This year’s Byron Bay Film Festival came to a close last Sunday evening, November 1, with the NSW premiere of the stylishly assured, festival favourite Moon Rock for Monday. Filmmakers Jim Robison and Kurt Martin, and leading actor George Pullar, were in attendance at the red-carpet event.
Despite the challenges of Covid-19, the 2020 festival organisers rose to the challenge of mounting a smaller, yet still exciting and entertaining film festival, at two Byron venues: Palace Cinemas and the Byron Theatre. As well, a Virtual Reality streaming, set at the iconic Byron Bay Lighthouse, took place – where the work of finalists in the Young Australian Filmmaker of the Year Competition were screened.
“It was important to us that we supported the arts community, our filmmakers and the arts venues by mounting a special edition of the festival this year,” said festival director J’aimee Skippon-Volke.
“While many film festivals have chosen to go the virtual route, due to the pandemic, we felt confident that, within the restrictions being placed upon us by Covid-19, we could safely continue to celebrate the independent and creative spirit of filmmaking,” said J’aimee
The organisers say they are delighted and encouraged that many of the sessions at the festival were sold out, with additional screenings being added as needed. The Opening Night film Firestarter – The Story of Bangarra, the Saudi Arabian feature The Perfect Candidate, an evening of Surf Films and the Closing Night film, Moon Rock for Monday, were just a few of the films that were turning people away.
“We want to thank our Byron community for their support of the festival, our venues and our creative community”, said J’aimee Skippon-Volke. “We’ve learned a lot from this year’s event and we can’t wait to start planning our 2021 festival.”
As in previous year’s the festival announced winners in in various categories of the Festival Competition. The 2020 winners are:
Music Documentary: The Rise of the Synths, (Spain). Director Ivan Castell
Music Video: Lulu Schmidt – Fire, (Austria). Director Robert Holler
Short Film: The Recordist, (Australia). Directors Indianna Bell & Josiah Allen
Young Australian Filmmaker: Home, (Australia). Directors Jahvis Loveday/Joy Ben Hur
Surf Film: The Armstrongs, (South Africa). Director Arthur Neumeier
Animation: Code, (USA). Director Xinyue Song
Cinematography: Headless Chooks, (Australia). Director Sean Clancy Donovan, DOP Jay Grant
Byron Film: Chucky Boy Blue, (Australia). Director Tim Nathan
Environmental Film: Barefoot: The Mark Baumer Story, (USA). Director Julie Sokolow
Documentary: Killing Tony, (Finland). Director Panu Suuronen
Dramatic Feature: Malpasso, (Dominican Republic) Director Hector M. Valdez
Best Film: Malpaso, (Dominican Republic), Director Hector M. Valdez