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Sydney Film Festival June 4 - 22



Sydney Official Competition winner

Sydney Film Festival Jury President Gillian Armstrong last night announced UK film, Hunger, as the winner of the inaugural Sydney Film Prize. Hunger was awarded the Prize ahead of 11 other international films.

In her announcement at Sydney Opera House, Jury President Gillian Armstrong said, "Before we announce the winner of the Sydney Film Prize the jury would like to make special mention of two films. We commend Carlos Reygadas' Silent Light for its highly poetic and creative use of sound and image and the honest treatment of its universal story of love and pain. The second film we commend is Matthew Newton's Three Blind Mice for its energy, passion, superb ensemble cast and as such a fine collaboration by a talented group of young filmmakers.

"Choosing a winner has been a challenging decision because the competition presented such a strong and diverse selection of films. However, our final decision was unanimous. The inaugural Sydney Film Prize is awarded to Steve McQueen's Hunger.

"Hunger was selected for its controlled clarity of vision, its extraordinary detail and bravery, the dedication of its cast and the power and resonance of its humanity," said Armstrong

The Official Competition Jury - Australian Director Gillian Armstrong, Australian actress Essie Davis, LA film writer and critic Scott Foundas, Iranian director/writer/producer Majid Majidi and Hong Kong producer Nansun Shi - agreed unanimously on the decision. The Jury worked as a collegial ensemble, assessing the merits of each film within the criteria of 'audacious, cutting-edge and courageous filmmaking'.

Sydney Film Festival also announced the winner of the Rouben Mamoulian Award as part of the 20th annual Dendy Awards for Australian Short Films - Summer Breaks directed by Sean Kruck and produced by Caroline Barry.

All six Dendy Awards were presented this evening at Sydney Opera House. The 15 shortlisted films were screened at State Theatre on Friday 13 June.

The 2008 winners are:
Dendy Award for Short Documentary ($5000 cash prize): Rare Chicken Rescue
Director Randall Wood; Producers Trish Lake, Vickie Gest

Dendy Award for Short Fiction ($5000 cash prize): Ali and the Ball
Director Alex Holmes; Producer Helen Panckhurst

Dendy Award for Most Innovative Short Film ($5000 cash prize): Ephemeral Directed and produced by Tony Radevski and Jongsu Oh

Yoram Gross Animation Award ($4000 cash prize): Mutt
Director Glen Hunwick; Producer Beth Frey

CRC Award ($5000 cash prize): 296 Smith Street
Director John Evagora; Producer Jorge Tsadilas

Winner of the 2008 Rouben Mamoulian Award ($5000 cash prize): Summer Breaks
Director Sean Kruck; Producer Caroline Barry

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Wendy Dent

Wendy Dent reports from Sydney Film Festival


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