Page last updated at 10:50 GMT, Monday, 1 December 2008

Mumbai celebrated at film awards

Danny Boyle at the BIFA Awards

The director of a new movie set in Mumbai paid tribute to the Indian city as his film won top prize at the British Independent Film Awards.

"It's a city with a big heart that's been wounded this week, but it will recover," said Danny Boyle.

"It is weird to win this at the end of what's been a terrible week," added the Slumdog Millionaire director, referring to the attacks that killed 172 there.

"But the human spirit is dominant. They will overcome, you can bet on it."

Slumdog Millionaire, which will be released in the UK in January, also won best director and best newcomer for its 18-year-old star Dev Patel.

Sir Ben Kingsley, who famously played Indian spiritual leader Gandhi on film, also offered his condolences to Mumbai and its citizens.

"India will survive and move forward," said the actor. "They are a very resilient nation.


"I really hope India can shake this off, because so many people want to be there and invest there and enjoy their industry and economy."

Political drama Hunger also took three prizes at the London event, with Michael Fassbender named best actor for playing IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands.

Michael Fassender as Bobby Sands in Hunger
Best British independent film
Slumdog Millionaire

Best director
Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire)

Best actor
Michael Fassbender (Hunger - pictured)

Best actress
Vera Farmiga (The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas)

Best supporting actor
Eddie Marsan (Happy-Go-Lucky)

Best supporting actress
Alexis Zegerman (Happy-Go-Lucky)

Most promising newcomer
Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire)

Best debut director
Steve McQueen (Hunger)

Best screenplay
Martin McDonagh (In Bruges)

David Thewlis - Remus Lupin in the Harry Potter franchise - picked up a prize for his outstanding contribution prize to British film.

Vera Fermiga, the 45-year-old's co-star in concentration camp drama The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, took home the best actress award from the ceremony.

Hitman comedy In Bruges had received seven nominations but only picked up one trophy - for best screenplay - on the night.

Mike Leigh's Happy-Go-Lucky, the tale of a North London schoolteacher whose optimism tends to exasperate those around her, scooped two acting prizes.

Eddie Marsan took best supporting actor for his role as a driving instructor with rage issues, while Alexis Zegerman was named best supporting actress for her role as the heroine's long-suffering flatmate.

Michael Sheen, who plays David Frost in the film adaptation of Frost/Nixon, was honoured with the Variety Award for bringing global recognition to the British film industry.

Best foreign film went to political animation Waltz With Bashir, while Man on Wire - about the tightrope walker who wire-walked between the Twin Towers in New York - was named best documentary.

However, two of the ceremony's highest-profile nominees, Keira Knightley and Sienna Miller, failed to win awards.

Stars champion independent film

Knightley had received a best actress nod for her role in The Duchess, while Miller had been up for the best supporting actress prize for The Edge of Love.

This year's jury included Atonement director Joe Wright, photographer Rankin and actress Anne-Marie Duff.

Johanna von Fischer and Tessa Collinson, co-directors of the awards, said it had been a "stellar year" for independent film in Britain.

Slumdog Millionaire's success will boost the Oscar buzz surrounding the film, which has already won the influential People's Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival.

"I thought with awards season we'd only ever be at the back of the room waving," joked Boyle, whose other films include Trainspotting and The Beach.

"It's very nice to be at the front."

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