Australian writer-director Cate Shortland picked up an armful of prizes at the 23rd Stockholm International Film Festival for her post-war drama Lore.

Shortland’s second feature, based on Rachel Seiffert novel The Dark Room, was awarded the Bronze Horse for Best Film.

Besides the grand prix, the film also garnered Saskia Rosendahl the Best Actress Award, and won for Best Cinematography (Adam Arkapaw) and Best Musical Score (Max Richter).

Lorewas launched on the Piazza Grande in Locarno, where it won the Audience Prize.

It is set in the spring 1945, after the collapse of Nazi-Germany, when the eponymous daughter of a high-ranking SS officer takes her brothers, sisters and grandmother on a 900km journey north of Bavaria.

Shortland said:  “Lore believes in one of the most abhorrent and destructive political ideologies of our time.

“I wanted to understand her lack of empathy and romantic determination to stick to it in spite of its defeat. If not totally convinced it was wrong, I think in the end she has started to doubt it.”

The jury, presided over by US actor Peter Fonda (whose Easy Rider was screened at the festival), praised the historical drama for its timeless brilliance - “a coming-of-age story that is beautiful and brave and transfers its audience to a time and place that we have all seen many times before. Only this time the perspective is different.”

Lore is Australia’s submission for Best Foreign Language Feature at the Oscars.

More awards

US director Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild added another Best First Film trophy to its four-award raid in Cannes.

Young Sofie Bell (Unga Sophie Bell), from Swedish director Amanda Adolfsson, received the Stockholm Feature Film Award 2012, which comes with an $800,000 (SEK 5.4 million) package of cash and services to realise it.

The result will be premiered at the 2014 festival and distributed in the Nordic and Baltic countries by NonStop Entertainment.

The jury said: “A moving and relevant story by a director that has already proved herself with a sure sense of style and suspense”.

The coming-of-age story will be produced by Gila Bergqvist-Ulfung for Breidablick Film.

Earlier during the festival, which ended yesterday (Nov 18), the Dala Horse was given to US actor Willem Dafoe (the Stockholm Achievement Award 2012); French director Jacques Audiard (the Stockholm Visionary Award 2012); and Swedish director Jan Troell (the Stockholm Lifetime Achievement Award 2012).

This year the festival screened more than 170 films from 50 countries.

Full lists of awards

  • Bronze Horse for Best Film: Lore. Dir: Cate Shortland (Australia)
  • Best First Film:Beasts of the Southern Wild. Dir: Benh Zeitlin (US)
  • Best Script: Andrew Dominik, Killing Them Softly
  • Best Actress: Saskia Rosendahl, for Lore
  • Best Actor: Tim Roth, for Broken. Dir: Rufus Norris (UK)
  • Best Cinematography: Adam Arkapaw, forLore
  • Best Musical Score: Max Richter, for Lore
  • Best Short Film: Curfew. Dir: Shawn Christensen (US)
  • The FIPRESCI Prize: Everyday. Dir: Michael Winterbottom (UK)
  • The Telia Award: Una Noche. Dir: Lucy Mulloy (US)
  • Silver Audience Award: Call Girl. Dir: Mikael Marcimain (Sweden)
  • Viasat Rising Star 2012: Nermina Lukac (Sweden)