‘The Mother of all Lies’ Wins Sydney Film Festival top Prize06/19/2023
The Mother of all Lies, a docu-drama film that probes the secrets of Morocco’s 1981 Bread Riots, was Sunday named the best picture at the Sydney Film Festival.
The jury, headed by Anurag Kashyap, called the Asmae El Moudir-directed film “audacious, cutting-edge and courageous.” It presented the A$60,000 ($41,100) cash prize film ahead at the State Theatre ahead of the Australian premiere screening of “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.”
The film, which uses doll-like figurines, recently premiered in Un Certain Regard at Cannes, where it earned the section’s best director prize. “Juxtaposing evidence from barely existent public materials with private family memory, this film reconstructs the history of the state, the family and the individual, in three distinct levels,” said the jury of Kashyap, actor Mia Wasikowska (Australia), film curator and journalist Dorothee Wenner (Germany), writer and director Larissa Behrendt (Australia) and filmmaker Visakesa Chandrasekaram (Australia – Sri Lanka).
The largest prize pool in Sydney Film Festival history was shared by Australian filmmakers Derik Lynch and Matthew Thorne who were awarded the Documentary Australia Award’s $20,000 cash prize for “Marungka Tjalatjunu” (aka “Dipped in Black”), which follows Lynch, a Yankunytjatjara artist, on a road trip back to his country roots (Aputula), as memories from his childhood return.
The 2022 recipient of the A$40,000 Sustainable Future Award, the largest environmental film prize in the world, was Indian director Sarvnik Kaur, for her film “Against the Tide,” an intimate documentary where two fishermen from Mumbai’s indigenous Koli community confront the impact of the changing environment.
There were also five awards for short films. The AFTRS Craft Award for best practitioner (a A$7,000 cash prize) went to Kalu Oji, Faro Musodza and Makwaya Masudi, screenwriters for “What’s In a Name?” The inaugural Event Cinemas Rising Talent Award, with a cash prize of A$7,000 was awarded to Robyn Liu, lead actor in “The Dancing Girl and the Balloon Man.”
The A$5,000 Yoram Gross Animation Award was awarded to “Teacups,” directed by Alec Green and Finbar Watson. The A$7,000 Dendy Live Action Short Award was awarded to “The Dancing Girl and the Balloon Man,” directed by David Ma. The A$7,000 Rouben Mamoulian Award for best director was presented to Sophie Somerville, director of “Linda 4 Eva.”
“This year’s festival was a huge success with a great number of film fans returning to the cinemas in 2023 attending over 400 film screenings, special events and talks. This year we presented 242 incredible films from across the globe and audiences were eager to take part in the festivities with over 100 sold out sessions,” said Sydney Film Festival CEO Frances Wallace.
The festival, which ran June 7-18, will now take to the road. Selections will be shown at seven locations in New South Wales, including Newcastle, Orange, Port Macquarie and Sawtell, as part of the Travelling Film Festival through to October 2023.
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