Story Contributed by Emma Alsop
Australian feature film Paper Plans has been named the winner of the prestigious CinéfestOZ Film Prize and the record $100,000 reward.
Directed by Robert Connolly, the family film features an all-star Australian cast including Sam Worthington, David Wenham, Deborah Mailman and Ed Oxenbould.
Connolly received the award during the CinéfestOZ Gala Nights festivity Saturday night in Busselton, Western Australian.
Connolly hopes winning the prize will help attract new audiences to the film. “I am really flattered to receive this, I am really touched,” he said.
“We want this film to be a big hit for kids and something like this is a massive, massive help right now for that.”
Paper Planes follows the life of young Australian boy, Dylan (Oxenbould), whose obsession with creating and flying paper planes takes him all the way to the world championships in Tokyo.
The film beat out other finalists, Felony, Son of a Gun, The Reckoning, The Waler: Australia’s Great War Horse and My Mistress to win the only cash prize awarded to Australian feature films.
The film was selected by a panel of five members of the film community including Bruce Beresford, Marta Dusselorp, Benjamin Illos, Sue Milliken and Margaret Pomeranz.
Beresford, noted Australian director of feature films Driving Miss Daisy (1989), Mao’s Last Dancer (2009) and Puberty Blues (1981), was enchanted by the film prize winner.
“Paper Planes is a delightful and amusing film with a charming cast of children that achieves its aims of being entertaining and uplifting,” he said.
The announcement marks the closing of the CinéfestOZ Film festival for 2014, one of the only events of its kind to showcase Australian films.
Western Australian Culture and Arts Minister, John Day, said the festivals success and reputation is growing every year.
“Since its inception in 2008, CinéfestOZ has grown from a small festival with attendance of about 1,900 people to being internally regarded, attracting audiences of more than 18,000 this year,” he said.
“It has turned into a wonderful platform to showcase the content produced by our talented screen industry.”