The Black Balloon is the stand-out nominee in Australia's 10th Inside Film Awards with 10 nominations including best film, director and script. Director Elissa Down's story, based on her own family, was produced by Tristram Miall.

The Black Balloon 's two rivals for best film are Men's Group, produced by director Michael Joy and John L Simpson, and Son Of A Lion, directed by Benjamin Gilmour and produced by Carolyn Johnson, who are also nominated for the Independent Spirit Award.

Both were filmed without government investment, although Son Of A Lion received money from Australian taxpayers for post-production. Shot in Pakistan, it is about a young boy who wants to go to school rather than follow in the footsteps of his father and make guns. In Men's Group a number of men, initially strangers, meet each week for therapy.

Unfinished Sky, directed by Peter Duncan, earned eight nominations, second only in number to The Black Balloon. Duncan is considered to have a chance in the directing category, as has Down, and the third nomination is for David Nerlich and Andrew Traucki, who made the crocodile chiller Black Water.

The awards ceremony is being held on November 13 on Queensland's Gold Coast during the annual conference of the Screen Producers Association of Australia.

The nominations are:

Best Feature

The Black Balloon - director Elissa Down, producer Tristram Miall.

Men's Group - director Michael Joy, producers Michael Joy, John L Simpson

Son of a Lion - director Benjamin Gilmour, producer Carolyn Johnson.

Best Director

David Nerlich, Andrew Traucki, Black Water

Elissa Down, The Black Balloon

Peter Duncan, Unfinished Sky

Best Script

Elissa Down, Jimmy 'Jack, The Black Balloon

Michael Joy, John L Simpson, Men's Group

Peter Duncan, Unfinished Sky

Best Actor

Rhys Wakefield, The Black Balloon

Grant Dodwell, Men's Group

William McInnes, Unfinished Sky

Best Actress

Gemma Ward, The Black Balloon

Maeve Dermody. Black Water

Monic Hendrickx, Unfinished Sky

Best Cinematography

Denson Baker. The Black Balloon

Jules O'Loughlin, September

Robert Humphreys, Unfinished Sky

Best Music

Michael Yezerski, The Black Balloon

Haydn Walker, Men's Group

Amanda Brown, Son of a Lion

Best Documentary

The Burning Season, d irector Cathy Henkel, producers Jeff Canin, Trish Lake, Cathy Henkel. The Oasis, d irectors Ian Darling, Sascha Ettinger Epstein, producer Ian Darling.

Playing In The Shadows, directors and producers Sascha Ettinger Epstein, Marco Ianiello.

Best Unproduced Screenplay

Sam Voutas, Red Light Revolution

Kieran Darcy-Smith, Memorial Day

Matthew C Vaughan, Get Black