One Eyed Girl wins jury prize at Austin Film Festival

A group of young Australian filmmakers is celebrating after their film, One Eyed Girl won the Jury Award at this year’s Austin Film Festival in the Dark Matters category.

The South Australian psychological thriller is the second feature film to take out the Dark Matters Award, after it was introduced to the AFF program last year.

Now in its 21st year, the Austin Film Festival is known for its focus on screenplays with strong storytelling.

One Eyed Girl – written by Nick Matthews and Craig Behenna and directed by Nick Matthews – is a gripping story about a psychiatrist, haunted by the death of a former patient, who stumbles upon a Doomsday cult and battles to save a teenage girl from its clutches.

Starring Tilda Cobham-Hervey (52 Tuesdays), Mark Leonard Winter (Healing, Van Diemen’s Land) and Steve Le Marquand (Rake, Vertical Limit), One Eyed Girl will be released in Australian cinemas on April 2, 2015, distributed by The Backlot Films.

On winning the award, Nick Matthews said, “It’s a great honour to win this award at a festival that champions story, and genre filmmaking. To receive it in front of so many film and TV heavyweights, like Madmen creator Matt Weiner and director Jim Sheridan is a doubly amazing. I’m stunned, and immensely proud of my cast and our fantastic crew. We’re looking forward to sharing the film with Australian audiences early in 2015.”

Says Craig Behenna, “I’m very proud that our first screening of One Eyed Girl has had such an amazing response at Austin. This festival has a great reputation for being all about the craft of filmmaking and taking storytelling seriously. It also makes me think of all the people who have supported and worked with us right from the beginning. Without their care and commitment and love for this film, we simply couldn’t have done it. To win an award in Austin and to accept it in a room filled with so many great filmmakers and storytellers who had made some of the films like In the Name of the Father, In America and many others that have had a huge impact on me was a surreal and fantastic moment. We’re pinching ourselves a bit.”

Producer Dave Ngo, “I couldn’t be prouder of everyone who helped make this film. To win the Dark Matters Award seems so appropriate for such a dark and intense story. I can’t wait to return to Oz and celebrate with the team.”

And hinting that there may be another film in the pipeline, Ngo added, “Hopefully we’ll get to do it all again soon.”

Austin Film Festival Screenplay & Teleplay competition director, Matt Dy said of One Eyed Girl, “Screenwriters Craig Behenna and Nick Matthews have written a script that, on the page, would very likely read as multi-layered and thrilling as it is seen on the screen through the film’s rich, haunting cinematography.”

Attending Austin Film Festival on behalf of One Eyed Girl are producer David Ngo, writer/director Nick Matthews, writer Craig Behenna and actor Tilda Cobham-Hervey, who has been touted by Variety and Vogue magazines as one of the Top 5 ones to watch.

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