This year’s Sydney Film Festival attendees have declared a pair of films set in the city as their favourites, with Rowan Devereux’s Evicted! A Modern Romance winning the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature and Luke Cornish’s Keep Stepping taking home Best Documentary.
Writer-director Devereux’s Evicted! clearly spoke to Sydneysiders perpetual struggle with the city’s housing market: the independent feature explores the trials and tribulations of looking for a home to rent in Sydney through the gaze of four millennial housemates on the verge of eviction.
The comedy marks Devereux’s first feature, produced by Sophie Saville via their joint company The Story Mill.
Two other Australian films, Macario De Souza’s 6 Festivals and Hannah Barlow and Kane Senes’ Sissy also made the audience’s top five, alongside Colm Bairéad’s Irish drama The Quiet Girl, and Lukas Dhont’s Close, which won the festival’s official competition.
Cornish’s audience award for Keep Stepping follows his win of the festival’s $10,000 Documentary Australia Award on Sunday evening.
The project follows two young women from Sydney in the competitive world of underground street dance.
Doco runners up also included Australian films Delikado, directed by Karl Malakunas and winner of the festival’s $10,000 Sustainable Future Award, and Everybody’s Oma from Jason van Genderen. Audiences also responded to Daniel Roher’s Navalny and Young Plato, directed by Neasa Ní Chianáin & Declan McGrath.
Sydney Film Festival director Nashen Moodley said the fact that both winners were Sydney-set and made was a testament to the love and pride the city has for its storytellers.
“Evicted! A Modern Romance is a particular insightful comedy that captures the zeitgeist of the Sydney millennial experience and is the feature debut of regular collaborators director Rowan Devereux and producer Sophie Saville. It’s no surprise this relatable film, that follows four housemates on the verge of eviction trawling Sydney’s rental market, took home the top prize,” he said.
“Delving into the world of Sydney’s street dance competitions, Keep Stepping captures the journeys of two remarkable female performers training for Australia’s biggest competition Destructive Steps. It’s a pleasure to see that Sydneysiders loved Luke Cornish’s seven-year production as much as our jury did.”
THE AUDIENCE AWARDS
The Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature
1. Evicted! A Modern Romance, directed by Rowan Devereux (Australia)
2. 6 Festivals, directed by Macario De Souza (Australia)
3. The Quiet Girl, directed by Colm Bairéad (Ireland)
4. Sissy, directed by Hannah Barlow & Kane Senes (Australia)
5. Close, directed by Lukas Dhont (Belgium)
The Audience Award for Best Documentary
1. Keep Stepping, directed by Luke Cornish (Australia)
2. Delikado, directed by Karl Malakunas (Australia)
3. Everybody’s Oma, directed by Jason van Genderen (Australia)
4. Navalny, directed by Daniel Roher (USA)
5. Young Plato, directed by Neasa Ní Chianáin & Declan McGrath (Ireland)