Calibre wins EIFF's Michael Powell Award

Edinburgh-based filmmaker Matt Palmer’s Highland set thriller takes Edinburgh International Film Festival’s top prize, with Best Documentary going to Kevin Macdonald's Whitney

Article by Jamie Dunn | 29 Jun 2018
  • Vaughn (Jack Lowden) & Marcus (Martin McCann) in Calibre

As the 72nd edition of Edinburgh International Film Festival comes to a close, the event's various juries announce their award winners.

This year’s top prize, The Michael Powell award for Best British Feature, is handed to Edinburgh-based filmmaker Matt Palmer for his debut feature Calibre, a sinewy thriller following two pals on a hunting trip in the Highlands.

The winner was chosen by the Michael Powell Jury, which comprised of Ana Ularu, Jason Connery and Iain de Caestecker. In a statement, the trio said that Palmer’s film “unanimously made the biggest impact on us. Beautifully shot, technically accomplished, with a fantastic ensemble performance, director and screenwriter Matt Palmer pitches the tension and emotional journey flawlessly. We are fully invested in the characters and their dilemmas as the choices they make lead to a shattering conclusion.”

Recent recipients of the award – named after the great Michael Powell, director of Peeping Tom and The Red Shoes – includes Francis Lee’s God’s Own Country (2017) and Andrew Haigh’s 45 Years (2015), while past winners include Derek Jarman’s Blue, Antonia Bird’s Priest and Paweł Pawlikowski’s My Summer of Love.

On finding out Calibre had won, Palmer said, “We've been completely thrilled by the amazing response from Edinburgh International Film Festival audiences and had a fantastic experience at the festival.” If you missed Calibre, it screens again on Sat 30 June and will be streaming on Netflix 29 June. Read our interview with Palmer.

The Michael Powell jurors also selected their Best Performance in a British Feature Film, splitting the prize between Liv Hill and Sinead Matthews for their roles in Jellyfish, a drama about a tortured teen who turns to standup comedy.

The award for Best International Feature Film went to Cyril Shäublin’s Those Who Are Fine, which received its UK Premiere at this year’s Festival. The winner was chosen by the International Jury comprised of Gráinne Humphreys, Simin Motamed-Arya and Yung Kha, who said that “we agreed that the film was a playful and engaging commentary on contemporary society; elements and ideas were unified with a minimalist elegance by the director and cinematographer. A fresh and vital new talent.”

“Edinburgh welcomed us and our film warmly, both the people and the sun were beaming,” said Shäublin. “It was great how people from the audience started talking to us about our film, after the screenings outside the cinema, questioning the movie and sharing with us their own ways of looking at things. That’s the best we can ask for.”

The award for Best Documentary Feature Film went to Kevin Macdonald’s Whitney, his moving portrait of the troubled singing icon. The jury, made up of Gaston J-M Kaboré, Nada Cirjanic and Kate Muir, describes Macdonald’s doc as “an assured film which delivers on every count, from narrative momentum to superb journalism and flawless editing, exposing a story which has timely and timeless resonance.”

Macdonald said the award means a lot to him: “It’s great to win Best Documentary at Edinburgh particularly as I started my life in documentaries at the Festival 20 years ago working as a documentary programmer.” Read our interview with Macdonald.

Best Short, meanwhile, went to Emily Ann Hoffman’s stop-motion animation Nevada, which was commended for "its originality and in particular for its depiction of intimacy.”

Best of the Fest announced!

Best of the Fest was also announced. The films you’ll have a second chance to see this weekend include Incredibles 2, Ideal Home, C’est la vie!, Flammable Children, Storm in my Heart, Terminal, Dead in a Week (Or Your Money Back) and The Heiresses.

All films in the Best of the Fest will screen at select times on 1 July with tickets costing £8. Visit for individual screening times and more information.