Guardian shortlists 10 titles for Best First Film

Posted by · 11:17 am · December 24th, 2010

When I was filling out my ballot for indieWIRE’s 2010 critics’ poll, Best First Film was perhaps the category I spent the longest time deliberating over — as unremarkable as the year has been in other respects, the amount of scrappy new directorial promise surging up through the cracks has been both unusually high and unusually prominent.

Excitingly, much of this fresh filmmaking energy has been on the non-fiction side of things — something reflected in The Guardian’s newly announced shortlist for their annual Best First Film award. Four of the 10 films selected are documentaries after a fashion, even as they play with the boundaries of the format. (One of them, of course, turns out to be wholly a performance piece.)

Included, of course, is Kris’s #1 film of the year, as is the film I eventually settled on for my indieWIRE vote. The list follows the UK release calendar — hence the inclusion of a 2009 title and the exclusion of, say, “Animal Kingdom” — but it’s a fine selection nonetheless.

The shortlist looks like this:

“The Arbor,” Clio Barnard
“Down Terrace,” Ben Wheatley
“Exit Through the Gift Shop,” Banksy
“Four Lions,” Chris Morris
“Gainsbourg,” Joann Sfar
“I’m Still Here,” Casey Affleck
“Monsters,” Gareth Edwards
“Restrepo,” Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger
“A Single Man” Tom Ford
“Skeletons,” Nick Whitfield

The winner will selected by a panel of Guardian critic Peter Bradshaw, actress Saffron Burrows and previous winner Gideon Koppel.

→ 25 Comments Tags: , , , , , , , | Filed in: Daily

25 responses so far

  • 1 12-24-2010 at 11:35 am

    red_wine said...

    Guy when will you be doing your Top 10 column?

  • 2 12-24-2010 at 12:00 pm

    Keil Shults said...

    He can’t answer you right now. The BBC is airing a 24-hour Moulin Rouge marathon.

  • 3 12-24-2010 at 12:25 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    I had hoped to get it done before Christmas, but flu, travel complications and holiday prep all got in the way. Next week.

  • 4 12-24-2010 at 1:49 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    I really didn’t like “Monsters,” but it just keeps racking up notices like these. Left me on the dock, that one did.

  • 5 12-24-2010 at 2:06 pm

    Chase Kahn said...

    “Monsters” is pretty bad. I think Gareth Edwards has something, but that film (besides being a full-year too late on the socially conscious science-fiction front) is hopelessly tepid.

  • 6 12-24-2010 at 2:08 pm

    Angry Shark said...


  • 7 12-24-2010 at 2:39 pm

    Loyal said...

    Monsters should have been right up my alley (an angst ridden love story alien invasion mashup in Mexico) but I was bored to tears and severely disappointed.

  • 8 12-24-2010 at 2:42 pm

    Daniel said...

    Angry Shark certainly lives up to his name. Anywho, Exit Through the Gift Shop would be my favorite of those nominated.

  • 9 12-24-2010 at 2:51 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    And yes, Four Lions is rather amazing.

  • 10 12-24-2010 at 2:56 pm

    Dooby said...

    Four Lions is absolutely in my Top 10 – I was going in expecting a couple of laughs, I got much, much more. I would’ve thought it was too good to be overlooked.

  • 11 12-24-2010 at 3:10 pm

    Peter said...

    The Guardian is a terrible paper.

  • 12 12-24-2010 at 3:11 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    and nobody mentions Four Lions

    Except for the fact that it is, you know, on the list.

  • 13 12-24-2010 at 3:32 pm

    geha714 said...

    Put me in the “Love Four Lions” column.
    Hilarious all the way. Rubber dinghy rapids bro!

    Merry christmas, everyone.

  • 14 12-24-2010 at 3:54 pm

    Keil Shults said...

    Guy Lodge loves John Hawkes.

  • 15 12-24-2010 at 4:24 pm

    Sieben said...

    Gainsbourg is a brilliant movie. Probably my favourite biopic this side of I’m Not There.

  • 16 12-24-2010 at 7:56 pm

    Daveylow said...

    Is Gainesbourg about Serge? This film hasn’t been released in the US as far as I know.

  • 17 12-24-2010 at 11:13 pm

    Robert Hamer said...

    A Single Man? Ick, I hope that ranks low on your list.

    Having not seen Restrepo yet, I’d go with Exit Through the Gift Shop.

  • 18 12-25-2010 at 12:16 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Daveylow: Indeed, it is about Serge.

    Robert: A Single Man was in my top 15 last year. Sorry.

  • 19 12-25-2010 at 5:12 am

    Patrick said...

    Did not find Four Lions funny. For me, this category begins and ends with Animal Kingdom.

  • 20 12-25-2010 at 5:35 am

    Michael said...

    All of these Monsters haterz need to GTFO (sike ;^P)

    I can’t stand waiting for Four Lions to come out on DVD (since it never came to a theater anywhere near me.) I hope that I find it FUNNY after all the marketing claimed it as such.

  • 21 12-25-2010 at 6:10 am

    Leocdc said...

    Animal Kingdom was the movie that blows my mind this year. More than Inception even :P
    I’m in love with that film. If it were in my hands to nominate films on Oscars, I totally would give it a BP, BD, Best Screenplay, and acting nominations.
    Still,I don’t see Four Lions

  • 22 12-25-2010 at 10:57 am

    Pope said...

    Exactly what Leocdc said, word for word ^

  • 23 12-25-2010 at 11:34 am

    Speaking English said...

    “A Single Man” is practically revelatory. So extraordinary.

  • 24 12-25-2010 at 7:24 pm

    Glenn said...

    “Monsters” is my #1 of the year. Diff’rent strokes…

    Love the “Exit” and “Four Lions” inclusions. Didn’t like “A Single Man” much and “I’m Still Here”… well, yeah, whatever. Haven’t seen any of the others, unfortunately.

  • 25 12-26-2010 at 8:26 am

    Rashad said...

    Monsters is awful. A s/fx demo with two of the most unlikable annoying lead