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At first glance, it's hard to see what "Somers Town" and "The Dark Knight" have in common.
One is a semi-improvised, microbudget, black-and-white movie financed by Eurostar, with a third of the dialogue in Polish. Originally conceived as a short, it expanded into a 70-minute feature during shooting and earned a creditable $800,000 in U.K. theaters.
The other is a fantastical, $185 million superhero extravaganza that has grossed more than $900 million worldwide for Warners.
Give up? Both directors, Shane Meadows and Christopher Nolan, won prizes earlier in their careers at the British Independent Film Awards.
Since the BIFAs were launched in 1998, the kudos have regularly honored indie veterans of the old school, such as Ken Loach, Mike Leigh and Stephen Frears, alongside younger filmmakers such as Kevin Macdonald, Stephen Daldry, Matthew Vaughn, Michael Winterbottom and Jonathan Glazer, who cross back and forth between the studio and indie worlds.
Meadows, nominated again this year for "Somers Town," is a long-standing BIFA favorite. He won the best debut prize for "TwentyFourSeven" at the first ceremony in 1998 and best British independent film for "This Is …