Australian psychological thriller One Less God has taken out the top honour at the Byron Bay International Film Festival, winning the award for ‘Best Film’.
The debut feature by writer/director/producer Lliam Worthington had its Australian premiere at the festival in competition with Greg McLean’s Jungle starring Daniel Radcliffe, the acclaimed Loving Vincent on the life of Van Gogh, the Sundance award-winning film Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World, the poignant An American In Texas, acclaimed documentary City of Joy and Lies We Tell starring Harvey Keitel and Gabriel Byrne.
Festival director J’aimee Skippon-Volke said “Byron Bay Film Festival was proud to have the opportunity to host One Less God’s first homeground screenings. An outstanding debut, which walks its own path, the film was an absolute hit with our audience, sparking debate, passionate commentary and heartfelt appreciation.”
“I wanted to craft a story that walks the line between the minefields of demonization and apologetics, and offer a genuine movement towards greater humanism and compassion,” said Worthington. “With subject matter so dark and harrowing, that’s a very difficult path to find, but with all that is taking place in the world right now, it’s become ever more vital that we find ways to help immunise our societies from those who seek to pull us towards either extreme. I think it’s always been one of the duties of the arts, to help us find the road less travelled in our conversations, and I believe that’s what we’ve done and why the responses we’re getting from audiences are so strong.”
“The atmosphere at the festival has been incredible, we’ve been so moved by the passionate responses.” said producer Maren Smith. “To win the top two awards in a festival in Los Angeles earlier this year was a dream come true, and to then come back and receive similar recognition on our own home soil, that means a lot to us. The packed houses and the audience buzz at Byron really bodes well for our upcoming theatrical release so we can’t wait to share it with a wide audience.”
Inspired by the Mumbai terrorist attacks of November 2008, One Less God follows the harrowing events from the perspectives of both hostages and terrorists over the course of the devastating three-day siege in Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Hotel. Large portions of the film’s dialogue were directly inspired by the leaked transcripts of the 2008 siege, which influenced subsequent multiple target militant attacks on cities including Paris.
“With 166 people killed, over 600 injured and thousands swept up in the events, it was India’s 9/11,” said Lliam Worthington. “We spent years researching and writing, and once we became immersed in the events and the geo-politics, we knew we needed to get beyond the timeline of events that were filling the news cycles. We wanted to get to the heart of the tragedy, and also beyond it, to the people on both ends of the guns.”
Co-producer Nelson Lau said: “Conceived eight years ago and filmed and produced over three years, One Less God is a truly independent feature largely created by sweat equity and grass roots industry support. But more than that,” he continued, “it is a feature made by people of many different faiths: Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Jews, Buddhists and those of no faith as well. I think together we have made a deeply humanist film that shrinks from nothing, which we believe is vital right now in this divisive political climate.”
The celebrated feature received the two top awards at the film’s world premiere in June at the Dances With Films Festival in Los Angeles making it the only feature in the twenty year history of the festival to receive both honours.
One Less God was recently picked up by Los Angeles based international sales agent Multivisionnaire. Indian and US theatrical releases will soon be announced.
Slated for an Australian theatrical release in November with Umbrella Entertainment, the film stars a diverse Australian cast bringing to life the hostages, international guests and staff, and the terrorists, including Joseph Mahler Taylor, Mihika Rao, Kabir Singh, SukhRaj Deepak, Kieran Kumar, Nathan Kaye, Martelle Hammer, Reilly O’Byrne-Inglis, Igor Kreyman, Joseph JU Taylor, Quentin Yung, Nicole Fantl, Jan Langford-Penny, Philip RK John, Nicolas François, Kaliopi Eleni and Rhavin Banda, many of whom will make their silver screen debuts.