Cate Shortland'sSomersault managed a remarkable cleansweep of prizes at the star-studded AFI (Australian Film Institute) Awards inMelbourne (Oct 29), winning in all 13 categories.
Somersault's record-breakingrun meant no other feature was honoured. The awards included best film forproducer Anthony Anderson, best director and best script for Cate Shortland,and actor awards for leads Abbie Cornish (pictured) and Sam Worthington, as well asLynette Curran and Erik Thomson.
Meanwhile, Naomi Watts andPatricia Lovell were honoured for their global and lifetime achievementsrespectively.
"Hollywood does call me an overnight success but I callit a bloody long night," said Watts upon accepting her Global AchievementAward from Geoffrey Rush. She dedicated it to her agent John Cann and thememory of June Cann and casting consultant Maura Fay.
"The guts of what I have learned comes from here,including my work ethic. ... Just because I am not living here does not mean Ihave left. This is where my heart is."
Asked what Australian directors she would like to work withshe nominated Peter Weir and Shortland. Video messages were screened from MullhollandDrive director David Lynch, 21Grams director and star, Alejandro GonzalezInarritu and Benicio Del Toro, and King Kong director Peter Jackson, whose previous film LordOf the Rings: The Return Of The King wonbest foreign film.
Pat Lovell, who made such iconic films as Gallipoli and Picnic At Hanging Rock, was presented with the Longford Life AchievementAward. Naming the upcoming films by
Ray Lawrence, Rowan Woods and Ana Kokkinos, she said therewas reason to feel great hope about the Australian film industry.
Somersault has soldto about 20 territories and a US sale is near, according to Anderson. It hasalready opened in Russia and opens in France and the UK in February.
Cate Blanchett presented several of the key awards and laterdescribed Somersault as"extraordinary, sophisticated, deeply moving, powerful, an unusual jeweland erotic".