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Arabian Nights directed by Miguel Gomes was awarded the prestigious Sydney Film Prize out of a section of 12 Official Competition films at the 62nd Sydney Film Festival.

Arabian Nights directed by Miguel Gomes was awarded the prestigious Sydney Film Prize out of a section of 12 Official Competition films at the 62nd Sydney Film Festival tonight awarded Arabian Nights, directed by Miguel Gomes, the prestigious Sydney Film Prize, out of a selection of 12 Official Competition films.

The $62,000 cash prize was awarded at the Festival’s Closing Night Gala awards ceremony and event: the world premiere screening of Neil Armfield’s Holding the Man, held at the State Theatre.

Journalist Michael Ware and two-time Oscar winner Bill Guttentag were awarded the Documentary Australia Foundation Award for Australian Documentary, a $10,000 cash prize, for Only the Dead; with a special mention going to The Lost Aviator directed by Andrew Lancaster.

Only the Dead

The Dendy Awards for Australian Short Films were announced; awarding A Single Body directed and written by Sotiris Dounoukos the Dendy Live Action Short Award; Grace Under Water directed and produced by Anthony Lawrence the Yoram Gross Animation Award; and Brooke Goldfinch for Red Rover the Rouben Mamoulian Award for Best Director, with a special mention to Ryan Griffen for You Turn.

The Event Cinema Australian Short Screenplay Award was awarded to Bluey, written and directed by Darlene Johnson, who received a $5,000 cash prize. Lord Mayor Clover Moore said, “This year’s Sydney Film Festival was another hugely enjoyable triumph. With more than 300 screenings of the best local and international cinema, we’ve seen the world through the eyes of some of the most exciting directors, screenwriters and cinematographers.”

Sydney Film Festival CEO Leigh Small said, “Our Closing Night Gala marks the end of another successful 12-day Festival, and the eighth consecutive year of growth in attendance. This year we welcomed over 176,000 people to screenings, events and talks.”

“Sydney Film Festival is also delighted to announce that Nashen Moodley will continue as Festival Director for another four year term,” she said. 

NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for the Arts Troy Grant said, “The NSW Government has been proud to support the Sydney Film Festival. This year's festival opened and closed with feature films produced in NSW and enthralled audiences with more than 250 films over 12 days, reinforcing Sydney’s role as a global creative hub.” 

Sydney Film Festival Director Nashen Moodley said: “The Festival has been bolstered by a strong line-up of Australian films. From the world premieres of Australian feature films Ruben Guthrie, Holding the Man, The Daughter, Last Cab to Darwin and Riz; to important Australian documentaries including Sherpa, Gayby Baby, Tyke Elephant Outlaw and Freedom Stories; to great examples of new and dynamic Australian short film, such as the Screen: Black program of 13 new Indigenous Australian films, and the Dendy Shorts including Academy Award winner Adam Elliot’s new claymation Ernie Biscuit.”

“Other highlights included hosting Academy Award winning documentarian Alex Gibney to sell outs sessions of his new film Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief at the State Theatre, and two premieres of Gibney’s other most recent films Steve Jobs: the Man in the Machine, and Mr Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown.”

“Staging the southern hemisphere’s first ever premiere of a film on a ship – Princess Cruises Sun Princess, with Gillian Armstrong’s Women He’s Undressed; and an almost instantaneous sell out of Amy - the new Amy Winehouse biopic at Dendy Newtown, have also contributed to an incredible year for the Festival,” he said.

“Closing the Festival with the much anticipated world premiere of Neil Armfield’s Holding the Man to a sold out audience at the State Theatre; with stars Ryan Corr, Craig Stott, Sarah Snook and Camilla Ah Kin attending the screening alongside the director and producer Kylie du Fresne; has been a great moment for the Festival and the Australian film industry,” he said.

