Young Adam sweeps board at Scots BAFTAs

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Key points

• Young Adam wins best film, director, and actor and actress

• Paula Sage wins best first performance with Afterlife

• Brian Cox wins outstanding achievement in film award

Key quote

"Scotland should think big and this shows it is thinking big. It also shows we don’t always have to go to London to do everything" - Billy Boyd, actor

Story in full THE film Young Adam swept the field at the BAFTA Scotland awards last night, as stars of the big and small screens celebrated the best in Scottish film and television.

Not only was it declared best film, it also won best director for David MacKenzie, best actor for Ewan McGregor and best actress for Tilda Swinton.

The awards ceremony, at the Radisson SAS Hotel in Glasgow before an audience of 550, was pitched to invest new glamour into the small but thriving world of Scottish film.

In other categories, the best first-time performance award went to Paula Sage, who has Down’s syndrome, for Afterlife. She played the sister of an ambitious journalist, Kenny, who is called home by family responsibilities.

She beat Natasha Watson, now eight - the youngest person ever nominated for a BAFTA Scotland award. She was just five when she performed the leading role in a short film, Iota, playing a mute whose twin sister disappears.

The Tree Officer, an eight-minute animated gem on the office life of a town council tree officer - described as "Wallace and Gromit meets The Office" - won best new screenplay for creator Neil Jack. He also collected best animation.

Touch the Sound - A sound journey with Evelyn Glennie won best documentary and Brian Cox got an outstanding achievement in film award. Best first-time director was Bernard MacLaverty for Bye Child.

But the undisputed star of the night was Young Adam. Based on the novel by the cult Scottish writer Alexander Trocchi, it tells the story of Joe, a rootless young drifter ensnared in the mystery surrounding a body floating in the Union Canal between Edinburgh and Glasgow.

MacKenzie had struggled for years to bring the book to the screen and was praised for creating a film laden with atmosphere and sexual energy.

Young Adam was always the clear favourite for best film - even though it premiered at the Edinburgh Festival in 2003 and went on general release in the UK more than a year ago, which means that it is unlikel y to benefit commercially from the award.

American Cousins, the contender nominated across three categories, mixed Sopranos-style Mafia gangsters with their Italian cousins running a Glasgow chip shop.

But critics said the film never gave such an appealing idea the polish it needed to be a serious contender. It did, however, win best screenplay award for writer Sergio Casci, and the UGC audience award.

Winners in the small screen and broadcasting categories were: Chancers, the best factual programme; Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill for the best entertainment show, Still Game; and John McCormick, who was given a Special Contribution to Scottish Broadcasting award.

The BAFTA event was the biggest in the organisation’s history and the decision to make it an annual event from now on is seen as a signal of growing confidence in Scotland’s film industry. The evening was hosted by GMTV presenter Lorraine Kelly.

Lord of the Rings actor Billy Boyd, who presented the best actor award, said: "Scotland should think big and this shows it is thinking big. It also shows we don’t always have to go to London to do everything."

Talking up the industry, Texas lead singer, Sharleen Spiteri, said: "As far as Scottish film making goes we are in an international arena. Scotland definitely does have talent with the actors, directors and writers - especially like Ewan."

The TV presenter Jenny Falconer said: "The BAFTA is such a wonderful event for the UK. It’s great that there is a Scottish BAFTA."

In a political aside before the event, the writer and actor Peter Mullen said the Scottish Executive had to look at funding for films. "It’s banging the same old drum, but they have to give us some form of tax incentive.

"We need to get the funding, and subsidy and tax breaks are the only feasible means for that to happen," he said.