Sydney Festival: Ildiko Enyedi’s ‘On Body and Soul’ Wins Film Prize

Courtesy of Berlin International Film Festival
'On Body and Soul'

Another big winner at the Festival was indigenous actor, writer and director Leah Purcell.

Hungarian director Ildiko Enyedi has followed up her Berlin Golden Bear win for On Body and Soul by taking out the Sydney Film Prize as part of the International competition at the 2017 Sydney Film Festival, it was announced Sunday.

The $45,000 (AUS$60,000) cash prize for "audacious, cutting-edge and courageous" film was awarded to Enyedi at the Festival’s Closing Night Gala awards ceremony ahead of the Australian premiere screening of Bong Joon-ho's Okja

On Body and Soul, the idiosyncratic love story about two lonely slaughterhouse employees who go to absurd lengths in their pursuit of one another, beat out Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki’s The Other Side Of Hope, Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled and Raoul Peck’s I Am Not Your Negro, as well as eight other films in the 10th anniversary edition of the International Competition.

”It was such an amazingly strong competition. It's marvelous that such a film can move so many people, it gives me so much hope in cinema and in human communication,” Enyedi said.

A raft of other awards for local documentary and short films included the $10,000 Sydney-UNESCO City of Film Award, given by Create NSW to a trail-blazing NSW-based screen practitioner. The winner for 2017 was Indigenous Australian actor, director and writer Leah Purcell, who has directed episodes in series one and two of Sundance TV’s Cleverman.  

The 64th Festival was hailed a success, with the 10th year of record-setting attendance figures of 185,000 for 2017, with an average 72 percent capacity across all sessions.

At the same time it was announced that the Sydney Film Festival’s current chair, Chris Freeland, is stepping down after eight years, during which time attendance almost doubled. Freeland will remain as a director while Deanne Weir, pay TV net Foxtel executive and the chair of independent TV production company Hoodlum, will become chair.

Sydney Film Festival Director Nashen Moodley said: “2017 has been a significant year for film and filmmakers.   As the world looks for ways to understand and interpret the momentous events and challenges facing humanity, filmmakers across the globe have risen to the challenge.

“From refugees and the horrors of war, to the state of the world’s oceans,  this program of films — screened to Australian audiences for the first time at the 64th Sydney Film Festival — has provided an opportunity to debate and discuss some of the most pressing and contentious issues of our time,” Moodley added.