Winner of EIFF Michael Powell Award announced

Scottish filmmaker Ben Sharrock has won the prestigious Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature Film at the 70th edition of the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Pikadero, Sharrock’s directorial debut, was selected as the winner by the Michael Powell Jury, which was this year comprised of actress Kim Cattrall, Spanish filmmaker Icíar Bollaín and iconic actor Clancy Brown.

The award, which celebrates one of Britain’s greatest filmmakers, was inaugurated in 1990 to honour imagination and creativity in British filmmaking. The jurors also gave a special mention to Mercedes Grower’s Brakes.

Sharrock said: “I am absolutely thrilled to and honoured to receive the Michael Powell Award. It is an incredible feeling. It is so valuable to have this kind of recognition for Pikadero in the UK. It is awards and recognition like this that help us get the film out to as wide an audience as possible.

“We have been lucky enough to screen Pikadero in different countries around the world but it has been a very special experience having the UK Premiere here at EIFF and showing it to audiences in my home city. I am extremely grateful and I would like to thank the jury, the Festival team and Mark Adams. Finally, I want to thank everyone who was involved in this film for all their talent and hard work. What a journey!”

The Michael Powell Award jurors also selected Catrin Stewart as the recipient of the Best Performance in a British Film Award for her role in Welsh-language thriller The Library Suicides. A special mention was also given to David Sillars for his performance in Seat in Shadow.

The jury said: “We wanted to recognise the striking performance by Catrin Stewart in The Library Suicides. The complexities and subtleties of playing twin characters is challenging and she managed to achieve the rare feat of making each of the two roles she played truly distinctive.”

Stewart commented: “I feel hugely honoured to be given this award. It was my first feature film role and a fantastic challenge to play two characters side by side. I loved working with the wonderful Euros Lyn and Fflur Dafydd’s exciting script. It was also very special for me to make a film in Welsh, and I’m very proud of what we have achieved. Diolch yn fawr!”

This year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival programme included more than 160 features and 130 shorts from 55 different countries.

Words: Amy Anderson