‘Descent’ and ‘Mukbang’ win top gongs at virtual Sydney Film Festival

The festival's first virtual winners

The 2020 Sydney Film Festival has announced the winners of its documentary and short film awards at its virtual ceremony tonight (June 18).

Descent, directed by Nays Baghai, won the $10,000 prize for Best Australian Documentary. The film traces the story of Kiki Bosch, one of the world’s only professional ice free-divers, who swim in freezing cold water without a wet suit. Bosch engages in risky activity to deal with the trauma of sexual assault. The film was Baghai’s directorial debut, coming from a career as an underwater diver.

Mukbang, directed by the 21-year old Eliza Scanlan (Little WomenSharp Objects), earned The Rouben Mamoulian Award for Best Australian Short Film Director. The dramatic film is about a schoolgirl who engages in the trend of binge-eating food online. It also marked Scanlan’s directorial debut.

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The SFF has been running on-demand online since June 10 and will finish up on June 21. The first online edition of SFF, which was announced in May, has focused primarily on its awards program for Australian-made films, with 20 features and 13 short films in four strands. The emphasis on local films was designed to support the struggling industry through the pandemic.

Originally, the event was set to screen over 250 films at ten different venues.

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