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2012 Sydney Underground Film Festival: Award Winners

2012 Sydney Underground Film Festival poster with popcorn bucket full of eyeballs

The 6th annual Sydney Underground Film Festival, which was held back on Sept. 6-9, gave out a slew of awards to short films and features alike.

A two-member jury panel of Jane Mills and Alex Munt gave out awards to a half-dozen short films, recognizing many for their brutality and/or visual innovation. Two films by Emma Varker, Gashbag and White Russian, were notable for being a “very personal take on violence” and for “going the distance” respectively. Meanwhile, Rajee Samarasinghe’s 01.39411.999 “refuses to aestheticise violence” and Dylan Kohler’s Chilly is “creatively original.” All winners with full jury notes are below.

Also, there were three Director’s Choice awards given to feature films. Frankie Frain’s Sexually Frank won for being an “excellent indie film,” while Gil Kofman’s documentary Unmade in China — a work still in progress — was noted for being “a fascinating, train-wreck of a story” and another documentary, Daryl Stoneage’s Donkey Love, was called “daring.”

Finally, local filmmaker Shaun Katz took home the Audience Choice award for his short thriller, Sleeping in Blood City.

The full list of winners is below:

Blood Film, dir. Lara Salmon and Kevin Walker
(Jury notes: combines a homage to Brakhage with the added element of blood in the frame to deliver an amazingly strong visceral impact.)

Chilly, dir. Dylan Kohler
(Jury notes: retro mashup that manages to be creatively original at the same time.)

01.39411.999, dir. – Rajee Samarasinghe
(Jury notes: horrifying film on torture that refuses to aestheticise violence.)

Gashbag, dir. Emma Varker
(Jury notes: a very personal take on violence, which remains true to spirit of the underground film world. Images remained imprinted on the back of my retina long after I saw them.)

Love, dir. David Sprüngli
(Jury notes: would like to call this the “Blue Velvet” Award – outstanding.)

White Russian, dir. Emma Varker
(Jury notes: Like Gashbag, in a category of their own — in terms of ‘going the distance’ it provides the hard core of these films.)

Director’s Choice: Sexually Frank, dir. Frankie Frain
(Director’s notes: an excellent indie film – made with surprisingly talented non-actors and a director/actor that can actually act, a super-low microbudget but wouldn’t know it and first and foremost a decent script!)

Director’s Choice: Unmade in China (WIP), dir. Gil Kofman
(Director’s notes: Although a work-in-progress, this film is one of the best docos we have seen in a while! It’s a fascinating, train-wreck of a story with big doses of humour and fun! Enjoyable from start to finish!)

Director’s Choice: Donkey Love, dir. Daryl Stoneage
(Director’s notes: a film that goes deep in the annals of an unknown cultural phenomenon – a daring film!!)

Audience Choice:
Sleeping in Blood City, dir. Shaun Katz
Runner Up: White Russian, dir. Emma Varker


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