NORTHERN Rivers film writer/director Kim Mordaunt was presented the Best Narrative Feature Award by actor Robert de Niro at the recent Tribeca Film Festival in New York.
Mordaunt's first feature, The Rocket, also won the Audience Award and the Best Actor Award for its young lead actor Sitthiphon Disamoe at Tribeca, where the audience gave it a standing ovation.
It was a proud moment not only for the filmmaker, his producer partner Sylvia Wilczynski and Byron Shire-based family, but also for his former students and teachers at Mullumbimby High School.
Mordaun said winning the award was a "big surprise, and meeting De Niro was lovely, as we were able to meet him and spend some time with him."
Robert de Niro co-founded Tribeca in 1989 with Jane Rosenthal in New York.
The Tribeca Festival jury statement declared The Rocket "a spectacular achievement that is powerful and delightful in equal measures".
It's not surprising that Mordaunt is such an accomplished witer and director: his father Richard Mordaunt is also a celebrated filmmaker.
The family moved to Australia from the UK and settled in Byron shire in 1980, where Kim attended school at Mullumbimby High School while his father was making films.
"My first job in media was a radio station in Lismore." The Rocket is a deeply personal story about the determination of a boy who has the odds stacked against him, set against the epic backdrop of a war-ravaged country. Former street kid Sitthiphon Disamoe gives an extraordinary performance as Ahlo, a boy who enters a traditional rocket festival competition to help save his poverty-stricken family.
A special preview of The Rocket and Q&A co-hosted by Screenworks and Palace Byron Bay Cinema will be held on Tuesday, August 13, at 6.30 pm. For more info go to palacecinemas.com.au.