THE silver screen faded to black on Saturday night as the Byron Bay International Film Festival came to a close – but not before a colourful send-off party.
About 250 cineastes gathered for a gala bash to close the festival, which was described as a ‘wonderful success’ by director J’aimee Skippon-Volke.
The technicolour-themed party followed a glittering ceremony in which the ‘premier’ awards were presented.
The Best Film award went to father-and-son team from California David Lee Miller and Jordan Miller for My Suicide.
Their film tells the story of an isolated high school geek whose popularity soars when he announces he’s going to kill himself on camera for his final video class project.
It stars David Carradine and Mariel Hemingway.
The Byron festival had been a great experience, David Miller said.
“The films are of an extremely high quality and it is very well run.”
He said he had been taking his film around many ‘incredible’ international film festivals, and it had picked up 18 awards already.
But the Byron event stood out as a highlight, he said.
Byron Bay also offered ‘wonderful inspiration’ because of its natural beauty.
Best Short Film award went to Simon Ritch and Marc Furmie, from Sydney, for Dark Horse.
“This is the first award I have ever won for a film, so this is a really big moment for me,” Mr Ritch said.
“This festival has been incredible and is a great opportunity for people like us to showcase our work.”
Best Dramatic Feature was Wind Blows in the Meadow, and Best Documentary Mount St Elias.
The other eight categories of awards were announced during the festival and included an Honorary Award to Cathy Henkel and Best Cinematography to Murray Fredericks for Salt.
The Best Byron Film award went to Ben Gordon for Parkway Drive: the DVD.
The film was co-produced by Dylan Etherington, the young Byron Bay man missing after diving off a bridge into a river in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
“This film is dedicated to Dylan. He was only 22 but an amazing filmmaker,” Mr Gordon said when receiving the award.
“This movie has done really well. It is great to be recognised in Byron, where we all grew up. But ultimately, this film is a tribute to Dylan.”
Parkway Drive: the DVD won Best Music DVD in the Rolling Stone 2009 Awards.
The Best Music Video went to Luv Delux; Best Animation, Realm of Possibility; Best Experimental Film was 4; Best Environmental Film, Pirate for the Sea; Best Surf Film, Fiberglass & Megapixels; Best Young Australian Filmmaker award, to recognise rising talent in the under-25 age bracket, went to Julian Shaw.
Best Film: My Suicide.
Best Short Film: Dark Horse.
Best Dramatic Feature: Wind Blows in the Meadow.
Best Documentary: Mount St Elias