Australian director Kim Mordaunt's The Rocket has won two major prizes at the Tribeca Film Festival overnight, taking out the the Founders Award for best narrative feature in the world narrative competition, and best actor.
The Rocket tells the story of a displaced family in urban Laos, forced to move when their youngest child is blamed for a string of disasters and is deemed 'cursed'. It is one of few feature films to be produced within Laos, and Mordaunt secured unique access to shoot real rituals for his spiritual tale.
Mordaunt was presented with a US$25,000 prize cheque and an art award (“Two Voices #1" by Angelina Nasso), by festival co-founders Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal. The film also earned a best actor award for first-timer Sitthiphon Disamoe (pictured), who plays the supposedly cursed child, 10-year old Ahlo.
The Tribeca prize comes off the back of The Rocket's win for best debut feature film at the Berlin Film Festival in February.
In other prizes, Dan Krauss' The Kill Team took out the best documentary feature in the world documentary competition.
A special jury mention went to Stand Clear of the Closing Doors, directed by Sam Fleischner.
Veerle Baetens of The Broken Circle Breakdown was named best actress in a narrative feature film. Carol Joos and Felix van Groeningen also tok out the prize for best screenplay for The Broken Circle Breakdown.
In the competition for best new narrative director, the winner was Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais for the Canadian film Whitewash. A special jury mention went to Emir Baigazin for the film Harmony Lessons.
The 12th Tribeca Film Festival runs until April 28.