The 68th Australian International Movie Convention came to an end last night with an elegant dinner function and three major awards including a Lifetime Achievement for Australian icon, actor Jack Thompson.
The Pavilion Ballroom at Jupiters Hotel and Casino on Queensland’s Gold Coast was transformed into a Parisian-style salon in keeping with the theme Noir.
Awards were given as follows:
AIMC Star of the Year Award – Mia Wasikowska The Murray Forrest Award for Film Craft – Andrew Lesnie AIMC Lifetime Achievement Award – Jack Thompson
Natalie Miller AO introduced the AIMC Star of the Year Award, advising the audience of more than eight hundred delegates that Mia Wasikowska was in France filming Madame Bovary and would be unable to accept the Award in person.
A package of video clips highlighting the 24-year old actress’s remarkable career journey was followed by a message filmed at the Toronto Film Festival, in which Robyn Davidson, who Wasikowska plays in the John Curran film Tracks, presents her with the AIMC award.
In the filmed message, Davidson says: “I’m delighted to be in Toronto with Mia Wasikowska who so wonderfully plays me in Tracks, the film of the book I wrote so long ago. She’s a fabulous actress – she was the one I always wanted to play the part so I’m delighted to be able to officially present her with this actor’s award which she so deserves”.
Wasikowska’s response in the filmed message was: “Thank you very much to the Australian International Movie Convention. It’s a real honour to have this award. The film was very special for me – it gave me the chance to be able to work in Australia again for the first time in a long time and to reconnect with the Australian industry”.
The Murray Forrest Award for Film Craft was announced by its namesake, with the recipient – cinematographer Andrew Lesnie – also unable to attend.
Forrest said: "Andrew Lesnie is a most worthy recipient. From his beginnings as an assistant cameraman and focus puller thirty years ago on Australian films to the Academy Award for his astounding work on The Lord of the Rings – The Fellowship of The Ring, he has captured images that have thrilled audiences worldwide. He is without doubt one of the finest cinematographers practicing his craft today."
Alan Finney, Chairman of AFI/AACTA and film consultant, presented the AIMC Lifetime Achievement Award to his long-time friend Jack Thompson.
Finney said: “Jack Thompson truly deserves this honour. I first met and worked with Jack back in the early 1970s and I have fond memories of us travelling together to the US to promote Petersen….or as the American Distributor had retitled it, Jock Petersen”.
“Later we worked together on Breaker Morant for which Jack won a Cannes Film Festival Award and The Club and a few other local productions and only in the last few months I’ve been involved with one of his latest films, Mystery Road.”
“Jack was, and has always been, positive and enthusiastic about everything he does working both here in Australia and overseas – and our film and television industries and cultures have benefitted from his talent and commitment.”
“He deserves this Lifetime Achievement Award because he has achieved so much for our filmmakers, our distributors and exhibitors, for the international market and for all his friends.”
At the end of a video montage of Thompson’s career, the audience honoured him with a standing ovation. Thompson appeared touched and thanked the audience, and in particular the exhibitors, for their support for him.
NACO (National Association of Cinema Operators) – Australasia Executive Director Michael Hawkins, said: “I am, as ever, enormously appreciative of the industry’s support of the convention. We promised better weather in October – I think we delivered and the content from our distribution partners was as strong as it has ever been”.
NACO-Australasia inaugural Chairman Dr Peter Beattie AC, hands over the Chairmanship of the AIMC after three years in the role, to Terry Jackman.