'The Eye Of The Storm' Wins at Melbourne International Film Festival

SYDNEY -- Fred Schepisi’sThe Eye Of The Storm has been named the inaugural recipient of The Age Critics Award for the best Australian feature at the Melbourne International Film Festival.

Starring Geoffrey Rush, Judy Davis and Charlotte Rampling and based on Australian Nobel laureate Patrick White’s acclaimed novel, The Eye of the Storm will have its international premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival next month.

The award, chosen by a panel of film critics from Melbourne broadsheet The Age, was open to all eight Australian feature films in the 2011 Festival program.

Gina McColl, arts editor of The Age said The Eye Of The Storm was chosen by The Age critics for “Schepisi's artful direction, the rich performances in major and minor roles, the thoughtful engagement with an Australian literary classic, and the vivid, witty depiction of the bonds of family and of the life of a culture in the process of transformation.’

Schepisi received a cash prize of AUS$5000 ($5073).

Elsewhere at the 60th anniversary edition of Australia’s largest film festival, the MIFF TeleScope Award for best new talent from the European Union went to Markus Schleinzer for Michael, with Saverio Costanzo’s The Solitude of Prime Numbers receiving an honorable mention. The award was judged by six Film Critic Circle of Australia jury members.

Seven short films received awards in the 50th MIFF Shorts Awards competition including: A Fine Young Man (Grand Prix for Best Short Film), The Palace (Best Australian Short Film), At the Formal (Emerging Australian Filmmaker), Green Crayons (Best Fiction Short Film), Nullarbor (Best Animation Short Film), Leonid's Story (Best Documentary Short Film), and A History of Mutual Respect (Best Experimental Short Film).

Voting on the MIFF People's Choice award will stay open until Friday, August 12.

The festival closed Sunday after 17 days and 300 film screenings.