d be crazy to miss is Ken Loach's Palme d'Or winner I, Daniel Blake, which leads the way with seven nominations. Kitchen sink realist Loach and his regular collaborator and writer Paul Laverty have created an uncompromising drama that shines a harsh light on the nation's welfare system. It’s a compelling watch – independent films deserve to be seen on a large screen as much as big budget blockbusters – as the eponymous protagonist, played with a stunning conviction by Dave Johns, befriends a single mother (Hayley Squires) to try and make ends meet.

Stars such as Shia LaBeouf (American Honey) and Michael Fassbender (Trespass Against Us) are up for Best Actor. LaBeouf’s co-star Sasha Lane is up for Best Actress, but she'll be hard-pressed to beat the remarkable Kate Dickie (Couple in a Hole) or Jodie Whittaker, who turns in a magnetic display in profound comedy Adult Life Skills.
The best British independent films of the year Terry Pheto has been nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role in A United Kingdom.
The calibre of performances on offer just goes to show that there is so much more to the industry than Hollywood. Cinema, at its core, is about the art of storytelling. That’s what we respond to and emotionally engage with most – and you don't need a huge budget to tell a good story.

I, Daniel Blake is showing at certain vues (get times and tickets here); A United Kingdom is showing at Vues nationwide (get times and ticket here). You can get your ticket to Vue's screening of the winning BIFA film here.

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
Moonlight
Mustang
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
Dancer
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
Gozo
The Greasy Strangler


Best British short
Jacked
Mother
Over
Rate Me
The Wrong End of the Stick