[Press Release by Miranda Brown Publicity]

The 2009 BigPond Adelaide Film Festival is pleased to announce Booker Prize winning novelist, J. M. Coetzee, as the seventh and final juror for the 2009 Natuzzi International Award for Best Feature Film.

J. M. Coetzee will join Laurence Kardish, jury president, and fellow jurors Naomi Kawase, Hannah McGill, David Stratton, Bill Gosden and Jo Dyer.

J. M. Coetzee, born in South Africa and now a resident of Australia, is the author of twelve novels, for which he has won numerous international awards. He has twice been awarded the Booker Prize, once for Life & Times of Michael K (1983) and again for Disgrace (1999), and in 2003 was recognised with literature’s most prestigious award, the Nobel Prize for Literature. Coetzee has also written a number of works of non-fiction and has also been active as a translator of Dutch and Afrikaans literature.

Several of Coetzee’s novels and stories have been made into films. The latest, Disgrace, has been adapted by the Australian filmmakers Annamaria Monticelli and Steve Jacobs, and will be released in 2009.

Jury President, Laurence Kardish, is Senior Curator, Department of Film at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Kardish has organized hundreds of exhibitions for MoMA as well as annual presentations of new cinema from Germany and Canada and has served on the Selection Committee of the annual New Directors/New Films festival since its inaugural season in 1972.

Jo Dyer has worked as a producer in both the Australian film and performing arts industries. She is currently Executive Producer of Sydney Theatre Company. Jo began collaborating with writer/director Michael James Rowland in 1999 and together they developed Lucky Miles which premiered at the Adelaide Film Festival in 2007 and has since screened to great acclaim at Festivals worldwide. Through her company Soft Tread Enterprises, Jo is currently developing a range of theatre and TV projects.

Bill Gosden has been the director of the New Zealand International Film Festivals since the amalgamation of the Auckland International and Wellington Film Festivals in 1984. He worked previously as the Programme Director of the New Zealand Federation of Film Societies and as administrator of the Wellington Film Festival.

Naomi Kawase is a critically acclaimed Japanese film director who first caught the world’s attention as the youngest filmmaker ever to win the Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997 for her debut feature Suzaku (Moe no suzaku). Her first films were short documentaries with an autobiographical focus and she has continued to work across both documentary and fiction forms exploring themes that have deep personal resonance. She was awarded the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes for her feature film The Mourning Forest (Mogari no mori) (2007).

Hannah McGill became Artistic Director of the Edinburgh International Film Festival in September 2006, and has since served on juries for the Copenhagen DOX documentary festival and the Morelia International Film Festival. In 2008 she was named in Variety’s Women’s Impact Report as one of 50 female ‘movers and shakers’ at all levels of entertainment. As a critic and columnist, she has contributed to numerous publications including The Scotsman, The Herald, The Times, Uncut, Time Out, Art Review, The Guardian and Sight and Sound. She is also a published writer of short fiction and drama, and has had both plays and short stories broadcast by BBC Radio 4.

David Stratton is a former Director of the Sydney Film Festival, former film critic for the international film industry magazine Variety, and is currently film critic for The Australian and co presenter with Margaret Pomeranz of the iconic ABC Television’s film review program, ‘At The Movies’. A recipient of the Australian Film Institute ‘s Raymond Longford Award, David has also served as a former President of the International Critics Jury for the Cannes and Venice Film Festivals, authored two books, and is currently lecturing in Film History as part of the Continuing Education Program at the University of Sydney.

Established in 2007 and the first of its kind in Australia, The Natuzzi International Award for best feature offers a cash prize of $25,000, presented to the director of the winning film and is made possible through the generous sponsorship of NATUZZI.

Twelve narrative feature films will be invited into competition, at least one of which will be Australian, and they must have been completed by January 1 2008. In making their deliberation, the jury will be looking for a distinctive voice, bold storytelling, and creative risk-taking—but more than anything, a film that genuinely engages and transports the viewer. The president of the jury will announce the winning film on the closing night of the festival.

The twelve films invited into competition will be announced in January 2009. The 2007 winner of the NATUZZI International Film Award was Jia Zhangke’s Still Life.

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