Greek Movie Takes Sydney Film Prize

Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos has won the official Sydney Film Festival competition award for his drama, Alps. This year’s festival screened 156 titles from 51 different countries in 225 sessions during 12 days, with 12 features in the official competition.

The news article “Greek film wins Sydney Film Festival” has all the details on this story. It says: “The film, about a secret club whose members are paid to act as replacements for the recently deceased, was chosen from 12 competition finalists. The $60,000 prize, Australia’s richest cash award for film, recognises courageous, audacious and cutting-edge film.”

Rachel Ward, the festival’s head of jury, said that Alps melds taut menace, pathos and black humour in a movie which is highly rewarding and challenging at the same time.

A superbly calibrated, absolutist study of identity and power, Alps is uniquely emotive, intelligent filmmaking from a new important voice in Greek cinema.

Though Lanthimos wasn’t in Sydney at the time of the announcement, he sent a message from Greece, ”I never expected such a nice wake-up call today. We are all extremely happy. I want to thank the Jury and the Festival and once again all the people who made the film possible.”

This year’s competition, all Australian premieres, also showcased two local movies directed by husband and wife competing against each other, Dead Europe (Tony Krawitz) and Lore (Cate Shortland), in addition to the first-ever South Korean movie in the official Sydney Film Festival competition, The King of Pigs; Neighbouring Sounds by Brazilian director/writer Kleber Mendonca Filho; the Oscar-nominated Monsieur Lazhar; On The Road by Walter Salles based on Jack Kerouac’s novel; Miguel Gomes’ Tabu, the Fipresci Jury Prize winner at Berlinale and Alain Gomis’ Senegalese drama Today.

The weather was unusually wet and cold, but it couldn’t dampen the spirits of movie fans in Sydney. Long queues and big crowds were seen at all screening venues and one could hear people discussing and talking movies literally everywhere. The event finished on a remarkably high note, becoming the most crowded Sydney Film Festival to date. Amazingly, nearly half of the sessions were more than 90 percent full. The event also drew considerable local and international attention.

The official competition prize was handed out at the event’s closing night gala.

The 59th festival concluded with the Australian premiere of the American comedy movie Safety Not Guaranteed.

About Benji

I am married and live on a farm near Margaret River with my wife, daughter and son. I set up The Margaret River Guide to assist people coming to Margaret River Western Australia to easily find what they are looking for. I also wanted to allow people to find activities they did not know about and to be able to openly comment on/ review businesses.

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