The 2019 Byron Bay Film Festival (BBFF) came to a spectacular close with the announcement of the winners of the BBFF Best Film Awards.
The event, now in its 13th Year, attracted entries from all over the globe.
BBFF Director J’aimee Skippon-Volke said:
“Whilst our programme featured a number of the strongest Australian titles to be in the festival circuit of 2019/20, we have decided it is important to bring BBFF back to the roots that independent festivals were born from. It is for this reason our nominees are made from independent films that are not represented here in Australia by local distributors. This allows our awards to support these filmmakers as they continue on the festival circuit and bring more attention to the work they do.”
The winner of both Best Film and Best Documentary was the powerful and enlightening ‘In My Blood It Runs’ which offers a rare and compelling insight into the life of 10-year-old Arrente and Garrawa boy, Dujuan. The audience was moved to laughter, tears and horror as they watched Dujuan navigate his role as both a traditional healer; and child beholden to the Australian education system.
The Winner of Best Dramatic Feature was taken out by Australian filmmaker Josephine Mackerras who’s debut feature Alice addressed a host of ethically fraught questions around society’s relationship with prostitution.
After writing the film in English, Ms Mackerras decided she didn’t want to wait any longer for funding, or to deal with the restrictions of the Australian Film Industry.
Ms Mackerras got the script translated into French, shot the majority of it in her own apartment using her own son and first-time actors – who gave an astounding performance – and delivered a finely tuned debut.
Alice previously took out the SXSW Grand Jury Prize.
To watch an interview with Josephine Mackerras click here.
The Winner of Best Experimental Film was ‘Continuum 01 – South in Self Exile’. The visual and sonic essay drew mixed responses from the audience, leaving very few people unmoved.
Directed and produced by Byron Bay landscape artist Jack Bailey the film was described by some as, “Mesmerising, like nothing I’ve ever seen before,” whereas a vocal minority caused controversy amongst the otherwise appreciative audience.
Mr Bailey said, “Poignant to my closing statement regarding the mediocracy of a homogenised society. I am glad through untampered natural imagery I was able to evoke such a primal and guttural reaction.”
The locals award for Best Byron Film went to Angus McDonald for Manus.
This short film shows the plight of refugees who have been detained on Manus Island in PNG by the Australian Government for the past six years.
Byron Bay Film Festival Director J’aimee Skippon-Volke said: “The Byron Film category is awarded to a film that encapsulates the spirit of our region and the strength of our local filmmaking talent. Human rights is an important issue to our community and Angus is an artist who uses his gift well in highlighting these issues.”
Brothers Jack and Peter Thompson also received an award honouring them for their work supporting and boosting the Australian Film Industry.
The announcement of the winners was followed by the Australian Premiere of The Cave – Tom Waller’s dramatisation of the rescue of the Wild Boars football team from Tham Luang Cave in northern Thailand.
Mr Waller himself was in attendance to introduce the film saying ”I’m really excited to be showing the film to an Australian audience here at the Byron Bay Film Festival. It was a remarkable story of ordinary people, who became heroes.”
Full list of the winners:
Best Film – In My Blood It Runs, Maya Newell
Best Dramatic Feature Film – Alice, Josephine Mackerras
Best Short Film – Nero, Jan-David Bolt
Best Documentary Film – In My Blood It Runs, Maya Newell
Best Experimental Film – Continuum 01 – South in South Exile, Jack Bailey
Best Surf Film – She is the Ocean, Inessa Blokhina
Honourable Mention (Surf Film Category) – Pacifico, Andreas Geipel and Christian Gibson
Best Animation – Hurlevent, Frederick Doazan
Rob Stewart Environmental Film Award – Kifaru, David Hambridge
Best Cinematography – Kofi and Lartey, Sasha Rainbow
Young Australian Filmmaker of The Year – Appetite, Claudia Bailey
Best Music Documentary – Out Deh – The Youth of Jamaica, Louis Josek
Best Byron Film – MANUS, Angus McDonald
Best Cinematic VR Experience – The Leap – Inside Architect Dorte Mandrup’s Mind
Best Interactive VR Experience – The Holy City, Occupied VR.
Honourable mention (VR Experience) – Gloomy Eyes, Fernando Maldonado, Jorge Teraso
Best Music Video – Pub Talk, Jake Taylor
Best Screenplay – Fear Sum, James Mayson
The winner of the Best Screenplay Award, James Mayson, will walk away with a $1500 cash prize.
The winning films really epitomised the essence of the Byron Bay Film Festival. We exist so important films like this can be seen and filmmakers can continue to do their inspiring work.