Last month saw the SA premiere of award-winning Australian film Samson & Delilah, by acclaimed director Warwick Thornton, at a Johannesburg event that highlights the growing collaboration between South Africa and Australia.

Samson & Delilah
The film, which won the coveted Palme d'Or at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, follows the life of two aboriginal teenagers who, when their life is turned upside down by a sudden tragedy, leave their secluded community and embark on a journey of self-discovery and realisation.

"Thornton's vision is truly unique as he succeeds in creating a film that presents hope amidst confronting situations, and Samson & Delilah importantly brings a realistic and unglorified Indigenous representation to a wide audience" (Vangopoulos:2009).

The event was a partnership between the Australian High Commission, director Thornton, and CLAW (Community Led Animal Welfare), IFAW's programme which provides primary veterinary healthcare services to pets in townships and informal settlements across Gauteng. CLAW sought to raise funds and awareness of its cause.

The Australian High Commissioner to South Africa, HE Ms Ann Harrap, said that the High Commission was delighted to be involved with the premiere of Samson & Delilah in South Africa.

"The film is an excellent example of Australia's dynamic film industry. Now with the imminent signing of the film co-production agreement with South Africa, there will be fantastic opportunities for Australian and South African film-makers to work together to produce high quality films."

In addition to the film premiere, the 2009 Australian of the Year, respected indigenous leader, Professor Mick Dodson AM, shared his thoughts on Australian culture and issues facing the indigenous community.

Professor Michael Dodson received his in recognition of the considerable contribution he has made to improving the lives of indigenous Australians throughout his life. Professor Dodson is currently the Co-Chairman of Reconciliation Australia - as Co-Chair, his dream is to achieve reconciliation in Australia, and a better future for his people.

Awards won by Samson & Delilah: Camera d'Or (best first feature) - Cannes Film Festival 2009

Blue Angel Award for Best Director - 17th Art Film Fest, Slovakia

AWGIE Awards (Australian Writer's Guild Awards)
Feature Film Screenplay (Original)
Major AWGIE Award (for most outstanding script in any discipline)

Audience Award - Adelaide Film Festival

Kate Challis RAKA Award for Indigenous script writing

Grand Jury Prize
Best Female Actor - Marissa Gibson
Best Male Actor - Rowan McNamara
St Tropez Film Festival, France

The City Prize for best film (awarded by the teenage jury)
Jury Grand Prize for best film (awarded by the adult jury)
Festival Cine-jeune, France

Grand Jury Award
Press Jury Award
EKWA Film Festival of the Indian Ocean (Reunion Island)