26 June 2005 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

SYDNEY -- Kriv Stenders' unlikely suburban romance Blacktown proved the maxim that films don't need to big budgets to connect with audiences as the 52nd Sydney Film Festival came to a close Saturday night. The micro-budget Australian Blacktown took home the prize for best feature film from the Sidebar Program as part of the inaugural Urban Cinefile Audience Awards, while Danish director Susanne Bier's family drama Brothers was voted best feature from the Contemporary World Cinema program. Awards were handed out after a screening of the closing night film in its Australian premiere, Hayao Miyazake's Japanese animated hit Hauru no ugoku shiro (Howl's Moving Castle). Mad Hot Ballroom, a crowd pleaser about kids from different schools competing for a ballroom dancing prize and directed by Marylin Agrelo from the United States, won the award for best documentary across both sections. Chris Landreth's Ryan (Canada) won best short from the World Cinema selection and Juan Pablo Zaramella's Journey To Mars (Argentina) took home best short in the Sidebar program.

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