International film makers, homegrown heroes and heroines and up-and-coming stars were honoured at the "first" (if you ignore all the others that happened at Tyneside Cinema!) Newcastle International Film Festival.
At the closing event of a weekend which saw the screening of more than 40 films and 140 shorts, the festival held its own Victorem awards.
The festival – held across the Easter weekend at a range of locations across Newcastle – included appearances by a number of stars, all flying the flag for independent movie making. Hosting was star of I Daniel Blake, and established stand-up comedian, Dave Johns.
The proceeding were opened by the Band of the Royal Armoured Corps followed by a surprise appearance of Beccy Owen's Pop Up Choir, a group of women who had only met the previous Sunday and done two hours of rehearsals before performing a local folk song Waters of Tyne and classic Simon and Garfunkel's Feeling Groovy
Receiving the Icon Awards were directors Ken Loach and Abel Fererra, with the latter, who was in attendance across the weekend, receiving an on-screen congratulations message from actor Willem Defoe.
Local Legends awards went to actors Denise Welch and Jill Halfpenny, as well as to directors Neil Marshall and Grammy-award winner Geoff Wonfor.
The festival was the brainchild of North East businesswoman, Jacqui Miller-Charlton MBE, who not only wants to showcase the region to filmmakers but to also look at establishing a viable film industry in the area.
“The festival has really put Newcastle on a national and international stage and the support and recognition it has received has been amazing,” she said.
“This is just the start in our journey to turn the North East into a true centre for independent film making based on our three principles of honesty, integrity and transparency.
“NIFF has been supported for as far afield as Australia and India and now we will start work almost immediately on year two.”
Other winners on the night were:
Best Short – Perplexed Music
Best Documentary – The Run
Best Animation – Mary and the Witch’s Flower
Breakthrough Filmmaker – MCZ V Kiss
People’s Awards – Urban and the Shed Crew
Homegrown Talent – Skim for England
Best Feature- Die Beautiful
Best Director – The Rider
Best Actor – Richard Armitage