Films with illegal immigration as their themes have swept the board at the British Independent Film Awards (BIFA) ceremony at PO NA NA club, Hammersmith, London.

Stephen Frears' critically-acclaimed movie thriller Dirty Pretty Things won four prizes, including Best British Film and Best Director. Star CHIWETEL EJIOFOR (corr) took home the Best Actor prize for his role in the drama, in which he appeared opposite Amelie actress Audrey Tatou.

Michael Winterbottom's film about Afghan refugees trying to make their way to Britain, IN THIS WORLD, took two prizes.

Veteran British thespians John Hurt and SIR Ian McKellen were also recognised at the ceremony last night (04NOV03), winning the Richard Harris Award and the Personality of the Year gongs respectively.

Harrowing Irish drama THE MAGDELENE SISTERS won the jury award and Brazilian movie City of God took home the Best Foreign Film prize.

BIFA founder ELLIOT GROVE says, "This year has been unprecedented. As always the pre-selection process is incredibly hard because of the extraordinarily high standard of work produced.

"But this year the quality seems to have been higher than ever and we had to extend the nominations in each category to really do it justice."

05/11/2003 01:46