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Film London Alumni nominated for Best Film, Best Director and Best British Short Film at the British Independent Film Awards 2018

Date posted: 06.11.2018

Film London are thrilled to announce that four alumni have been nominated for the British Independent Film Awards 2018; London Calling shorts Bitter Sea, by Fateme Ahmadi and The Field by Sandhya Suri have been nominated for Best British Short, Michael Pearce's Beast has 10 nominations including Best British Independent Film and Best Director and Leanne Welham is up for The Douglas Hickox Award (Best Debut Director) with Pili.

The British Independent Film Awards recognise independent filmmaking and filmmakers in the UK and have become a trusted indicator of industry talent. Whittling over 300 entrants to just a handful of nominees, Ahmadi, Pearce, Suri and Welham join a phenomenal list including Yargos Lanthimos (The Favourite), Bart Layton (Stan and Ollie) and Karen Gillan (The Party's Just Beginning). Our alumni follow in the footsteps of 2016 British Short Film winners Ashish Ghadiali and Rene Pannevis with their London Calling 2015 Jacked.

Now in its 20th year, BIFA was founded by Elliot Grove and Suzanne Ballantyne in 1998, who also founded the Raindance Film Festival in 1993. The winners will be announced on 2nd December 2018.

Fateme Ahmadi (Bitter Sea, 2017)

Fateme Ahmadi is an Iranian award-winning writer & director based between London and Tehran. Awarded a scholarship in 2010 to study filmmaking at The London Film School, Ahmadi wrote, edited and directed more than ten short films during the course, with her graduation film One Thousand and One Teardrops shortlisted in over 50 festivals worldwide. Fateme is currently writing her first feature script as well as working as the associate producer on feature documentary Coup 53 directed by Taghi Amirani and edited by Walter Murch.

Ahmadi's London Calling 2017 slate Bitter Sea surrounds a Romanian immigrant and single mother who has to hide her young daughter from her landlord in order to keep home and new life in London. After a series of festival circuits including London Short Film Festival, Aesthetica Short Film Festival, Oscar-qualifying Short Shorts Film Festival in Tokyo, Japan, the film has been spotlighted internationally, culminating in a well-deserved BIFA nomination.  

Michael Pearce (Beast, 2017)

Director Michael Pearce came through the Film London doors back in 2010 with father/son drama Rite. The film went on to dominate the film festival circuit, resulting in BIFA Best British Short Film and BAFTA Best Short Film nominations in 2011. Since then Pearce has created a range of short films, single TV Dramas and commercials. His most recent project and first feature Beast has taken the independent film world by storm, with screenings at Toronto International Film Festival, BFI London Film Festival, Sundance and Rotterdam International Film Festival.

Sandhya Suri (The Field, 2017)

Sandhya Suri's extensive film career started with a scholarship to study documentary at the National Film and Television School. Since then, her feature documentary I For India premiered at Sundance Film Festival and screening at over 20 international festivals- releasing to critical acclaim in the UK and the U.S. In 2016 Suri was selected for both the Sundance Screenwriters' and Directors' Lab with her first fiction feature Santosh.

Joining forces with Balthazar de Ganay for London Calling 2017 The Field, Suri tells the story of Lalla, a poor agricultural labourer in an Indian village preparing for the harvest. Focusing on female desire and decision, Lalla pursues a different kind of life than the one she's been granted. The film has received tremendous critical success, with selections at Telluride and London Film Festival, as well as winning Best International Short Film at Toronto International Film Festival 2018.

Leanne Welham (Pili, 2017)

Writer, director and trained editor Leanne Welham has not been shy of success over the years, with her 2009 Film London backed short Transgress in selection at the likes of Edinburgh Film Festival, London Short Film Festival and Stockholm International Film Festival. Welham has also directed an episode of original drama titled Big Girl through Channel 4's Coming Up scheme, earning 'Critics Choice' in the Sunday Times and The Observer. Last year, Welham was selected as a Screen Stars of Tomorrow.

Debut feature and BIFA nominated Pili is a ground-breaking film surrounding the women of Miono, Tanzania. Interviewing over 85 women in the community, Leanne condensed personal stories into the screenplay of one woman's life, Pili, and her struggle of living with HIV. The cast is made up of non-actors, 65% of whom are HIV positive.

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