In the Jerrycan

Australian short film Jerrycan continues to shine in international film festivals.

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Julius Avery's short film Jerrycan has become a rare gem, having blitzed Cannes and now the Sundance Film Festival, where it was awarded an Honourable Mention late last week.

Local filmmaker Avery, who wrote and directed the film, was present at the ceremony last week in Utah to accept the award. 

"I wrote a script based on my childhood," Avery says, "and I wanted to write an honest portrayal of that part of my life. It had to be real, so I used real kids from the country town of Clunes. When you're fourteen, you either stand up for what you want in your life or you back off and go under the radar. The story is about a kid being bullied who stands up for himself. We've all been bullied - which is what we remember! But we've all done a bit of bullying ourselves as well. It's the life cycle of the bullied becoming the bully."

Avery's Jerrycan was chosen from a pool of over 5500 submissions, to be one of the 96 short films selected for Sundance. 

This is the second award the film has received at a film festival of such international prominence, with the first being a Jury Prize at the 59th Annual Cannes Film Festival in May 2008. The film also recently received a nod from the Australian Film Institute in the form of the Award for Best Short Fiction Film. 

"These awards cement that you're on the right path," Avery says. "It's affirming to have it acknowledged that you're actually succeeding with your stories. But with Cannes, the honour was truly just getting in - it was like an alternative film school, where I learned a lot of things from watching other people's films and then talking with the filmmakers. Winning the award was just the icing on the cake." 

Jerrycan, which was filmed in regional Victoria in May and December 2007, has been screened at a range of film festivals across the world, including the Melbourne, Chicago, Stockholm and London Film Festivals.

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