The Edinburgh International Film Festival – which begins this Wednesday – has announced 2009’s awards juries. President of this year’s Michael Powell Jury is “Atonement” director Joe Wright. Joining him on the Jury are journalist, broadcaster and author Janet Street-Porter; USA Today film critic Claudia Puig; Academy Award nominated actor Frank Langella and acclaimed Australian actor Sacha Horler.
“I am honoured to be in a such illustrious company as this year’s jury and I am thrilled to be back at the Edinburgh Film Festival,” Wright said in a statement, “which has always been the greatest melting pot of the British film industry and culture. Bring it on.”
Named in homage to one of Britain’s most original filmmakers and inaugurated in 1993, the Michael Powell Award is sponsored by the UK Film Council and carries a prize of 20,000 pounds, one of the largest film awards currently available in the UK. Rewarding “imagination and creativity in British filmmaking,” 2008 saw Shane Meadows win The Michael Powell Award for “Somers Town,” and the Jury awarded Robert Carlyle the PPG Award for Best Performance in a British Film for “Summer.”
The nominees for 2009’s Michael Powell Award are: A Boy Called Dad (Brian Percival); Boogie Woogie (Duncan Ward); The Calling (Jan Dunn); Crying With Laughter (Justin Molotnikov); Fish Tank (Andrea Arnold); Kicks (Lindy Heymann); Mad Sad & Bad (Avie Luthra); Moon (Duncan Jones); My Last Five Girlfriends (Julian Kemp); Running In Traffic (Dale Corlett); and Unmade Beds (Alexis Dos Santos).
The inaugural Best New International Feature Award will be deliberated by an international Jury of three: actor Kerry Fox; actor/director Alan Cumming; and journalist and author Lee Marshall. This newly established award will be open to features originating outside of the UK, in all sections of the programme, which are receiving their world or international premiere at the Festival.
The nominees for the Best New International Feature Award are: Adam (Max Mayer); Atletu (The Athlete) (Davey Frankel & Rasselas Lakew); Baraboo (Mary Sweeney); Easier With Practice (Kyle Patrick Alvarez); Elkland (Per Hanefjord); Harmony And Me (Robert Byington); The Maiden Heist (Peter Hewitt); Modern Love Is Automatic (Zach Clark); My Year Without Sex (Sarah Watt); Romeo & Juliet Vs The Living Dead (Ryan Denmark); Spread (David Mackenzie); Surrogate (Tali Shalom Ezer); Thanks Maa (Irfan Kamal); Van Diemen’s Land (Jonathan Auf Der Heide); and Wide Open Spaces (Tom Hall).
The Documentary Jury are: producers Margaret Matheson, Nick Higgins from Lansdowne Productions, and internationally celebrated and Turner prize nominated Scottish artist Phil Collins.
The British Shorts Jury are actor Stephen McCole; Helen Anderson, director of BAFTA Scotland, and Shorts International’s Jan Naszewski, this award is also sponsored by the UK Film Council.
The International Shorts Jury are: Watershed Media Centre’s Mark Cosgrove, Academy Award-winning producer Melanie Coombs and actor Harry Treadaway.
The Scottish short documentary Jury are director Kirby Dick and director Michael Whyte as well as James and Morag Anderson representing the supporters of the award, Baillie Gifford.
“I’m delighted to have such strong juries of internationally celebrated film and media practitioners,” EIFF Artistic Director Hannah McGill commented. “We are all especially delighted that Joe Wright, one of the UK’s hottest young directors, has agreed to chair our Michael Powell jury, and that our brand new International Feature jury will comprise individuals as eminent as Kerry Fox, Alan Cumming and Lee Marshall. We thank also all of the other jurors, and the sponsors who so generously back our awards. An award at Edinburgh can be a huge boost to a filmmaker’s future, and we really look forward to seeing what work these excellent juries will select.”
The Festival also announced a further late addition to 2009’s line-up, Lars von Trier’s “Antichrist.” This film – recently passed uncut by the BBFC and given “an 18 certificate” rating – will screen on June 24th.
indieWIRE will be on the scene in Edinburgh this weekend.