By Simon de Bruyn

The second directorial effort by Matthew Newton, Three Blind Mice, has picked up the FIPRESCI International Critics Prize at the London Film Festival.

The film screened at both the Melbourne and Sydney Film Festivals earlier this year, and received a commendation from the Gillian Armstrong-lead jury in the latter’s inaugural competition.

Last week there were some mutters of surprise when the film received no recognition in the 2008 AFI Award nominations.

Three Blind Mice is a fast-paced comedy-drama about three naval officers on shore leave in Sydney, the night before they are due to ship out for Iraq. Newton wrote, directed and acted in the film, which is his second as writer-director after his little seen 2004 debut Right Here Right Now.

The film also screened in the discovery section at the Toronto International Film Festival, screens this week at the AFI Fest in Los Angeles, and will also screen to buyers at this year’s American Film Market. Odin’s Eye Entertainment is handling international sales.

Newton, who is currently playing one of the leads, Terry Clark, in the second series of Underbelly, has two more scripts in development, People People and The Dotted Line.

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