by Steven Ertelt
December 1, 2004
London, England (LifeNews.com) — A pro-abortion film that celebrates a woman who helped others obtain illegal abortions swept the British Independent Film Awards taking six top honors.
"Vera Drake" ran away with the best film award and producer Mike Leigh received the best director honor.
Imelda Staunton snatched the Best Actress honor, Phil Davis brought home the award for top actor, and Eddie Marsan won the best supporting actor nod.
Vera Drake, named best film at the Venice Film Festival of 2004, is set in the 1950s. Vera is a cleaning lady who "helps girls out" when they are pregnant and considering an illegal abortion.
One woman who has a covert abortion is a mother of seven who says she can’t afford another child, another is fearful of telling her husband she had an affair.
Vera believes it is her duty to help the women have abortions, but hides her actions from her family. She visits women in their homes and helps them obtain secret abortions she performs at hospitals — until she is jailed when one of the women is injured as a result.
Staunton is reportedly being considered for an Oscar for her role in the film.
In October, producer Leigh told Ananova press that he is proud of the film and the pro-abortion message it conveys.
"I’m pro-choice but I hope this is a film that does not bludgeon the audience in black and white. It’s a moral dilemma," Leigh said.
Staunton, a British actress, admitted to the San Francisco Chronicle that she worries about abortion becoming illegal again in the United States.
"Everyone is pro- or anti-, but it’s not going to go away. (But) if the laws change and it becomes illegal, it could go back to how it was in the film," Staunton said.
In addition to capturing the Golden Lion prize at Venice, Vera Drake also garnered the Best Actress award.
The film had been rejected earlier in the year by the Cannes festival.
The top honors at the British film awards were chosen by a jury chaired by Anthony Minghella, the film event director. Members of the jury include the actors Christian Slater and Cate Blanchett, and the artist Sam Taylor-Wood.
The British Independent Film Awards were established in 1998.