Festival launches new awards

A NEW award – celebrating ‘excellence in cinema’ plus the 60th birthday of the Edinburgh International Film Festival – has been made to Scottish film producer, Rebecca O’Brien.

In association with director, Ken Loach, with whom she will share the award, O’Brien has been given the accolade for, among other movies, Sweet Sixteen and Ae Fond Kiss, which she produced and which were filmed in Scotland.

Others to receive the award include actress, Tilda Swinton, who lives in Scotland, plus fellow actress, Sigourney Weaver, whose latest film, Snow Cake, in which she plays an autistic woman, makes its UK premiere at the festival.

Mike Leigh and Simon Channing-Williams, the production team behind the critically-acclaimed Vera Drake, plus American documentary maker, D.A. Pennebaker, are also recipients.

Said Shane Danielsen, the festival’s artistic director: “The Diamond Awards are meant to celebrate outstanding contributions to worldwide cinema and we feel these inaugural recipients perfectly exemplify this and set the tone for any future awards.

“We are particularly pleased to acknowledge the creative partnerships that underpin excellence in filmmaking with the awards to Mike and Simon and Ken and Rebecca.”

Presentation of the awards will be made at various points throughout the festival, with the five British winners receiving their prizes on Saturday at a special ‘Directors’ Drinks’ event.

But the Diamond Awards are not the only new awards being launched by the film festival. The Best Documentary Feature Award aims to recognise “a singular and compelling achievement in non-fiction filmmaking”, in particular work which “reveals a fascination with a particular subject”.