The main stage of the Community Centre was graced by some of Australia’s most renowned and award-winning filmmakers on Saturday night as the Byron Bay Film Festival’s closing night extravaganza kicked off.
Local Academy Award nominated documentary filmmaker David Bradbury has yet another award to add to his collection after taking home the honorary award for his commitment to filmmaking during the closing night gala party.
Bradbury, the recipient of five Australian Film Industry Awards and a two-time Academy Award nominee, was on hand to collect the award from beloved Byron Bay Film Festival patron and fellow multi award winning filmmaker Paul Cox.
Cox made an emotional return to the Film Festival after a short hiatus during which he battled cancer and underwent a liver transplant, a journey documented by David Bradbury and which is in the final stages of production. Cox took a moment on stage to reflect on the fragility of life, the importance of organ donation and on having a life threatening illness.
Cox recently wrote a book about his cancer journey entitled ‘Tales from the Cancer Ward’ which will be released to coincide with Bradbury’s documentary. This more reflective tone did nothing to dampen the spirit and frivolity of the gala party, which topped off what has been a hugely successful and greatly received cinematic showcase.
Opening night film ‘Forces of Nature’, a documentary that delivered iconic scientist and educator David Suzuki’s final message to the world took out the award for Best Film. Best Byron Film was awarded to Byron locals Jonatan and Sebastian Lundmark and Anthony Fricker for their film ‘Skate Australia’. Yet another Northern Rivers team was applauded as Best Animation was awarded to ‘Dirtgirlworld’, an animation that has achieved global fame.
The gala took place on the eve of the final day of the ten-day festival, which continues to grow from strength to strength. Festival Director J’aimee Skippon-Volke said “BBFF2011 had a record turnout from both filmmakers and audiences, we’re all looking forward to BBFF2012”.