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A Separation wins at the Sydney Film Festival

A Separation wins the Sydney Film Prize at the 2011 Sydney Film Festival
Sydney Film Festival Jury President, Chen Kaige announced A Separation as the
winner of the 2011 Sydney Film Prize at the Official Competition Awards lunch today at the Wharf Restaurant. The $AUD60,000 Sydney Film Prize is the largest of its kind for film in Australia. The Official Competition and the Sydney Film Prize is sponsored by iShares and a Dinosaur Designs trophy is also presented to the winning film.
Chen Kaige, speaking on behalf of the jury, said: “The 2011 Official Competition Jury has been mindful of the key criteria for this prize: we award a film which best demonstrates emotional power and resonance; a film which is audacious, cutting-edge, courageous and goes beyond the usual treatment of the subject matter. In our final deliberations we found two very different films about the relationships between men and women came closest to fitting these criteria. We take great pleasure in awarding the Sydney Film Prize to A Separation.
This film looks beneath the surface of relations between men and women in Iran in a way that raises questions about law, freedom and feminine and masculine honour. It is an extremely courageous film, successfully executed. We honour the filmmakers.
We would also like to make a special mention about Cairo 678. For it’s courage in using a popular form of cinema to successfully communicate the frustration and anger of women in Egypt with sexual harassment, and their determination to change this. It’s a film that resonates the world over.”
The 2011 Official Competition Jury comprised legendary Chinese director Chen Kaige (Jury President), internationally respected actor Kerry Fox, British producer Mark Herbert, Radio National’s Senior Film Critic Julie Rigg and Australian director Sarah Watt.
Director, producer and screenwriter of A Separation Asghar Farhadi has sent this message, "Here in Tehran at my home the day has just began and I have been awakened by my dear friend with a phone call giving me news of this award. I am on this side of the world and you are on the other, at this moment when it is the start of day here, it is approaching night time there. What could bring us together better than cinema? It removes the time and space separating us. I would like to thank Clare Stewart, Festival Director and her team as well as Jury President Chen Kaige and the members of the jury for this award and I would like to share this happiness with my fellow Iranians living there in Australia. Thank-you"

Past winners of the Sydney Film Prize are: Hunger, directed by Steve McQueen (2008); Bronson, directed by Nicolas Winding Refn (2009); and Heartbeats, directed by Xavier Dolan (2010). Jury President alumni are Gillian Armstrong (2008), Rolf de Heer (2009) and Jan Chapman (2010).

“Over the past 12 days iShares has been proud to support the 2011 Sydney Film Festival as the Official Competition sponsor, supporting original, innovative and creative films” said Damien Frawley, CEO BlackRock Australia.

The 12 Official Competition films were:
Amador – Director: Fernando León de Aranoa – Australian Premiere
Attenberg – Director: Athina Rachel Tsangari – Australian Premiere
Cairo 678 – Director: Mohamed Diab – Australian Premiere
The Forgiveness of Blood – Director: Joshua Marston – Australian Premiere
The Future – Director: Miranda July – Australian Premiere
Norwegian Wood – Director: Tran Anh Hung – Australian Premiere
A Separation – Director: Asghar Farhadi – Australian Premiere
Sleeping Beauty – Director: Julia Leigh – Australian Premiere
Take Shelter – Director: Jeff Nichols – Australian Premiere
Target – Director: Alexander Zeldovich – Australian Premiere
Toomelah – Director: Ivan Sen – Australian Premiere
The Tree of Life – Director: Terrence Malick – Australian Premiere
About Sydney Film Festival
Sydney Film Festival screens feature films, documentaries, short films and animations across the city including the State Theatre, Event Cinemas George Street, Dendy Opera Quays and the Art Gallery of NSW. The festival is a major event on the New South Wales cultural calendar and is one of the world’s longest running film festivals. For more information visit http://www.sff.org.au
Sydney Film Festival is supported by the NSW Department of Trade and Investment, through
Arts NSW and the Office of Trade, Business and Industry, the Federal Government through
Screen Australia, and the City of Sydney. The festival’s Strategic partner is the NSW Government through Events NSW. The festival’s Official Competition sponsor is iShares.

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