Two stunning works of artistry and fantasy from young filmmakers from the Middle East have taken top honours at the Sydney Science Fiction Film Festival award ceremony, held November 21 at the Actors Centre Australia in the city’s inner-west.

The Best Feature Film prize was awarded to SCALES, Shahad Ameen’s monochromatic masterpiece of patriarchal defiance hailing from the U.A.E.; the film was also nominated for Best Director and Best Lead Actress in a Feature Film. The Best Short Film honour went to the night’s only dual honouree, THE FABRICATED, from young Iranian director Ali Katmiri. The alternate-reality thriller also earned Best Lead Actress in a Short Film for Sonya Esmaeeli, whose acceptance speech (provided only moments before the event) acknowledged fellow students of acting the world over.

The festival’s goal of bringing a vast international science fiction program roster to Sydney audiences was reinforced, with movies from Italy, Spain, France, Japan and Australia all factoring in the night’s list of winners. Best Lead Actress in a Feature Film went to Denise Fantucci, star of Italian director Emanuela Rossi’s DARKNESS, for her role as the defiant eldest child of a father determined to keep three sisters away from a world he assures them is a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Spanish actor Javier Botet, whose remarkable physique and gentle performance was a perfect fit for the alien visitor in co-directors Juan Gonzalez and Nando Martinez’s QUEEN OF THE LIZARDS, won Best Lead Actor in a Feature.

Directorial honours went to Yuichi Kondo for A.I-themed romancer RYOKO’S QUBIT SUMMER, already bearing the laurels of several festival wins throughout the year; and, to Baptiste Rouvere, whose ANONYMOUS ANIMALS is building momentum as the most buzzed-about horror/fantasy offering on the global circuit.

The biggest cheers of the evening were, of course, saved for the Australian winners. Genre legend Vernon Wells, an iconic film presence since he terrified audiences 39 years ago as the mohawked ‘Wez’ in George Miller’s Mad Max 2, earned the Best Actor in a Short Film gong for STARSPAWN: OVERTURE, the alien abduction action/thriller that also earned nominations for Best Short Film and Best Director (Short) for Travis Bain.

The all-important Audience Award was bestowed upon the inaugural festival’s Opening Night pic, Mark Toia’s killer-robot action epic, MONSTERS OF MAN, which makes its global online platform debut on December 8.

The full list of winners and nominees are:

BEST LEAD ACTRESS in a Feature Film
WINNER: DENISE TANTUCCI (‘Stella’ in DARKNESS)
YUHO YAMASHITA (‘Stereo’ in FONOTUNE: AN ELECTRIC FAIRYTALE)
ZARLIA CHISHOLM (‘Maisey’ in STRANGEVILLE)
MIYUU TESHIMA (‘Arika’ in HIDE & SNIFF)
BRUNA CUSI (‘Berta’ in QUEEN OF THE LIZARDS)
BASSIMA HAJJAR (‘Hayat’ in SCALES)

BEST LEAD ACTRESS in a Short Film
WINNER: SONYA ESMAEELI (‘Copy 1’ in THE FABRICATED)
AMELIA CONWAY (‘Alyssa’ in ALYSSA)
EMILY WROLSON (‘Z’ in WAKE ME UP)
SHEILA IVY TRAISTER (‘Sheila’ in REWIND)
NURIA DEULOFEU (‘Niky’ in POLVOTRON 500)
LISE RISOM OLSEN (‘Q’ in Q: GHOSTLY REMOTE EFFECT)

BEST LEAD ACTOR in a Feature Film
WINNER: JAVIER BOTET (‘Javi’ in QUEEN OF THE LIZARDS)
FINT (‘Mono’ in FONOTUNE: AN ELECTRIC FAIRYTALE)
DAVID COOK (’Bruce’ in STRANGEVILLE)
VITO LEO (‘Myles’ in STRANGEVILLE)
KOUTA FUDAUCHI (‘Kouka’ in HIDE & SNIFF)
RINAL MUKHAMETOV (‘Victor’/’The Architect’ in COMA)

BEST LEAD ACTOR in a Short Film
WINNER: VERNON WELLS (‘Randolph’ in STARSPAWN: OVERTURE)
DAVID DOUKHAN (‘Isaac’ in TRANSFERT)
AYMEN BEN HAMIDA (‘Slim’ in MAGNUM OPUS)
LEVI BURGESS (‘Brodie’ in MILK)
DAVID GYASI (‘Elijah’ in LIVING THINGS)
KRIS MAVERICKO (‘Kurt’ in AFTER_LIFE)

BEST DIRECTOR Feature Film
WINNER: BAPTISTE ROUVERE (ANONYMOUS ANIMALS, France)
FINT (FONOTUNE: AN ELECTRIC FAIRYTALE, Germany)
EMANUELA ROSSI (DARKNESS, Italy)
KOUSUKE HISHINUMA (HIDE & SNIFF, Japan)
JUAN GONZALEZ & NANDO MARTINEZ (THE QUEEN OF THE LIZARDS, Spain)
SHAHAD AMEEN (SCALES, UAE)

BEST DIRECTOR Short Film
WINNER: YUICHI KONDO (RYOKO’S QUBIT SUMMER, Japan)
MERIAM KHEMMASSI (MAGNUM OPUS, Tunisia)
TRAVIS BAIN (STARSPAWN: OVERTURE, Australia)
ALI KATMIRI (THE FABRICATED, Iran)
RICHARD DE CARVALHO (A BLASTER IN THE RIGHT HANDS, Australia)
TRISH HARNETIAUX (YOU WOULDN’T UNDERSTAND, U.S.A)

BEST SHORT FILM
WINNER: THE FABRICATED (Iran)
SPACE PROBE PASSENGER (Poland)
RYOKO’S QUBIT SUMMER (Japan)
AFTER_LIFE (Singapore)
STARSPAWN: OVERTURE (Australia)
THE DAR(k)WIN PROJECT (France)

BEST FEATURE FILM
WINNER: SCALES (UAE)
MONSTERS OF MAN (Australia)
DARKNESS (Italy)
FONOTUNE: AN ELECTRIC FAIRYTALE (Germany)
ANONYMOUS ANIMALS (France)
STRANGEVILLE (Australia)
HIDE & SNIFF (Japan)
THE QUEEN OF THE LIZARDS (Spain)
COMA (Russia)
TUNE INTO THE FUTURE (Luxembourg)

AUDIENCE AWARD WINNER:
MONSTERS OF MAN (Australia, Dir: Mark Toia; 130mins)

The Sydney Science Fiction Film Festival patron and the organisation's Board Members will preside over the following three honours:

THE RON COBB BEST FEATURE FILM: The feature (over 40 mins) that best exemplifies the vision, values and ambitions of the Sydney Science Fiction Film Festival. Named in honour of the late Ron Cobb, an adopted son of Sydney and iconic conceptual artist on such films as Dark Star, Alien, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Conan the Barbarian and The Abyss.

BEST SHORT FILM: The short (under 40 mins) that best exemplifies the vision, values and ambitions of the Sydney Science Fiction Film Festival.

BEST ACTOR (Feature Film) and BEST ACTOR (Short Film)

BEST ACTRESS (Feature Film) and BEST ACTRESS (Short Film)

BEST DIRECTOR (Feature Film) and BEST DIRECTOR (Short Film)

Filmmakers will also be eligible for the SSFFF AUDIENCE AWARD, the most popular feature film as voted upon by Sydney Science Fiction Film Festival audiences.

Terms and Conditions:

1. All filmmakers/applicants or entity submitting a film to the Sydney Science Fiction Film Festival (hereafter known as “SSFFF”), accept and agree to comply with the following Terms and Conditions. The person submitting a film to SSFFF is hereafter known as ‘You’ or ‘Your’.

2. We welcome films from any country in the world. If the film is in any other language other than English, the submission requires embedded English subtitles.

3. We only accept films that have been produced during and after 2019.

4. All submission fees are non-refundable. Please do not ask for a full fee waiver. Waivers are only offered to films invited to screen by SSFFF.

5. How to submit:
• Complete and submit Your online submission form.
• Pay relevant submission fee
• Films can only be submitted via the FilmFreeway platform.
You will receive confirmation of Your successful registration

6. Student and Young Filmmaker category entrants must be registered in a recognised film school, university, college, high school, middle school or elementary school with proof of ID from the institution to qualify for the relevant fees. You must supply the following:
• Your Student ID
• Name of school, college or university
• Name of Your Course
• Lecture or teacher
• Email of lecturer or teacher

7. FAN FILMS: SSFFF will accept fan films to this festival. You must have all permissions from the copyright holder and/or franchise holder and/or intellectual property owner and reveal those for the SSFFF upon request.

8. Filmmakers submitting must supply:
• Production credits/contact details
• 5 (five) photos for promotional purposes, (min. resolution 1024 x 576 pixels)
• Press Kit for promotional use by SSFFF
• Film Poster
• A trailer and/or scene clips from the film (ProRes 422 Full HD; 1920x1080 or higher).

9. A .DCP file of the full film must be supplied for the SSFFF screening, unless an alternate format is otherwise agreed upon by SSFFF.

10. Once a film is accepted by SSFFF and programmed, it cannot be withdrawn from the festival line-up, other than at the discretion of the SSFFF.

11. The SSFFF undertake to make every effort to adhere to the published schedule program. However, SSFFF reserves the right to alter this schedule and venue at any time for any reason. SSFFF does not accept any liability for any costs claimed to arise as a result of a change in the scheduling.

12. Awards may be presented during the SSFFF, at the discretion of the organisers and the Jury Panel (where applicable).

13. By submitting a film, You grant us the right to screen Your film at one or more SSFFF event, copy and/or reproduce, modify, adapt and any part thereof, up to one (1) minute of the film submission. We may also use Your submission and any other promotional material/photo’s and/or information submitted by You to communicate it to the public in all media, including via our website and publicity materials, or to advertise and promote SSFFF event(s), its products and services, or all, and to showcase Your film.

14. You own the copyright to Your film as its author and represent and warrant that You have (and will continue to have during the duration of SSFFF and thereafter) all necessary licenses, rights, consents, and permissions we need to use Your film and You will provide evidence of such on our reasonable request.

15. We accept no responsibility for any damage, loss, liabilities or injury incurred or suffered by any person as a result of submitting a film to SSFFF and its curation and all related events.

16. You indemnify and hold harmless SSFFF from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney’s fees, and costs of the court) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the screening materials entered.

17. By submitting, You agree that you have read and understood these terms & conditions of entry.

18. The SSFFF reserve the right, at our sole discretion, to change, modify or otherwise alter these 'Terms and Conditions' at any time. Unless otherwise indicated, amendments will become effective immediately.

For further information contact SIMON FOSTER, Festival Director.

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
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Networking
  • 康介 菱沼

    この時期での第一回で、しかkりと開催した運営力に驚嘆
    コミュニケーションはしっかりと密に。
    何より、作り手へのリスペクトがある。
    インタビューなども充実。
    このジャンルへの深く広い愛があふれている。
    ぜひ、また参加したい!
    素晴らしい映画祭です。

    November 2020
  • Yuichi Kondo

    Wonderful festival team and great communication!
    Sydney Science Fiction Film Festival is an amazing festival full of genre film love. I felt something like exoticism scifi-wise of the program, which really thrilled me. I’m so honoured to be involved in the great program.
    It's a shame I couldn't attend this time due to COVID-19, but next time I'd like to go there to enjoy seeing amazing science fiction films in the venue.
    I highly recommend!

    初開催の今回は日本から私の『量子の夏』と菱沼監督の『かく恋慕』が上映されました。日本からも是非応募をお薦めします。

    November 2020