Quebecois filmmaker Xavier Dolan’s “Heartbeats” took top honors at the 57th Sydney Film Festival competition on Monday evening.
Pic, which screened fresh from Cannes’ Un Certain Regard, follows a love triangle between two friends and a newcomer to Montreal.
The 12-pic competition, now in its third year, comes with an A$60,000 ($73,000) cash prize.
Honorable mentions went to Russian helmer-scribe Alexei Popogrebsky’s thriller “How I Ended This Summer” and local pic “Wasted on the Young” by tyro helmer Ben C. Lucas, which world preemed at the fest.
“Wasted,” one of the buzz screenings of the fest, focuses on social pressures at an elite school.
“It is the sort of film that every festival director dreams of, a first time feature, an intense and confronting film and made under the radar,” fest director Clare Stewart told Variety. “It’s been a dream to expose it at the festival and also discover an exciting new filmmaking team from Western Australia.”
Pic was made with coin from Screen West and Screen Australia. Fortissimo Films is the international sales agent.
Fest guests included Ewan McGregor who took to the red carpet for “The Ghost Writer” and “Cyrus” star Jonah Hill.