Coming of age drama, “Girl Asleep” won the top prize at the CinefestOZ festival in West Australia. The US$75,700 ($100,000) award is the richest prize on the Australian festival circuit.
The award was made on Saturday evening in Busselton by a jury headed by Gillian Armstrong. The decision was unanimous. Other contenders included “Jasper Jones,” The Life and Death of Otto Bloom” and Spin Out.”
The film is an adaptation of 2014 stage play about a girl who delves into fairytale and fantasy during her 15th birthday party, and was written by Mathew Whittet. With Bethany Whitmore and Harrison Feldman as the leads, it was directed by Rosemary Myers. It had its world premiere in February at the Berlin festival where it appeared in the K-Plus youth programming strand. It has since been picked up for U.S. release by Oscilloscope. International sales are handled by France’s Memento.
Previous CinefestOZ winners include “Paper Planes” and last year’s “Putuparri and the Rainmakers.” Armstrong, who has directing credits including “Women He’s Undressed,” “Oscar and Lucinda,” and “Little Women” was also named as CinefestOZ’s 2016 Screen Legend.
The state government in West Australia committed to supporting the small, but high profile festival festival for the next two years.