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20/11/2008: PRODUCERS HONOUR LOVELL, FORREST, SEND TEAM TO INDIA; LITTLE DEATHS WINS DIGISPAA

Australia’s screen producers honoured producer Pat Lovell and film lab boss Murray Forrest with Lifetime Membership Awards at the annual conference on the Gold Coast (Nov 12 – 14). Lovell, who started in TV, later produced two of Australia’s iconic classics: Gallipoli and Picnic at Hanging Rock. Forrest has recently retired after 43 years in the film lab business, most recently as CEO of Atlab (previously Colourfilm).

The producers organisation (SPAA) is leading a delegation to the International Film Festival of India (Goa, November 22 – December 2). India’s Film Development Corp invited Australian producers to participate in the Film Bazaar. The delegates, organised by SPAA Executive Director Geoff Brown and Senior Policy Consultant Julie Marlow, all have Australian-Indian projects in advanced stages of development. They will meet with Indian producers and financiers, as well as a European delegation. The producers in the team are Jim McElroy, John Winter, Chris Kennedy, Anupam Sharma and Luke Gracias. Geoff Brown is also going to Goa, for the Winter General Meeting of the international producer organisation, of which he is an executive committee member.

At this year's DigiSPAA, award-winning Producer Jason Byrne won the 2008 ‘SPAARTAN Award’ for his film Little Deaths, starring Magda Szubanski, Abe Forsythe, Caroline Craig and Alex Schepisi. Byrne’s film competed against grand-finalist David Parker’s horror tale, The Gates of Hell.

Little Deaths is an original, innovative feature film combining the talents of one writer and eleven of Melbourne’s emerging film directors to create a multi-faceted vision of modern love. The directors include, Sian Davies, Fin Edquist, Melanie Brunt, The Man With No Name, Geoff Hitchins, Jarrah Gurrie, Genevieve Bailey, Chris Benz, Giula Sandler, Ben Chessell and James Teh.

"We’re really excited to have won. Little Deaths was a great collaborative effort and we’re thrilled at the recognition of our peers. DigiSPAA is a great opportunity to market your project in front of other filmmakers and especially important for the digital/Indy film maker. The competition was a tremendous boost to our DigiSPAA project last year (Rats and Cats) and I believe it will help Little Deaths get on the radar as well. You have to be in it to win it," said Byrne.

In addition to receiving $15,000 cash prize and $20,000 worth of post production sponsored by MOVIE NETWORK CHANNELS, Little Deaths will also be screened on the MOVIE EXTRA channel. Byrne also receives a subscription to Movie Network and return airfare and free registration to the prestigious Rotterdam Cinemart international feature film market.

"Little Deaths is a remarkable achievement. It represents the true spirit of DigiSPAA whereby a group of deeply passionate filmmakers have pooled resources to enable them to produce a feature on a truly low budget. Each segment of the film tells a themed story with a different point of view. Made on a minimal budget, the story telling is slick, the filmmaking sophisticated and each part of the film is special and unique in its own way. Jason Byrne and his team of filmmakers should be applauded for their efforts and the film deserves to be seen as widely as possible,” said Daniel Scharf, DigiSPAA judge and Producer of Romper Stomper.

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