Andrew Scott hails importance of cinema as All Of Us Strangers wins at Bifas

By Naomi Clarke, PA Entertainment Reporter

Andrew Scott has hailed the importance of connecting with others in a cinema ahead of his film All Of Us Strangers taking home the top gong at the British Independent Film Awards (Bifa).

The romantic fantasy picked up the best British independent film award on Sunday night as well as best screenplay, best director for Andrew Haigh and best supporting performance for Paul Mescal.

Irish actor Scott was nominated in the lead performance category but missed out while his co-stars Claire Foy and Jamie Bell had also received nods for their supporting roles.

British Independent Film Awards ceremony – London
The film All of Us Strangers picked up the best British independent film gong (Jeff Moore/PA) Photo by Jeff Moore

Speaking on the red carpet of the event held at Old Billingsgate Hall in London, Scott told the PA news agency that the cast of four were “really thrilled” that all of them had been nominated.

He also praised Haigh for creating an “incredible script” which is based on the 1987 novel Strangers by Taichi Yamada.

Reflecting on how he feels about the future of independent film, he said: “I really hope that we can keep our cinemas open and people remember to go out and watch films together with with other people.

“There’s nothing better than sitting in the dark and being told a story. So I’m hoping that events like this keep independent cinema alive and that we’re not all watching our stories in little boxes on our own.”

Foy also hailed her co-stars as “the most gifted actors” and the project as “really special”.

British Independent Film Awards ceremony – London
Best supporting performance went to Shaun Thomas and best lead performance to Mia McKenna-Bruce at the British Independent Film Awards ceremony (Jeff Moore/PA) Photo by Jeff Moore

The best lead performance award went to Mia McKenna-Bruce for the coming-of-age drama film How to Have Sex while her co-star Shaun Thomas picked up the second best supporting performance award.

Nathan Stewart-Jarrett and George MacKay also took home the joint lead performance gong for Femme.

Boiling Point star Stephen Graham was also recognised with the Richard Harris award for his contribution to the industry.

If the Streets Were on Fire was awarded the best feature documentary prize to filmmakers Alice Russell and Gannesh Rajah.

Oscar winner Steve McQueen, who was nominated in the category for his documentary Occupied City, said events like Bifa were important for artists to support one another.

British Independent Film Awards ceremony – London
Best joint lead performance went to Nathan Stewart-Jarrett and George MacKay for Femme (Jeff Moore/PA) Photo by Jeff Moore

Discussing the future of the industry, he told PA: “I think its heading in a great place, we just need support for more young, new filmmakers.

“It’s very important that we do that, invest in filmmakers and give them opportunity to help their ideas to be seen – very important.”

Irish actor Fiona Shaw agreed with McQueen, adding: “I think the future has never been so good. We also need independent film.

“We’re heading into a moment when the corporations may be defining what comes under the word entertainment but independent film comes under art.

“And by art that means that there is a point of view that’s strong, that may not always be comfortable.

“At the moment, our young actors are so brilliant, the essence of feeling that we’ve never had before, we have now.”