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Australian Films win awards at Toronto

Congratulations to the Australian films that have won awards at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival.

Mao's Last Dancer

Mao's Last Dancer (d: Bruce Beresford, w: Jan Sardi, p: Jane Scott) was first runner-up in the Cadillac People’s Choice Award as voted by festival audiences.

The Cadillac People’s Choice Award – Midnight Madness was won by The Loved Ones (w/d: Sean Byrne, p: Mark Lazarus, Michael Boughen). Runner-up for this award was another Australian film, Daybreakers (w/d: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig, p: Chris Brown, Sean Furst, Bryan Furst) , which premiered at the festival. The Midnight Madness program highlights the weird and the wonderful from directors who prefer to work in genres not usually seen in a festival context.

The 34th Toronto International Film Festival ran 10–19 September 2009. View all the festival winners.

MAO'S LAST DANCER
A Great Scott production for Last Dancer Pty Ltd
Director Bruce Beresford
Screenwriter Jan Sardi
Producer Jane Scott
Australian Distributors Hopscotch Films, Roadshow Films Australia
International Sales Celluloid Dreams International
Cast Bruce Greenwood, Kyle MacLachlan, Joan Chen, Chi Cao, Amanda Schull, Aden Young and Jack Thompson
Synopsis The inspirational true story of a young boy’s extraordinary journey from poverty to international stardom. From gruelling apprenticeship to classical dancer in communist China, to the glory of creative freedom in America. But, there is a painful price to be paid for his quest for self-expression. Mao’s Last Dancer captures the intoxicating effects of first love and celebrity, the pain of exile, and ultimately the triumph of individual endeavour over ideology. “Before you can fly, you have to be free”.

THE LOVED ONES
Ambience Entertainment
Writer/Director
Sean Byrne
Producers Mark Lazarus, Michael Boughen
Australian Distributor Madman Entertainment
International Sales Arclight Films
Cast Xavier Samuel, Robin McLeavy, John Brumpton, Victoria Thaine, Jess McNamee, Richard Wilson
Synopsis Brent, a student still grieving for his father, declines an invitation to the end of year dance from Lola, the quietest girl in school. She and her father kidnap him and Brent must fight to survive the macabre celebration they have in store for him.

DAYBREAKERS
Paradise Production Pty Ltd
Directors/Writers
Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig
Producers Chris Brown, Sean Furst, Bryan Furst
Australian Distributor Hoyts Distribution Pty Ltd
International Sales Mandate International
Cast Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe, Claudia Karvan, Michael Dorman and Sam Neill
Synopsis The year is 2019. A mysterious plague has swept over the earth, transforming the majority of the world's population into vampires. Humans are now an endangered, second-class species – forced into hiding as they are hunted and farmed for vampire consumption to the brink of extinction. It’s all up to Edward Dalton, a vampire researcher who refuses to feed on human blood, to perfect a blood substitute that might sustain vampires and spare the few remaining humans.