Lukas Dhont’s ‘Close’ Wins Best Film Prize at Sydney Festival

Lukas Dhont’s “Close,” which won the Grand Prix in Cannes last month, picked up the Sydney Film Prize, the top prize at the Sydney Film Festival, on Sunday evening.

Accepting the award via video message Dhont said: “It’s a film that comes from our hearts, that we worked on for a lot of years with many people.”

The international jury consisted of Australian actor David Wenham, Australian director Jennifer Peedom, writer-director-producer Mostofa Sarwar Farooki (Bangladesh), Berlin Golden Bear winner Semih Kaplanoglu (Turkey), and the executive director of the Kawakita Memorial Film Institute in Tokyo, Yuka Sakano (Japan). Twelve titles in the official competition included Carla Simon’s “Alcarras”, Hlynur Palmason’s “Godland”, Colm Bairead’s “The Quiet Girl” and Del Kathryn Barton’s “Blaze.” The winner is awarded AUD$60,000 ($41,600).

Australian filmmaker Luke Cornish was presented with the Documentary Australia Award’s AUD$10,000 cash prize for “Keep Stepping,” a film set in Sydney’s urban fringe about two female performers training for Australia’s biggest street dance competition.

The Dendy Awards for Australian Short Films were awarded to Jonathan Daw and Tjunkaya Tapaya for “Donkey” (AFTRS Craft Award and Yoram Gross Animation Award) and Luisa Martiri and Tanya Modini for “The Moths Will Eat Them Up” (Dendy Live Action Short Award and Rouben Mamoulian Award for best director).

In its second year the A$10,000 Sustainable Future Award, dedicated to films that feature strong environmental themes, was presented to the Australian documentary, “Delikado,” directed by Karl Malakunas, which reveals the tribulations of environmental crusaders on the Filipino island of Palawan.

The A$10,000 Sydney-UNESCO City of Film Award, bestowed by Create NSW to a trail-blazing local screen practitioner, went to film composer Caitlin Yeo while filmmaker Kylie Bracknell was awarded the 2022 Deutsche Bank Fellowship for First Nations Film Creatives. The Fellowship is an important investment in developing and nurturing the talents of local creatives and enhancing global awareness of Australia’s vibrant First Nations filmmaking talent.

The 2022 Sydney Film Festival, featured over 200 films from over 60 countries and ran June 8-19, 2022.

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