The Imposter‘s director Bart Layton (pictured, right) and producer Dimitri Doganis (left) took the award for Outstanding Debut at the BAFTAs in London on Sunday evening (February 10), while Searching for Sugar Man won the Best Documentary prize.
Layton and Doganis beat the helmers of fiction films The Muppets, Wild Bill and I Am Nasrine, and the documentary McCullin, to take the award for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer at the 66th British Academy Film Awards, held at the Royal Opera House in London.
The director’s prize comes less than a fortnight after Layton spoke at the 2013 Realscreen Summit in Washington DC, and caps a momentous year for The Imposter, which enjoyed its world premiere at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival in Utah. The film last month picked up the Best Documentary prize at the 33rd London Critics’ Circle Film Awards.
Speaking to realscreen last month about the making of the doc, which looks at case of a serial con artist who assumed the identity of a missing Texas teen, Layton said: “If it wasn’t a documentary and real people weren’t in it, people wouldn’t be so gobsmacked by [the story].
“It felt like part of it belonged in the real world and another part belonged in a Coen Brothers screenplay. I wanted to find a language for the film that reflected that – had one foot in a documentary and the other foot in a film noir.”
Meanwhile, Malik Bendjelloul’s Searching for Sugar Man continued on a trajectory that has landed it frontrunner status for the Best Feature Doc Oscar, beating out Marley, West of Memphis, The Imposter and McCullin to take the BAFTA for Best Documentary. The film has won a wide array of prizes, including the main doc honors from the DGA and the PGA.
Talking with realscreen last year, Bendjelloul described the long process of making the film. “It started out as one good story,” he said, “but you need 40 little small stories because every minute you need something that gets you going, ‘What’s going to happen next?’”