The selection of films in Competition for the SFF 2015 Sydney Film Prize were:

Portugal, France, Germany, Switzerland | 2015 | Total 383 mins (Vol. 1: 125 mins, Vol. 2 132 mins, Vol. 3 126 mins) | In English, Portuguese, French and German with English subtitles | Feature Director: Miguel Gomes | Screenwriters: Miguel Gomes, Mariana Ricardo, Telmo Churro | Producers: Sandro Aguilar, Luis Urbano | Cast: Crista Alfaiate, Adriano Luz, Américo Silva, Carloto Cotta, Crista Alfaiate, Chico Chapas, Luísa Cruz

Italy | 2014 | 108 mins | In Italian with English Subtitles | Feature Director: Francesco Munzi | Screenwriters: Francesco Munzi, Fabrizio Ruggirello, Maurizio Braucci | Producers: Gianluca Arcopinto, Luigi Musini, Olivia Musini | Cast: Marco Leonardi, Peppino Mazzotta, Fabrizio Ferracane

Australia | 2015 | 96 mins | In English | Feature Director, Screenwriter: Simon Stone | Producers: Jan Chapman, Nicole O’Donohue | Cast: Geoffrey Rush, Ewen Leslie, Paul Schneider

USA | 2014 | 105 mins | In English | Feature Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon | Screenwriter: Jesse Andrews | Producers: Jeremy Dawson, Steven Rales, Dan Fogelman | Cast: Thomas Mann, Olivia Cooke, RJ Kyler

Sweden, Norway, France, Germany | 2014 | 100 mins | In English and Swedish with English subtitles | Feature Director, Screenwriter: Roy Andersson | Producer: Pernilla Sandström | Cast: Holger Andersson, Nils Westblom, Charlotta Larsson

Australia, Nepal | 2015 | 96 mins | In English, Nepali and Sherpa with English subtitles | Documentary
Director, Screenwriter: Jennifer Peedom | Producers: Bridget Ikin, John Smithson

Australia, Ireland | 2014 | 112 mins | In English | Feature Director: Kim Farrant | Screenwriters: Fiona Seres, Michael Kinirons | Producers: Naomi Wenck, Macdara Kelleher | Cast: Nicole Kidman, Joseph Fiennes, Hugo Weaving

Iran | 2014 | 88 mins | In Persian with English Subtitles | Feature Director, Producer: Rakhshan Bani-Etemad | Screenwriters: Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, Farid Mostafavi | Cast: Golab Adineh, Saber Abar, Farhad Aslani

USA | 88 mins | In English | Feature Director: Sean Baker | Screenwriters: Sean Baker, Chris Bergoch | Producers: Sean Baker, Karrie Cox, Marcus Cox, Darren Dean, Shih-Ching Tsou | Cast: Kiki Kitana Rodriguez, Mya Taylor, Karren Karagulian

Iran | 2014 | 82 mins | In Farsi with English subtitles | Feature Director, Screenwriter, Producer: Jafar Panahi | Cast: Jafar Panahi

Germany | 2015 | 140 mins | In English, German and Spanish with English Subtitles | Feature Director: Sebastian Schipper | Screenwriters: Sebastian Schipper, Olivia Neergaard-Holm, Elke Schulz | Producers: Jan Dressler, Sebastian Schipper, David Keitsch, Anatol Nitschke, Catherine Baikousis | Cast: Laia Costa, Frederick Lau, Franz Rogowski

France | 2014 | 77 mins | In French with English subtitles | Feature Director, Screenwriter: Thomas Salvador | Producer: Julie Salvador | Cast: Thomas Salvador, Vimala Pons, Youssef Hajdi

Winners of all Sydney Film Festival awards are presented with the Festival’s signature mesmeric swirl award, designed and handmade in Sydney by Festival partners Dinosaur Designs.

Each Jury Member and winner of the Sydney Film Prize for 2015 receives an exquisite timepiece from the Festival’s watch partner Philip Stein.

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