Running from 5-16 June, the 2013 Sydney Film Festival recently announced this year’s internationally acclaimed award-winning jury members, featuring Hugo Weaving as Jury President. Other members are international filmmakers Anand Gandhi (India) and Pia Marais (Sweden/South Africa), film critic and curator Paolo Bertolin (Italy) and Australian producer Kath Shelper.
Now in its sixth year, the internationally recognised Sydney Film Festival Official Competition, awards a $60,000 cash prize. This is Australia’s richest cash award for film and recognises the most courageous, audacious and cutting-edge film from the twelve selected.
Hugo Weaving is one of Australia’s most acclaimed and respected actors, whose many credits range from international blockbusters Cloud Atlas, The Hobbit, The Matrix and The Lord of the Rings trilogy to award winning Australian films such as Oranges and Sunshine. He has appeared on stage in over twenty productions for the Sydney Theatre Company, and received the Australian Film Institute’s Best Actor award for his performance in Proof (1991) and also for Little Fish (2005). In 1998, he received the Best Actor award from the Montreal Film Festival for his performance in The Interview.
Weaving will also feature in the Festival’s Opening Night film, the Australian murder mystery Mystery Road.
Hugo Weaving is the sixth Jury President of the Official Competition, following Australian filmmaker Rachel Ward (2012), Chinese filmmaker Chen Kaige (2011), Australian producer Jan Chapman (2010) and Australian filmmakers Rolf de Heer (2009) and Gillian Armstrong (2008).
Anand Gandhi is a filmmaker, playwright and artist, deeply interested in philosophy, evolutionary psychology and magic. His work in theatre, television and short cinema has won him several prestigious awards in the past decade.
Award-winning South African and Swedish director Pia Marais studied film at the Deutsche Film-und Fernseh-Akademie (DFFB) in Berlin, where she is still based. Marais made her feature debut with Die Unerzogenen (The Unpolished), which was screened at many international film festivals (including SFF 2007) and won various prizes, including a Tiger Award in 2007 at the International Film Festival Rotterdam.
Italian film critic Paolo Bertolin is a member of the selecting committee of the Venice Film Festival, with a special mandate for the pre-selection of films from Korea and Southeast Asia. He also works for other Italian festivals, including Udine Far East Film Festival, the Festival dei Popoli in Florence and the Korea Film Fest in Florence.
Kath Shelper produced the award winning Australian film Samson and Delilah, which was directed by Warwick Thornton. The film won the Camera d’Or (best first feature) at Cannes. Kath was the recipient of the 2005 Inside Film Award for Rising Talent and her film Confessions of a Headhunter won the AFI Award for Best Short in 2000.
Sydney Film Festival also presents a number of awards to recognise excellence in local filmmaking, including the Foxtel Australian Documentary Prize and the long running Dendy Awards for Australian Short Films, which are Academy Award eligible. Sandra Tiltman