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Gay romance ‘God’s Own Country’ sweeps top prizes at British Independent Film Awards

Katharine Swindells December 11, 2017

British Release Poster

Gay romance ‘God’s Own Country’ was one of the biggest winners at last night’s British Independent Film Awards, including Best British Independent Film.

Josh O’Connor picked up Best Actor for his portrayal of angry, repressed farmer Johnny.

The Yorkshire-set romance also swept up Best Debut Screenwriter for Francis Lee, and Best Sound for Anna Bertmark.

On the cold, snowy night in London, Lee joked that he’d had to be dug out of his Northern home in order to make the ceremony.

The film follows Johnny, whose life changes when Gheorghe, a Romanian migrant, is hired to work on the farm for the season.

The two main characters of God's Own Country
Gheorghe and Johnny (Photo: Picturehouse Entertainment)

The film has been compared to famous gay love story ‘Brokeback Mountain,’ with some even saying this outshines the famous Ang Lee film.

In an exclusive PinkNews interview, star Alec Secareanu and director Francis Lee opened up about the film and what it means to them.

“What I love about this story is that it’s not a coming out story, it’s a love story,” Secareanu said.

“Love is more important than prejudice, society or the environment that you live in.

god's own country trailer
(YouTube)

Lee, who took influence from his own upbringing in the writing of the film, said he thought it was important the film was about two men.

“I don’t think it could be a man and a woman or two women, because the film is about masculinity and about how men communicate.”

“I think the film is about love, hope and falling in love, and most of us – if we’ve been lucky – have known what it feels like to fall in love.”

“It can be incredible and beautiful, but also tough.”

Francis Lee, Alec Secareanu and Josh O'Connor during Sundance 2017
Francis Lee, Alec Secareanu and Josh O’Connor

“God’s Own Country’ was also shortlisted last week in the Best First Screenplay category at the 2018 edition of the Writers’ Guild Of Great Britain Awards.

It opened the 71st Edinburgh International Film Festival at the end of June, where it won Best British Feature, and also won Best Feature at the Frameline41 International LGBT Film Festival.

It’s been a good few days for LGBT art, as today the much-heralded ‘Call Me By Your Name’ was announced as nominated for Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor and Best Picture at the Golden Globes.

Related: Armie Hammer says his ‘conservative’ mother may not see Call Me By Your Name

If it wins Best Picture, it would be the second year in a row that an LGBT-themed film takes the biggest prize, following on from Moonlight’s slightly befuddled triumph in 2017.

Emma Stone was also nominated for Best Actress for her portrayal of lesbian tennis legend Billie Jean King in ‘Battle of The Sexes.’

More: bifa, god's own country, golden globes

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