Amiel Courtin-Wilson's latest journey with Daniel P. Jones - the autobiographical docu-drama Hail - has reached a significant milestone, with the movie taking out the top critics prize for best Australian feature in their hometown, at the Melbourne International Film Festival.
The pair have been working together since they met the day after Daniel was released from prison, with their first on-screen collaboration - the incredible short film Cicada - screening in competition at Cannes in 2009.
Hail is their first feature together, and Amiel's first foray into drama after making several critically-acclaimed documentaries. Michael Cody produced. To quote from the MIFF programme:
Both epic love story and autobiography, the audacious Hail is the culmination of six years of collaboration between director Amiel Courtin-Wilson (Bastardy, MIFF 2008; Ben Lee: Catch My Disease, MIFF 2011) and Danny Jones, a 50-year-old former prisoner with a poet's vision of his world. Released from prison, the fierce-yet-vulnerable Danny is reunited with his lover Leanne (played by Jones' real-life partner Leanne Letch), with whom he shares an intense and haunting love. But despite his best intentions, Danny remains profoundly troubled by the spectre of alcohol and past violence witnessed, and it isn't long before his fragile domestic existence is torn asunder.
To quote The Age, which awards the prestigious prize each year, the judges said Hail announces Amiel as a filmmaker "of visionary ambition, whose emotional commitment to his subject matter is matched by a bold, expressionistic approach to image and sound." Madman is reportedly giving the film a limited Aus release in coming months.
Watch the trailer for Hail and the full short film Cicada below.