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Curtin graduate looks forward to The Black Balloon AFI awards

Media release

C303/08

14 November 2008

WA film maker and Curtin University of Technology graduate Elissa Down can’t wait for the 2008 AFI Awards night in December.

Her debut feature film, The Black Balloon, has received 11 nominations.

“When the AFI nominations were announced I was in the US working on a number of projects and preparing for the film’s American release in December,” Ms Down said.

“I pinched myself when I heard that my film had received so many nominations.

“My phone and email ran hot with messages of congratulations from my family, friends and colleagues.

“It was absolutely fantastic and I am excited that so many people involved with this film, that is so special to me, have been receiving recognition for their amazing contributions.

“I am on tenterhooks in anticipation of the big night.”

In total, The Black Balloon has received the following nominations:
• AFI Award for Best Film:  The Black Balloon – Tristram Mial
• AFI Award for Best Direction:  Elissa Down
• Macquarie AFI Award for Best Original Screenplay:  Elissa Down and Jimmy The Exploder
• AFI Award for Best Cinematography:  The Black Balloon – Denson Baker ACS
• AFI Award for Best Editing:  The Black Balloon – Veronika Jenet ASE
• AFI Award for Best Sound:  The Black Balloon – Ben Osmo and Paul Pirola
• AFI Award for Best Original Music Score:  The Black Balloon – Michael Yezerski
• AFI Award for Best Lead Actor: Rhys Wakefield – The Black Balloon
• AFI Award for Best Supporting Actor: Luke Ford and Erik Thomson – The Black Balloon
• AFI Award for Best Supporting Actress:  Toni Collette – The Black Balloon

Ms Down directed and co-wrote The Black Balloon, which tells the story of a family dealing with the challenges of autism and is based on her own family. It was released in Australian cinemas earlier this year.

“This film is very personal to me as I have three brothers – two of whom have autism,” she said.

“I grew up knowing in my heart of hearts that one day my family story would make fertile ground for a film.”

Ms Down graduated from Curtin in 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts – she majored in Film and TV.

“This year has been an amazing journey for me from winning a Crystal Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival to being recognised here with IF and AFI nominations.”

The L’Oréal Paris 2008 AFI Awards will take place at Melbourne’s Princess Theatre on Saturday 6 December and will be televised on the Nine Network.

The Black Balloon won the Script Category in the 2007 Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards recently as well.

Attention Editor/COS: A black and white photograph is available on request.

Modified: 14 November 2008