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BIFA 2022: Nothing Compares wins Best Feature Documentary, Paul Mescal-led Aftersun wins Best Film
05 Dec 2022 : Nathan Griffin
Sinead O'Connor documentary Nothing Compares.
Sinead O’Connor feature documentary Nothing Compares has won Best Feature Documentary and Best Debut Director at the British Independent Film Awards (BIFAs).

The top honours on the night went to Scottish filmmaker Charlotte Wells’ critically acclaimed debut feature film Aftersun, led by Irish actor Paul Mescal, which picked up seven awards including Best British Independent Film, Best Director, and Best Screenplay.

Nothing Compares was nominated for three awards on the night, including Best Editing for Irish editor Mick Mahon. The film charts Sinéad OʼConnorʼs phenomenal rise to worldwide fame, and examines how she used her voice at the height of her stardom before her iconoclastic personality led to her exile from the pop mainstream. Focusing on Sinéad’s prophetic words and deeds from 1987 to 1993, the film presents an authored, richly cinematic portrait of this fearless trailblazer through a contemporary feminist lens.

Marking the feature directorial debut for Kathryn Ferguson, Nothing Compares was an official selection in the World Cinema Documentary Competition at the Sundance Film Festival at the beginning of 2022. The film has gone on to win various awards at film festivals this year including Best Irish Documentary at Galway Film Fleadh, the Audience Award for Best Documentary at Aegean Film Festival, and the Audience Award at Docs Ireland.

The film is produced by Eleanor Emptage and Michael Mallie for Tara Films (U.K.) and Ard Mhacha Productions (Ireland). Executive producers are Charlotte Cook, Lesley McKimm, Lucy Pullin, John Reynolds and Lisa Marie Russo. The film was supported by Screen Ireland, Field of Vision, the BFI Doc Society Fund, IE:Entertainment and Northern Ireland Screen.

Northern Irish documentary Young Plato was also nominated in the Best Feature Documentary category, which was directed by Neasa Ní Chianáin and Declan McGrath.

Element Pictures Irish Netflix drama The Wonder also featured heavily on the night, having received 12 nominations last month. Director Sebastián Lelio, Oscar nominated Irish writer Emma Donoghue, and BIFA winner Alice Birch were nominated for Best Screenplay. The Wonder is 19th-century thriller focussing on a young Irish girl whose fasting is hailed as miraculous but may be something more ominous,

Lelio was also nominated for Best Director, while 2017 Best Actress winner Florence Pugh was nominated for Best Lead Performance. Young Irish actress Kíla Lord Cassidy was nominated for Breakthrough Performance, while additional cast members including Tom Burke, Toby Jones, Niamh Algar, Elaine Cassidy, Ciarán Hinds, Brían F. O’Byrne, and Josie Walker earned a Best Ensemble Performance nomination. The film also earned craft nominations for Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Make-Up & Hair Design, Best Original Music, Best Production Design and Best Sound for IFTA winner Hugh Fox and BIFA winner Ben Baird. The Wonder was also nominated for Best British Independent Film. 

God's Creatures, directed by Saela Davis and Anna Rose Holmer, was up for five awards on the night. Emily Watson was nominated in Lead Performance, while co-stars and Irish actors Paul Mescal and Aisling Franciosi were nominated in the Best Supporting Performance. Shane Crowley was nominated for Best Debut Screenwriter for the script of this powerful drama set in a windswept fishing village in Kerry, where a mother is torn between protecting her beloved son and her own sense of right and wrong. Finally, Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans were nominated in the Best Original Music category.

BIFA winner Jessie Buckley and co-star Rory Kinnear were both nominated for Best Joint Lead Performance for Alex Garland’s smart horror-thriller Men in which a young woman’s retreat to the country becomes a waking nightmare of her darkest fears. Irish actor Daryl McCormack and BIFA winner Emma Thompson were also nominated for Best Joint Lead Performance in Good Luck to You, Leo Grande, which was also up for Best British Independent Film.

Click here for the full list of winners of BIFA 2022.

IFTA Q&A Series: Patricia Kelly on Directing
IFTA Q&A Series: Damien Lynch on Sound Design
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