Discovery … Reef Ireland in DownriverSelected_2_DOWNRIVER.jpgMovie session timesFull movies coverage
There have been some outstanding performances in Australian films over the past year including Michael Caton in Last Cab To Darwin, Sullivan Stapleton in Cut Snake and Ryan Corr in Holding The Man.
But the Asia Pacific Screen Awards, which covers films from 70 countries, has announced a best actor nomination for a little-known Australian talent from a barely-seen drama.
Reef Ireland, who has appeared in the TV dramas Puberty Blues and Wentworth, has been nominated for playing a young man just out of jail in the yet-to-be-released Downriver.
To date, writer-director Grant Scicluna’s first feature film has only screened at the Melbourne International Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival.
Ireland, 22, has also acted in the films Strangerland, Fell and Blessed and the TV shows Tangle, Killing Time and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.
In Downriver, he plays a former prisoner who was jailed for his part in the drowning death of a child. With the dead boy’s body never recovered – and no memory of what happened – he returns to the place the boy disappeared to seek answers.
“It’s amazing,” Ireland said from Auckland, where he is filming what he called a “super secret” project. “It’s such a prestigious award.”
The young actor, who grew up in Auckland then Melbourne, described his character in Downriver as a “dark hero”.
“He has the history of a bad guy but he’s actually a really, really good guy.”
The awards’ film director, Maxine Williamson, said members of the international nominations council felt Ireland’s performance was extraordinary.
“People were captured by the whole atmosphere of that film and they felt they saw a talent that’s obviously on the rise,” she says. “He’s a discovery in many ways.”
Ireland has been nominated alongside actors from Russia (Alexey Gusykov for The Find), Georgia (Misha Gomiashvili for The President), South Korea (Jung Jae-young for Right Now, Wrong Then) and Tibet (Shide Nyima for Tharlo).
The only previous Australian actors to be nominated in the nine years of the awards are David Gulpilil, who received a special mention for Charlie’s Country last year, Aaron Pedersen for Mystery Road in 2013, and Daniel Connors for Toomelah in 2011.
The sole Australian best actress nominee has been Judy Davis for The Eye Of The Storm in 2011.
Two Australian films have been nominated for this year’s awards: Blinky Bill The Movie is up for best animated feature film and Another Country is up for best documentary.
Director Stephen Page, the artistic director of the Bangarra Dance Theatre, is also nominated for a UNESCO Award for an outstanding contribution to cultural diversity for the dance film Spear.
Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien’s acclaimed martial arts film The Assassin, which won best director at the Cannes Film Festival this year, leads the nominations. It is up for best feature film, direction and cinematography.
Two films from South Korea are also nominated for best film – Park Jung-bum’s Alive and Kim Dae-hwan’s End of Winter – as well as Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Cemetery of Splendour (from Thailand, Malaysia, France, Germany and United Kingdom) and Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Journey to the Shore (from Japan and France).
The awards, described as the region’s highest accolade in film, will be held in Brisbane on November 26.
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