THE CROSSING and THE ROCKET Win Sydney 2013 Audience Awards

Contributing Writer; Melbourne, Australia
Earlier this week we heard the Jury picks for the 60th Sydney Film Festival; Refn and Gosling's Only God Forgives won the Official Competition prize and Buckskin won the Foxtel Documentary Prize. Now comes the Audience Awards.

Two Australian films won both prizes. The Rocket, directed by Australian director Kim Mordaunt (Bomb Harvest), won the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature. This coming-of-age tale set entirely in Laos screened at the Tribeca Film Festival, where it won the Best Narrative Feature and Best Actor prizes; and was earlier awarded three prizes at the Berlinale, including the Crystal Bear.

Meanwhile, The Crossing, directed by Julian Harvey, won the Audience Award for Best Documentary. The Crossing screened in the Foxtel Australian Documentary competition and follows two young Australians, Clark Carter and Chris Bray, as they attempt the difficult crossing of a remote island in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.

The press release with the announcement came with the usual brags about box office and attendance numbers (all record numbers, fantastically) however it was this sentence that I felt worth highlighting, as it showcases the real diversity of films on offer this year amid the big headline films.

For the first time ever SFF screened films from Angola (Death Metal Angola, screening in the Sounds on Screen program), Bangladesh (Television), North Korea (Comrade Kim Goes Flying), Malawi (William and the Windmill) and Saudi Arabia (Wadjda directed by Saudi Arabia's first-ever female filmmaker).
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