The Newport Beach Film Festival (NBFF) held its third annual pre-BAFTA UK Honours at the Bulgari Hotel in London.

Though seemingly tenuous in connection, the Californian film festival run the event, with support from trade magazine Variety, HMV and Visit Newport Beach California, to celebrate and recognise the UK cultural industry and its contribution to the worldwide arts scene. Past events have honoured Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch for their work in Imitation Game, plus the cast of Brooklyn.

Amongst attendees were actors Charles Dance and Miranda Richardson, and photographer David Bailey, all named British Icons, individuals who have “built revolutionary careers with a lifetime of extraordinary contributions to their craft”. Actor and comedian Dave Johns who played the title character in I, Daniel Blake, and producer Rebecca O’Brien, were there to receive honours bestowed on Ken Loach’s searing look at the UK’s welfare state for Outstanding Achievement In Film.

NBFF executive director Gregg Schwenk felt the film fit the UK Honours requirement of a work that “leaves you changed and with a different perspective”. He said of I, Daniel Blake: “Granted it’s about the UK social welfare system, but the underlying themes of human dignity and compassion are definitely universal and will transcend not only to the US, but to the rest of the world.”

For the first time Variety also presented their “Ten Brits to Watch”, highlighting up and coming British talent including literary author Sarah Perry, actors Max irons (The Riot Club, Bitter Harvest), Alfie Allen (Game of Thrones), Craig Roberts (Submarine), director/actor Kate Maberly (Finding Neverland), screenwriter Krysty Wilson-Cairns, and theatre director Kate Hewitt. Ella Purnell (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children) was given the Breakthrough `Award.

Representatives from Edinburgh International Film Festival and Creative Scotland (Ken Hay), Pinewood Studios (Eric Stevens), and the Ink Factory (Simon Cornwell) were there to accept recognition as arts champions for their work to “promote, defend, produce, educate, and encourage creativity and the arts.”

Others in attendance as guests were actors Susan Wokoma (Chewing Gum), Chanel Cresswell (This Is England), Sophie Skelton (Outlander), Jenn Murray (Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them) and artist Matt Collishaw.

By Sarah Bradbury. First published on The Upcoming on 13th February 2017.
Photos: Filippo L’Astorina

The Newport Beach Film Festival UK Honours took place on 9th February 2017. The Newport Beach Film Festival itself will take place from 20th until 27th April 2017, for further information visit here.

Watch our interview with Charles Dance here: