Oz in tune with 'Home Song'

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Tony Ayres' "The Home Song Stories" continued to dominate the Australian awards season, winning five of six possible categories Wednesday at the Australian Film Institute Industry Awards.

The awards ceremony, hosted by Geoffrey Rush and also dubbed the craft awards, is a precursor to the main awards, which are set for today at a gala dinner and are broadcast nationally on the Nine TV Network. "Home Song" is up for another six awards today, including best film.

"Home Song," which centers on Rose, a glamorous Shanghai nightclub singer who struggles to survive in 1970s Australia with two young children, won for cinematography (Nigel Buck), editing (Denise Haratzis), original music score (Anthony Partos), production design (Melinda Doring) and costume design (Cappi Ireland).

The Australian Film Institute nods continue "Home Song's" run of success on the awards circuit after it dominated the Inside Film people's choice awards in November, then scored best actress wins for Joan Chen at this week's Turin Film Festival and the Asia Pacific Screen Awards. It also is Australia's entry in the foreign-language film Oscar race.

Other winners Wednesday included editor Jill Bilcock — who was awarded the International Award for excellence in filmmaking — and the team behind the visual effects in Greg Mclean's crocodile-themed thriller "Rogue," which won the visual effects award.

The tinnitus-themed feature "Noise," appropriately, won for best sound, while Bruce Petty's animation "Global Haywire" won awards for direction and sound in a documentary. Best editing in a docu went to "Forbidden Lies," and best cinematography in a docu went to "Cuttlefish — the Brainy Bunch."

This year's awards were not without controversy. Kim Dalton, director of television at the Australian Broadcasting Corp., pulled funding for its nominees to attend the awards last month and urged a boycott by TV producers after awards organizers moved many of the TV categories out of today's main ceremony to the industry awards night.

Dalton said at the time that the move "shows a lack of respect for the television nominees and seriously diminishes the role television plays in the ceremony."

Multicultural pubcaster the Special Broadcasting Service won the bulk of the TV awards Wednesday.
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