Canberra International Film Festival selects winners

Press release from the Canberra International Film Festival

Votes are officially in for Best Films from the record-breaking attendance of the 2011 Canberra International Film Festival.

And the winners are:
Best International Feature Film: Life Above All (South Africa/Germany)
Best Documentary: Buck (USA)
Best Retrospective: Carmen Jones (USA)

Life Above All was a heart-breaking story of a young girl dealing with powerful social taboos in South Africa. Speaking from his current film set in Morocco, the film’s director Oliver Schmitz said he was happy and honoured to receive the award. “Life, Above All means a lot to me and has an important message,” he said. “Thanks to the CIFF audience and the wonderful cast. We all thank you!”

CIFF Artistic Director, Simon Weaving said it was wonderful to see so many people enjoy the African films. “Life, Above All brought a very powerful story about a part of the world we rarely see on screen,” he said. “ So, I’m delighted it has picked up the Audience Award.”

Buck, a moving documentary directed by Cindy Meehl about Buck Brannaman, the man who inspired The Horse Whisperer, won Best Documentary.
And winner of the audience award for Best Retrospective screening was Carmen Jones, a 1954 musical love-story, starring Harry Belafonte and Dorothy Dandridge.

All three of the winning films were screened at the Arc cinema, at the National Film and Sound Archive. Newly appointed CEO, Michael Loebenstein, said he was particularly pleased to report the Arc cinema had almost a 20% increase in attendance from last year. “I would especially like to thank Simon Weaving for his outstanding artistic direction of the festival, which is increasing in popularity each year,” he said.