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Riz Ahmed to Receive British Independent Film Awards’ Top Honors for Contribution to British Films

Riz Ahmed to Receive British Independent Film Awards’ Top Honors for Contribution to British Films

  • The actor, musician, producer and activist is also nominated for a BIFA in the best actor category for Michael Pearce’s “Encounter.”

British actor, musician, producer and activist Riz Ahmed will receive the Richard Harris Award, instituted by the British Independent Film Awards on Dec. 5. The award is given to an actor or actress who has “contributed significantly to British films throughout their career.”

This March, Ahmed made history by becoming the first Muslim to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for “Sound of Metal.” He was seen as a hard rock drummer who loses his hearing in “Sound of Metal,” co-written by Darius Marder.

In 2020, he won the BIFA award for both the best debut screenwriter award for “Mogul Mowgli,” his first foray into feature film writing and best British short film for “The Long Goodbye,” which he co-created and starred in. This year, he’s nominated in the best actor category for Michael Pearce’s “Encounter.”

“I am grateful to the British Independent Film community for their immense support throughout all these years,” said Ahmed. “To receive the Richard Harris Award at the BIFAs this year is a true honor, I hope to be able to continue to learn from those who came before me while encouraging the rising generation to follow their creative dreams.” Ahmed is one of the most prominent British advocates for diversity on screen, recently launching a new initiative for Muslim representation in media. The Blueprint for Muslim Inclusion provides film industry professionals with guidance on how to support Muslim stories and storytellers. According to its website, the Blueprint includes short, medium, and long-term solutions for change, concrete recommendations for everyone from production companies to drama schools, and a suite of practical resources and contacts to support everything from script screening to casting

He will join the ranks of previous honorees, including Kristin Scott Thomas, Judi Dench, Vanessa Redgrave, Daniel Day-Lewis, Helena Bonham Carter, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Julie Walters, John Hurt, Emma Thompson, Jim Broadbent and Glenda Jackson.

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The actor got his first break in Michael Winterbottom’s 2006 film “Road to Guantanamo,” and has subsequently started in “Nightcrawler,” “Rogue One,” “Jason Bourne,” and Venom.” He is an executive producer on Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s critically acclaimed animated documentary “Flee,” hotly tipped for an Oscar nomination, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Deadline has reported that Ahmed, along with Lulu Wang, will develop and executive produce the comedy series “The Son of Good Fortune” at Amazon. Based on the novel of the same name by Lysley Tenorio, the series is about an undocumented Filipino teenager in the Bay area navigating a tumultuous relationship with his former B-movie action star mother, falling in love for the first time, and working out how to pay back a massive debt before his whole life crumbles. He is currently working on a film adaptation of author Mosin Hamid’s best-selling book, “Exit West,” directed by Yann Demange, via his production company Left Handed.

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