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Adelaide Fest Natuzzi and Fipresci prize winners announced

The Adelaide Film Festival is delighted to announce STILL LIFE by Jia Zhang-Ke as the winner of the inaugural NATUZZI International Award for Best Feature Film with special mention to SYNDROMES AND A CENTURY by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, and DARATT by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, as winner of the FIPRESCI International Critics Award for Best First or Second Feature.

The winners were announced last night, at the closing night of the Adelaide Film Festival and world premiere screening of Rolf de Heer’s new film, DR PLONK.

The NATUZZI International Best Feature Award is the first of its kind in Australia and director Jia Zhang-Ke wins a cash prize of $25,000.

The seven person jury, comprised of key figures in screen culture and the international art scene and led by Noah Cowan, co-director of the Toronto International Film Festival, decided between twelve narrative feature films invited into competition including BAMAKO, BOXING DAY, COLOSSAL YOUTH, FAMILY LAW, GRBAVICA, HALF MOON, THE HOME SONG STORIES, THE LIVES OF OTHERS, MADEINUSA, RED ROAD, STILL LIFE and SYNDROMES AND A CENTURY.

In making their deliberation, the jury were looking for a distinctive voice, bold storytelling, and creative risk-taking—but more than anything, a film that genuinely engages and transports the viewer.

Announcing the jury’s decision, Noah Cowan said, “The jury congratulates the Adelaide Film Festival on its audacious, risk-taking selection of films for Natuzzi Award consideration. In a field of exceptional films from some of the world's finest filmmakers we have selected Jia Zhang Ke’s "Still Life", for its bold, powerful artistic vision. It asks an urgent question: how do we value human life in the face of economic and cultural upheaval? The jury would also like to recognize with a Special Jury Mention Apichatpong Werrsithikal's "Syndromes and a Century" for its sheer beauty and radical approach to cinema.”

Responding to the news, Jia Zhang-Ke sent a filmed message from China in which he said, “Winning this prize is a great encouragement for the entire production team. For the Chinese people living under today’s tremendous transformation, this honourable prize will also be an important recognition of their dignity. I always believe that film media is a way of liberation, an eternal search for freedom. So thank you for your encouragement.”

Ten films were nominated for the FIPRESCI International Film Critic’s Prize including BOXING DAY, CLUBLAND, DARATT, THE GIRL WHO LEAPT THROUGH TIME, GRBAVICA, HOW IS YOUR FISH TODAY?, LUCKY MILES, PLAYING THE VICTIM, SPECIAL and TAXIDERMIA. Judges were Barbara Lorey de Lacharrière, Peter Krausz and Kirill Razlogov.

Announcing the award, the judges described DARATT, which was one of the films commissioned for Peter Sellars’ New Crowned Hope Festival, as “a film, profoundly anchored in African culture and the social reality of on- going post-war conflicts, yet delivering a universal message of redemption and forgiveness.”

The 2007 Adelaide Film Festival has been a huge success. 17 world premieres, including 5 features and 4 documentary features, 54 Australian premieres and films from 44 different countries were screened over a wildly exciting eleven days.

“The Adelaide Film Festival is a first class platform for Australian production and shows what can be done with smart investment, .smart artistic direction and a highly supportive Government,” said Adelaide Film Festival Chair, Cheryl Bart.


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