One of the richest Australian film festivals and home of the only Australian film Scholarship prize, The Commonwealth Bank Reel Deal Short Film Festival, gave away over $20,000 in cash and prizes at the gala awards ceremony on Saturday August 2.

The Reel Deal awards night was hosted by comedian Kitty Flannigan and what a great night it turned out to be. The evening was attended by Bryan Brown, patron of the festival who lends his name to the film scholarship. Rachel Ward, acclaimed director Mark Joffe as well as TV and Radio personality Jonathan Coleman, and guest judge Serhat Caradee amongst others were also present.

With the involvement of influential industry professionals like AFTRS, UWS, TVS and the Cumberland News Group, the awards are not just a “back slapping” exercise, but a great opportunity for young film makers to showcase their talent and work in front of people who can help shape their careers. Plus the practical and generous cash support from sponsors including the Commonwealth Bank, Bankstown City Council and Revesby Workers’ Club to help their dreams turn into reality.

This year the calibre of entries was so high the decisions faced by the judges was difficult to say the least. The level of skill displayed by the finalists was exceptional across the board. A number of 2008 finalists were return entrants from previous years. Rob Leggo and Kiah Roach-Turner in particular produced outstanding short films, proving that the encouragement received from influential people like Bryan Brown has motivated them to improve themselves and return to the festival with an even higher standard of work.

Both Kiah and Rob took the opportunity to film at the newly introduced location of Broken Hill with funding supplied by Film Broken Hill, Bankstown City Council and free travel compliments of City Rail.

The result was two films which each claimed three awards on the night, and left Bryan Brown unable to choose one above the other for the major prize. Brown instead opted to award the scholarship to the winner of a coin toss on stage at the awards, because both young men were equally deserving of the accolade.

Rob Leggo was the lucky winner of the coin toss and was awarded the Bryan Brown film scholarship.

The Commonwealth Bank $5,000 Best Film award this year went to Kiah Roache-Turner for ROAD RUNNER.

RAGE OF JUSTICE by Toby Morris & Nicholas Aplin took the $1,000 Peoples Choice Award sponsored by Bankstown City Council. And our youngest ever entrant, Daniel Woods at just 13 years of age, was awarded $1,000 as an encouragement award to develop his potential as an animator. The film festival has become so popular that a 13 year old believed he has a chance to show his talent, what a great achievement.

Over 200 people attended the 2008 awards night with many celebrating the quality and enthusiasm of our next generation of young film makers. We are looking forward to a fantastic Reel Deal in 2009 which will be announced shortly so visit the website

“We are so proud of all our finalist and want to send a big congratulations. Also we would like to extend a big thank you to all our judges and sponsors for a great year” says Amanda Mikhail, Marketing Manager, Revesby Workers Club. “We look forward to an even bigger 2009 Reel Deal Film Festival, with more talent”

The 2008 Winners are
BRYAN BROWN FILM SCHOLARSHIP Rob Leggo –OBSERVATION $5,000 Scholarship. Sponsored by Revesby Workers Club

BEST FILM ROAD RUNNER – Kiah Roache-Turner $5,000 Cash Prize. Sponsored by The Commonwealth Bank

Kiah Roache-Turner – ROAD RUNNER $1,000 Cash Prize

Rob Leggo –OBSERVATION $1,000 Cash Prize

BEST ART DIRECTION Kevin White – END OF THE LINE $1,000 Cash Prize

BEST SCRIPT Eduardo Garcia – SHARED LIVING $1,000 Cash Prize

BEST EDITOR Rob Leggo –OBSERVATION $1,000 Cash Prize

BEST ORIGINAL MUSIC Nick Whitehead – RAGE OF JUSTICE $1,000 Cash Prize

BEST ACTOR Jay Gallagher -ROAD RUNNER $1,000 Cash Prize

RAGE OF JUSTICE – Toby Morris & Nicholas Aplin
$1,000 Cash Prize – voted by the public. Sponsored by Bankstown City Council

BEST ANIMATION (Encouragement Award) Daniel Woods – COCOON $1,000 Prize to be used for further study or equipment/software to develop potential in the area of animation.

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