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Gong For Nine At Banff
Sydney Morning Herald
Monday June 18, 2001
Glenda Hambly's telemovie Waiting at the Royal, a co-production between Artist Services and Apollo Films, beat a strong field to be judged the best made-for-television movie for 2001 at the annual Banff Television Festival's Rockie Awards.
David Curl's Silhouettes of the Desert, which was more than three years in the making and screened on the ABC in a less-than-viewer-friendly timeslot, won the Rockie for the best popular-science and natural history program.
Waiting at the Royal, which stars Noni Hazlehurst, Josephine Byrnes, Catherine McClements and Ramon Tikaram, screened last year on Nine and relates the dramas
faced by four mothers in a Melbourne maternity hospital.
"I didn't want it to end," said one of the hard-bitten judges on the international critics panel.
The grand jury awarded the $50,000 Global Television Grand Prize and the Banff Rockie to La Terre des Ames Errantes (The Land of Wandering Souls), a film about the laying of fibre-optic cables across Cambodia. The program, which also claimed a Rockie for best social and political documentary, juxtaposes the history and cultural aspirations of people struggling with a subsistence lifestyle and no access to electricity as they lay the electronic base for the infobahn.
Kelsey Grammer was awarded the Sir Peter Ustinov prize for his contributions to comedy and Canadian director Norman Jewison received the Lion's Gate award for his life-long achievements in cinema. Of the 86 nominees in competition, selected from 1,030 entries, four were from Australia.
It's depressing to think how little of the splendid material on show at Banff, apart
from American dramas and a handful of documentaries, will make it to our screens, given that precious little shown at Banff last year did so.