Press release from the Lantern Group

2009 Sydney Film Festival revealed the documentary The Cove as the major winner of the SHOWTIME Audience Awards leading the vote at both the State Theatre and Satellite venues; The feature film winners are Five Minutes of Heaven (The State Theatre) and Cedar Boys (at the satellite venues incorporating Dendy Opera Quays, Greater Union George Street and Art Gallery of NSW).

Audience Award: Best Documentary at the State Theatre and at Satellite venues – The Cove
Part environmental documentary, part horror film, part spy thriller, The Cove is as suspenseful as it is enlightening. Festival guest Louie Psihoyos’ film traces the fascination with dolphins and the multi billion-dollar industry that threatens their existence.

Audience Award: Best Fiction Feature at the State Theatre – Five Minutes of Heaven
SFF Official Competition Jury member Oliver Hirschbiegel’s fascinating examination of the cyclical nature of violence and the difficulties inherent in reconciliation is set in Belfast and stars festival guest James Nesbitt.

Audience Award: Best Fiction Feature at Satellite Venues – Cedar Boys
Serhat Caradee’s feature debut Cedar Boys is a forceful urban drama that provides an insight into Sydney’s multicultural underbelly.

The Audience Awards highlight the crowd-pleasing titles across feature films and documentaries and each winning film will receive a stunning Dinosaur Designs trophy.  This year saw a significant increase in audience engagement. Festival-goers responded enthusiastically with a 16% leap in voting numbers.

Marking the first year of SHOWTIME’s sponsorship of the award, CEO of SHOWTIME Australia, Peter Rose said: "SHOWTIME prides itself in delivering the best in film and documentary entertainment to its audiences nationwide and therefore we are delighted to support the Sydney Film Festival with the SHOWTIME Audience Awards – celebrating the most popular films and documentaries across the far-reaching program".

2009 has seen the Sydney Film Festival draw impressive crowds with the retrospective and restorations. Films such as Wake in Fright, Liza with a Z and The Big Parade all ranked within the top 10 at the State Theatre.  While the retrospective and restoration films are not included in the final results for Audience Awards, Ted Kotcheff’s Wake in Fright rated highly with audiences at the festival and SFF was thrilled to welcome Kotcheff as one of the Official Competition jury members in 2009.

Australian feature films scored well with Accidents Happen and Beautiful Kate in the top five at the State Theatre and Cedar Boys winning at the satellite venues.

Documentaries from the inaugural FOXTEL Australian Documentary Prize and from the festival’s sustainability focus proved exceptionally popular. The jury prize was shared by A Good Man and Contact which ranked second and third with audiences overall at the satellite venues after The Cove.  The Cove screened in the sustainability focus which also included The Burning Season and Food Inc.

The top 5 films in each category are as follows:

Fiction Features at State Theatre
1.    Five Minutes of Heaven (Dir: Oliver Hirschbiegel; UK/Ireland)
2.    Accidents Happen (Dir: Andrew Lancaster; Australia)
3.    Beautiful Kate (Dir: Rachel Ward; Australia)
4.    Looking for Eric (Dir: Ken Loach; UK/France/Belgium/Italy)
5.    Everlasting Moments (Dir: Jan Troell; Denmark/Sweden)

Fiction Feature at Satellite Venues
1.    Cedar Boys (Dir: Serhat Caradee; Australia)
2.    Coraline (Dir: Henry Selick; USA)
3.    Brendan and the Secret of Kells (Dir: Tomm Moore and Norma Twomey; Ireland/France/Belgium)
4.    In The Loop (Dir: Armando Iannucci; UK)
5.    Everlasting Moments (Dir: Jan Troell; Denmark/Sweden)

Documentaries at State Theatre
1.    The Cove (Dir: Louie Psihoyos; USA)
2.    The Burning Season (Dir: Cathy Henkel; Australia)
3.    Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired (Dir: Marina Zenovich; USA)
4.    The Queen and I (Dir: Nahid Persson Sarvestani; Sweden)
5.    Rough Aunties (Dir: Kim Longinotto; UK)

Documentaries at Satellite Venues
1.    The Cove (Dir: Louie Psihoyos; USA
2.    A Good Man (Dir: Safina Uberoi; Australia)
3.    Contact (Dir: Bentley Dean and Martin Butler; Australia)
4.    Yes Madam, Sir (Dir: Megan Doneman; Australia)
5.    Food Inc. (Dir: Robert Kenner; USA)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *