BIFA Nominations for Best Documentary

The British Independent Film Awards was founded by Raindance in 1998 to honour and celebrate independent films made in Britain. Previous winners have included Billy Elliot, Slumdog Millionaire and The King’s Speech.

If you are a fan of independent films of the British persuasion, follow @BIFA on Twitter for useful tips and live updates form the event itself.

Read all the 2012 BIFA nominations here.
The winner will be announced on Sunday 9 December 2012.

Dreams of a Life

Director: Carol Morley (Prior work: ‘The Alcohol Years’ and ‘Edge’)

Writer: Carol Morley

Synopsis: A filmmaker sets out to discover the life of Joyce Vincent, who died in her bedsit in North London in 2003. Her body wasn’t discovered for three years, and newspaper reports offered few details of her life – not even a photograph

What Critics Are Saying:

“It’s a fascinating film, skilfully assembled, and one is inevitably reminded of Citizen Kane and Rashomon…”

“Morley’s film is a mirror. How much do we know ourselves? How much do others know us? It works on the ego as much as it works on our empathy.”

“A riveting tale of a onetime vivacious personality, described by those who knew her as “stunning,” “lovely,” and “very well liked,” but who nevertheless died alone, friendless and seemingly missed by nobody.”


London: The Modern Babylon

Director: Julien Temple (Prior work: ‘The Filth and the Fury’ and ‘Earth Girls Are Easy’ and ‘Bullet’)

Writer: Julien Temple

Synopsis: From musicians, writers and artists to dangerous thinkers, political radicals and above all ordinary people, this is the story of London’s immigrants, its bohemians and how together they changed the city forever. Reaching back to London at the start of the 20th century, the story unfolds through film archive and the voices of Londoners past and present, powered by the popular music across the century. It ends now, as London prepares to welcome the world to the 2012 Olympics.

What Critics Are Saying:

A dizzying collage of all the changes in London’s social and architectural fabric since light was first trained through celluloid.”

“a brilliant, exhaustive and exhausting clip-collage, a visually throbbing cine-quilt”

“a mesmerising anti-nostalgic advert for the metropolis.”



Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir

Director: Laurent Bouzereau (Known for “Making of” films, including ‘Making of Steven Spielberg’s ‘Jaws’’)

Synopsis: The documentary tells the extraordinary story of Roman Polanski’s life, beginning with his childhood in the Cracow ghetto, through to his work and life today in France with his wife Emmanuelle Seigner. The conversations were recorded during Roman Polanski’s stay in his home in Gstaad where he was under house arrest for several months after he was apprehended on his way to the Zurich Film Festival in 2009. The conversations are illustrated with excerpts from Polanski’s films, news footage, press clippings, private and exclusive photos, and documents chronicling the filmmaker’s extraordinary life.

What Critics Are Saying:

“a fascinating glimpse into the complex and often controversial life of director Roman Polanski, culled from some 20 hours of conversation filmed at Polanski’s Gstaad estate during his house arrest at Zurich’s film festival in 2009.”

“Polanski opens up on camera like never before”




Director: Kevin Macdonald (Prior work: ‘The Last King of Scotland’ and ‘State of Play’ and ‘Touching the Void’)

Synopsis: A documentary on the life, music, and legacy of Bob Marley.

What Critics Are Saying:

‘It wants to show us the man behind the famous dreads, beatific smile and durable songs of love, hope and longing. In this task it succeeds admirably.’

‘A wonderfully-revealing, warts-and-all tribute to the human spirit of a Rasta rock god!’

‘This is a life story worth telling, and “Marley” does it much justice. Marley may or may not have been perfect, but he was certainly fascinating.’



The Imposter

Director: Bart Layton (Feature film debut. Prior work includes: ‘Banged Up Abroad’ and ’16 for a Day’)

Budget: N/A

Synopsis: A documentary centered on a young Frenchman who convinces a grieving Texas family that he is their 16-year-old son who went missing for 3 years

What Critics are Saying:

“A mesmerizing con-artist comedy and a chilling true crime thriller…”

“This is edge-of-your-seat stuff and the difficulty is in the telling of the tale”

“In the annals of forged identity flicks, this is a towering Everest, dwarfing the deceivers…”