The 2011 BigPond Adelaide Film Festival is pleased to announce the five-person jury for its prestigious International Award for Best Feature Film. For the 2011 festival, this award will be known as the 10 NEWS International Award for Best Feature FilM, thanks to the generous support of 10 News, who will present a cash prize of $25,000 to the director of the winning film.
Presiding over the 2011 jury will be Julietta Sichel, producer and former director of programming for the Karlovy Vary Film Festival. Sichel will head a panel comprising of Pierre Rissient, one of the most legendary programmers from the Cannes Film Festival; Hossein Valamanesh, Iranian/Australian contemporary artist; Trevor Groth, Program Director for the Sundance Film Festival; and Taika Waititi, director of the acclaimed NZ hit of 2010, BOY.
Twelve narrative feature films will be invited into competition, at least one of which will be Australian, and they must have been completed by January 2010. In making their deliberation, the jury will be looking for a distinctive voice, bold storytelling, and creative risk-taking—but more than anything, a film that genuinely engages and transports the viewer. The President of the Jury will announce the winning film on the closing night of the festival.
JULIETTA SICHEL studied German and English language and American literature at the University of Salzburg, Austria, and film history and theory at the Charles University of Prague, Czech Republic, graduating with a Doctorate Degree. In 1995, she joined the programming team of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival; from 2005 till 2010 she was the festival’s Program Director. She has also been active as a journalist and has been a long-term member of the international federation of film critics, FIPRESCI. She served on several international juries and curated numerous film retrospectives and special focuses. She is a founder of Prague-based independent film production company 8Heads Productions and is currently producing her first feature.
TREVOR GROTH’s first job in the film world was interning for the Sundance Institute in Utah. He joined the Sundance Film Festival programming staff in 1993 where he has worked ever since. He became Director of Programming in 2009 heading up the staff that selects the films and juries. From 2001-2009 Groth served as Artistic Director for the CineVegas Film Festival, providing strategic direction and the artistic vision of the Festival. Under his guidance, CineVegas emerged as one of the premiere film festivals in the United States.
TAIKA WAITITI is the director of the acclaimed feature BOY, the highest grossing NZ movie of all time. Taika is of Te-Whanau-a-Apanui descent and hails from the Raukokore region of the east Coast of NZ, and has been involved in the arts as a visual artist, actor, writer and director. His first short film Two Cars, One Night was nominated for an Academy Award in 2005, and his next short, Tama Tu about a group of Maori soldiers in Italy during World War II won a string of international awards. His first feature, Eagle vs. Shark, was released internationally in 2007 after selling to Miramax on the basis of a trailer. Taika has been involved in some of New Zealand’s most innovative and successful productions. He has a strong background in comedy writing and performing and with fellow comedian Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords), has won New Zealand’s top comedy award, the “Billy T” and also the “Spirit of the Fringe Award” in Edinburgh.
HOSSEIN VALAMANESH is a contemporary artist. Born in 1949 Tehran, Iran, Valamanesh graduated from the School of Fine Art Painting in Tehran in 1970 and emigrated to Australia in 1973. Since graduating from further studies at South Australian School of Art he has exhibited frequently in Australia and internationally, including in Germany, Poland and Japan. Hossein’s work is included in most major public Australian art collections.
PIERRE RISSIENT is a fixture on the international festival circuit, tirelessly championing his favourite films and directors, and bringing them to wider audiences and attention via Cannes. One of the most legendary programmers at the Cannes Film Festival, he is renowned for discovering Clint Eastwood, Quentin Tarantino, Jane Campion, Abbas Kiarostami, and many more. Rissient was the subject of Todd McCarthy’s 2007 documentary Man of Cinema: Pierre Rissient.
The twelve films invited into competition will be announced in January 2011. The 2009 winner was TREELESS MOUNTAIN by So-yong Kim.