Independent Australian dramedy Pawno won the Jury Grand Prix prize for Best Feature Film at Cannes Cinema des Antipodes, beating out an impressive field of competitors, including Last Cab to Darwin, The Dressmaker, Goldstone and Looking for Grace.
Actor John Brumpton, who plays pawn shop owner Les in the film, also won the Best Male New Talent award, an irony considering his long and varied career.
Held at St Tropez, Cinema des Antipodes is an offshoot of the Cannes Film Festival that celebrates Australian and New Zealand Film. This year’s Jury was headed by actor and filmmaker, Brendan Cowell.
Damian Hill, writer and star of the film, remarked, “Paul [Ireland, Pawno director] and I are excited and honoured that the film was recognised amongst many Australian gems. Personally, I feel that Paul is one the most gifted directors working in this country and to see Johnny Brumpton pick up best actor was thoroughly deserved as he really is phenomenal in the role of Les.”
Set in the multicultural working class Melbourne suburb of Footscray, Pawno tells the stories of a diverse group of characters who all cross paths at the titular pawn shop. Featuring Maeve Dermody, Malcolm Kennard, Mark Coles Smith and Kerry Armstrong, the film has drawn favourable comparisons to the works of Robert Altman and Wayne Wang. Pawno is in competition at this year’s AACTA Awards, which take place at thr he Star Event Centre in Sydney on Wednesday, December 7.