The Eye of the Storm wins special jury prize at Rome International Film Festival

Fred Schepisi’s The Eye of the Storm has been awarded the special jury prize at the Rome International Film Festival.

The Australian drama was not the sole winner of the prize, however, as a rare shift from tradition, saw Claude Miller’s French film See How They Dance also awarded the jury prize.

The Eye of the Storm, set in the exclusive Sydney suburbs circling Centennial Park, marks Schepisi’s return to Australian turf, as his first Australian film since Evil Angels in 1988. Nearly a decade in the making, the film is based on the Nobel Prize winning novel of the same name by Australian writer Patrick White.

The recent win at the Rome International Film Festival was not the film’s first. The Eye of the Storm was also awarded Best Australian Film at the Melbourne International Film Festival, and has been nominated for three IF Awards including Best Film, Best Actor for Geoffrey Rush, and Best Actress for Judy Davis.

The film explores the familial relationships of upper-class 1970s Sydney as it weaves through elements of both tragedy and sharp wit. Featuring a trio of award-winning actors in the lead roles, The Eye of the Storm is the story of a menacing mother (Charlotte Rampling) who, despite her impending death, continues to exert a powerful influence over her obnoxious expatriate children (Geoffery Rush and Judy Davis) as they assemble at her death bed.

Scripted by Judy Morris (Babe: Pig in the City, Happy Feet), The Eye of the Storm has also been successful at the box office, climbing to about $1.6 million so far.

Schepisi is a critically-acclaimed Australian director, with previous critical and commercial successes including The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith, Six Degrees of Separation and Empire Falls. The Eye of the Storm is distributed by Transmission Films/Paramount Pictures.

The big winner at the Film Festival was Argentinean comedy, Un Cuento Chino, taking home both the Marcus Aurelius prize for Best Film, as well as the special audience award.