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SA made films win awards at Berlinale – Berlin International Film Festival

27 February 2023
Rolf de Heer’s The Survival of Kindness won the FIPRESCI International Film Critics Award for best film at the Berlinale.

South Australia’s screen industry is in the international spotlight again with two locally made films supported by the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC) winning top awards at the prestigious Berlinale – Berlin International Film Festival this month.

Nominated for the prestigious Golden Bear, Rolf de Heer’s The Survival of Kindness, starring SA’s Mwajemi Hussein and produced by De Heer and SA’s Julie Byrne of Triptych Pictures won the top FIPRESCI Jury Prize, awarded by the International Federation of Film Critics for the best film in Competition.

De Heer’s dystopian fable was touted as a “masterpiece” by critics at the festival who praised it as a powerful allegory for racism, with Variety applauding the film’s allegorical form as “a parable for resisting injustice”, and The Guardian lauding star Hussein’s performance as one of the festival’s best. Filmed in South Australia’s Flinders Ranges and in Tasmania, the film was supported by the SAFC and by the Adelaide Film Festival Investment Fund.

  • Mwajemi Hussein at Berlinale - Berlin International Film Festival
  • Mwajemi Hussei and Rolf de Heer n at Berlinale - Berlin International Film Festival
  • Simon Baker,Natasha Wanganeen_Mwajemi Hussein at Berlinale Screen Australia event photo credit Cathy Gallagher
  • Rolf de Heer, and composer Anna Liebzeit at the Survival of Kindness press conference
  • The Survival of Kindness team at the film's press conference.
  • Rolf de Heer on the Red Carpet
  • Mwajemi Hussein being interviewed on the Red Carpet photo by Cathy Gallagher
  • Mwajemi Hussein with Sacha Horler at Berlinale Screen Australia event
Berlinale press conference highlights for The Survival of Kindness.

SA made and SAFC supported short Marungka Tjalatjunu/Dipped in Black from SA writers and directors Derik Lynch and Matthew Thorne, and SA producers Patrick Graham and Duncan Graham, took home the much coveted Silver Bear Jury Prize (Short Film) and the Teddy Award for Best Short Film off the back of its international premiere as part of the 2023 Berlinale Shorts program.

In its statement the International Short Film Jury comprised of Cătălin Cristuțiu, Sky Hopinka and Isabelle Stever said: “This film exposes and weaves together those tender and difficult threads of living in multiple worlds – worlds which are your own, full of loss and love, of trauma and survival – and worlds which are thrust upon you, often violent, often unrelenting, and often unforgiving. Marungka Tjalatjunu navigates beautifully and eloquently an assured sense of self in body and in language, while exploring the questions of what happens when you leave your homeland, and how you return. This is a film of healing and of elegance, and the places that exist between sunrise and sunset, and dusk and dawn.”

The film, which follows a road trip by Yankunytjatjara artist Lynch from Adelaide back to country – Aputula – to perform on sacred Inma ground, was supported under the SAFC, Adelaide Film Festival and Panavision Short Film Production Initiative.

  • Deriky Lynch, Kristen Stewart, Natasha Wanganeen Teddy Award Ceremony
  • Derik Lynch and Matthew Thorne on stage of the Berlinale Palast
  • Derik Lynch and Matthew Thorne on stage of the Berlinale Palast
  • Derik Lynch, Matthew Thorne, Daria Belova, Valeri Aluskina, Volker Schlect and Yazan Rabee - Directors of the Berlinale Shorts programme
  • Ivan Sen, Natasha Wanganeen and Rob Collins on the red carpet for Limbo
  • The team behind Limbo at the film's photo call
  • Natasha Wanganeen at the Limbo Photo Call
  • Natasha Wanganeen on the red carpet for Limbo
Marungka Tjalatjunu/Dipped in Black.

Also in Competition at the Berlinale was Ivan Sen‘s mystery thriller Limbo, produced by David Jowsey and Greer Simpkin of Bunya Productions and Rachel Higgins and filmed in Coober Pedy with Simon Baker (The Mentalist), Rob Collins (Firebite), SA’s Natasha Wanganeen (Rabbit Proof Fence) and Nicholas Hope (Bad Boy Bubby), with SA’s Elaine Crombie as Associate Producer. The film was a hit with critics at the festival, with The Guardian rating it among the “Best of Berlin”, and The Hollywood Reporter describing it as a “visually striking” film with a “superb” performance by Baker.

Off the back of its successful international premiere at Sundance Film Festival, and an exciting acquisition from New York based entertainment company A24, SA made and SAFC supported horror Talk to Me from Adelaide filmmaking twin brothers Danny and Michael Philippou also continued to impress audiences in Berlin, with The Hollywood Reporter describing the horror as “a welcome splash of new blood on the horror landscape”. Produced by Samantha Jennings and Kristina Ceyton of Causeway Films, Talk to Me was supported by the SAFC and the Adelaide Film Festival Investment Fund.

  • Danny Philippou, Michael Philippou, Sophie wilde, Alexandra Jensen, Aaron McLisky, Samantha Jennings at Berlin
  • Talk to Me at Kino International Berlinale 2023
  • Michael Philippou, Sophie Wilde, Alexandra Jensen, and Danny Philippou

Photo credits: Ali Ghandtschi, Dirk Michael Deckbar, Richard Hübner, Alexander Janetzko and Sandra Weller for the Competition and Berlinale Special and Diego Castro for the Berlinale Shorts.

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