Hail wins at Melbourne International Film Festival

An Australian film based on the real lives of its two lead actors has won The Age Critics’ Award at the Melbourne International Film Festival.

Selected by a panel of film critics, the award now in its second year, is for the best Australian feature film at MIFF.

Amiel Courtin-Wilson’s first feature film Hail took the prize against a program that included The Sapphires, Dead Europe, Last Dance, Save Your Legs! 100 Bloody Acres, Errors of the Human Body and Jack Irish: Bad Debts.

Hail is about Dan, who on losing his love is reduced to savagery and violence. A mix of fact and fiction the story is based on lead actor Daniel Jones’ real life as an ex-con. Jones stars alongside real-life partner Leanne Letch.

Jones was the subject of Cicada, a short film by Courtin-Wilson.

The critics recognised Courtin-Wilson’s “visionary ambition” and “noted his emotional commitment to his subject-matter, matched by a bold, expressionistic approach to image and sound.”

The film was written, directed and produced by Courtin-Wilson with Michael Cody also producer. Cody accepted the award as Courtin-Wilson was filming on location for his next project.

The award and $5,000 prize was selected from film critics Philippa Hawker, Jake Wilson and Craig Mathieson.

The film was selected for last year’s Venice International Film Festival.

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