Tomorrow, When The War Began won best film at the annual IF (Inside Film) Awards in Sydney at the weekend [14], reversing the recent trend of tough low-budget films taking the top prize.

“Everyone involved in this film set out to make a film for the fans,” said Andrew Mason when he and fellow producer Michael Boughen accepted the top prize. And they did: the invasion drama has grossed A$13.4m since its September 2 release, making it 2010’s biggest local box office hit.

Most expected the crime story Animal Kingdom to win best film but it did not go away empty-handed: David Michod won best director and Ben Mendelsohn best actor.

Mendelsohn paid tribute to Michod’s ability to get the actors to do “horrible things wonderfully”; to his grandma for believing in him; to his “scheming beautiful” agent Annabelle Sheehan; and to actress Jacki Weaver, the woman who played his mother and the matriarch of the crime family at the heart of the film.

Weaver was beaten to the best actress award by Tomorrow’s young lead Caitlin Stasey.

“He is the most unfailingly generous person I have ever met and without him I would have fallen apart every day on set,” Stasey said of director Stuart Beattie. The LA-based Australian, one of the writers on the Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise, won the IF Award for his script.

Veteran actor and film-maker Bryan Brown received a standing ovation when he won the living legend award. He thanked director Stephen Wallace for casting him in Stir, his first lead role, Bruce Beresford for casting him in breakout hit Breaker Morant and David Wolper for producing the mini-series The Thorn Birds, which lead to him meeting and marrying co-star Rachel Ward.

Beresford’s Mao’s Last Dancer (released in 2009) won the box office achievement award and the pair behind the self-financed film Caught Inside, director Adam Blaiklock and producer Paul S Friedmann, won the independent spirit award.

The IF Awards position themselves as the people’s choice awards. The best film winners of the last three years were Samson & Delilah (2009), Men’s Group (2008) and The Jammed (2007).

Best Feature
Tomorrow, When The War Began – Stuart Beattie (director), Andrew Mason and Michael Boughen (producers).

David Michod – Animal Kingdom

Ben Mendelsohn – Animal Kingdom

Caitlin Stasey – Tomorrow, When The War Began

Tomorrow, When The War Began – Stuart Beattie

Tomorrow, When The War Began – Johnny Klimek, Reinhold Heil


Beneath Hill 60 – Robert Sullivan, Liam Egan, Mark Cornish, Tony Murtagh

The Waiting City – Veronika Jenet

Production Design
Bright Star – Janet Patterson

The Waiting City– Denson Baker

Independent Spirit
Caught Inside – Adam Blaiklock (director), Paul S Friedmann (producer)

Rising Talent
Ariel Kleiman

Short Film
Celestial Avenue – Colin and Cameron Cairnes (directors), Scott Alexander (producer)

Short Animation
The Lost Thing – Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann (directors), Sophie Byrne (producer)

Short Documentary
From Dope To Dalai Lama – Jason Raftopoulos (director/producer)

Strange Birds In Paradise – Charlie Hill-Smith (director), Jamie Nicolai and John Cherry (producers)

Music Video
Big Jet Plane – Angus and Julia Stone – Kiku Ohe (director), Richard Halsted (producer)

Box Office Achievement
Mao’s Last Dancer – Jane Scott (producer), Bruce Beresford (director), writer Jan Sardi

Living Legend
Bryan Brown

Film Festival
Mardi Gras Film Festival, My Queer Career

Out Of The Box IF Award
Ryan Corr

Contribution To TV
Penny Chapman