Bristol City of Film is celebrating with the team behind Mark Jenkin’s Bait, the debut feature from Totterdown-based production company Early Day Films, after they were awarded the BAFTA for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director and Producer at the prestigious annual awards on 2nd February.
Speaking to the South Bristol Voice about the ceremony, producers Kate Byers and Linn Waite said: “It was the most fantastic evening. It was brilliant. The Albert Hall is an amazing venue because it is huge but it’s also quite intimate, and so it’s got a fantastic atmosphere.”
Linn added: “The South West has been amazing. Normally, if we’re going to talk statistics, in terms of the box office in the UK – even for big blockbusters – the South West accounts for no more than 5%. But with Bait, 35% of the box office came from the South West. So we want to say a big thank you to anyone out there who has seen it, spoken about it, written about it, or spread the word, because it really has been word of mouth, and the support has been phenomenal.”
Bait was also nominated for Outstanding British Film, in good company alongside titles including Sam Mendes’ 1917, Dexter Fletcher’s Rocketman and Ken Loach’s Sorry We Missed You. Meanwhile, Aardman Animations’ A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon was nominated for Best Animated Film, alongside other box office hits including Toy Story 4 and Frozen 2. The Academy Award®-winning entertainment studio, which was founded in 1972, has won a total of 14 BAFTAs and four Oscars® for the feature films and shorts made in its Bristol studio over the years. The 2020 BAFTA for Best Animated Film went to Sergio Pablos’s Klaus.
Bristol City of Film’s Natalie Moore said: “Congratulations to Early Day Films, Aardman Animations and all the talented creative professionals that worked so hard to make these two fantastic films. Having two films produced in the city nominated for this year’s BAFTAs – and one to win – just goes to show the different kinds of filmmaking strengths that we have here in Bristol City of Film, coming from both emerging and established companies.”
Mark Cosgrove, Cinema Curator at Watershed, said: “It’s brilliant to see Bristol-based production company Early Day Films take a BAFTA award home for their debut production. Bait screened at Watershed for nine weeks in total; it proved so popular with audiences that we brought it back for an extra week over Christmas and the New Year. It was our second-best performing film of 2019 with 6,000 admissions, second only to the Oscar®-winning The Favourite.”
Bait enjoyed huge success on the independent film circuit last year after first catching the eye of critics at Berlin International Film Festival in February 2019. Following its World Premiere at the festival on 9 February, the film has attracted widespread praise, described by Mark Kermode as “a genuine modern masterpiece”.
Shot using a 1976 Bolex camera and 16mm Kodak monochrome film stock, the arresting tale of change in a picturesque fishing village has screened at more than 25 film festivals around the world, and made its UK premiere at Edinburgh Film Festival in June 2019. Awards to date include Best British Film (Screen Awards 2019), Breakthrough Producers (Kate Byers and Linn Waite, British Independent Film Awards 2019).
The 73rd British Academy Film Awards took place at the Royal Albert Hall in London, hosted by Graham Norton.