The acclaimed Brazilian feature film Neon Bull and the high octane documentary Speed Sisters have walked away with top honours at this year’s Adelaide Film Festival, announced today.
Neon Bull was announced as winner of the Foxtel Movies International Award for Best Feature Film at this year’s Festival. The Festival also announced Speed Sisters winner of its Documentary Award, sponsored by Flinders University. Neon Bull director and screenwriter Gabriel Mascaro was awarded a $25,000 cash prize.
Ten features from around the globe competed for the Award, including films from the US, Denmark, Ethiopia, South Korea, Vanuatu and Australia. Foxtel Movies International Feature Jury President Christian Jeune paid tribute to Mascaro as a leading figure in a burgeoning new wave film movement coming out of Recife in Brazil’s northeast.
On behalf of the Jury, Mr Jeune said Neon Bull was, “A project that impressed with its cinematic vision.”
“This work allows us into a place where both animal and human bodies are used to examine what it feels like to be alive and also to be trapped,” he added.
“Neon Bull surprised and moved us with its carnality and poeticism.”
Jeune was joined on the Festival’s International Jury by Maggie Lee, Asia Chief Film Critic for Variety; Tom Hajdu, composer and co-founder of music production company tomandandy; Wayne Lewis, Managing Director and co-founder Rising Sun Pictures, and Sophie Hyde, director and writer, from Adelaide’s Closer Productions Neon Bull centres around handsome cowboy Iremar (Juliano Cazarré), who works the macho rodeo circuit but has his head filled with dreams of sequins, pattern cutting and exquisite fabrics.
While he’s not afraid to get his hands dirty at the rodeo, Iremar’s real dream is to design exotic outfits for dancers. Director Mascaro said of his win: “I am extremely honoured to receive this wonderful award. I would like to thank the festival for providing me with the opportunity to show and discuss Neon Bull for the first time with Australian audiences. I would also like to highlight the intense and impassioned dedication of the actors in bringing this film to life, and the work of the crew and producers. Viva o Boi!”
The International Feature Award Jury also made special mention of young Australian actress Odessa Young for her role in Looking For Grace. Mr Jeune noted, “Her natural presence in a film that strikes a very particular tone”. Odessa also appears in Upside Down Feeling, a short directed by South Australian Eddie White and funded by the Adelaide Film Festival Investment Fund and the SAFC.
The Flinders University Documentary Award was presented by Jury representative Jane Shoettle, Toronto Film Festival, to Canadian director Amber Fares, who won the $10,000 cash prize. Speed Sisters focuses on the first all-woman race car driving team in the Middle East. Grabbing headlines and turning heads at improvised tracks across the West Bank, these five women have sped their way into the heart of the gritty, male-dominated Palestinian street carracing scene. Weaving together their lives on and off the track, Speed Sisters takes you on a surprising journey to overcome the odds to reinvent what it means to be not only a Palestinian under Israeli occupation, but a woman in a male world. Speed Sisters has its second screening at the Festival today at 4.45pm at Palace Cinema, with tickets still available here.
The 2015 Documentary Jury consisted of filmmaker Beck Cole; CEO of the NFSA and SecretaryGeneral of FIAF, Michael Loebenstein; and International Programmer for the Toronto Film Festival, Jane Schoettle. The Documentary Jury commended Speed Sisters “for shining a spotlight on a unique community of competitors who have remained dedicated to their passion despite numerous cultural and geopolitical challenges”.
They congratulated Amber Fares for “remaining steadfast in her commitment to tell this story for over seven years, and for defining the spirit of true independent filmmaking”.
Amber Fares said of her win: “We are thrilled to be awarded the Documentary Award from the Adelaide Film Festival. It’s been an honour to screen our film with such a great institution and in front such engaged and appreciative crowds. Thank you so much for including us in this year’s festival and for this award.”
Amanda Duthie, Adelaide Film Festival Director said today of the winning films: “It has been an honour working with these stellar juries as they took pleasure in this line up of terrific films from across the world.
“The passion and hard work to create a film is rewarded by audiences who come to see the final film – but an award is also a mighty fine endorsement.“
Adelaide Film Festival closes this Sunday after 11 days of the best local, national and international cinema. Ms Duthie added four of the festival audience favourites – Highly Strung, A Month of Sundays, Girl Asleep and Carol will return to Adelaide screens next week for special post-Festival screenings – the events at Palace Cinemas are the perfect opportunity for film lovers who missed their runs at the Festival or for those who want to experience them again.
Next Monday October 26, Girl Asleep will screen at 6.30pm, followed by A Month of Sundays at 8.45pm. Next Tuesday October 27, Highly Strung will screen at 6.30pm, followed by Carol at 8.45pm.