Griffith film grad wins top honours at Cannes

A Griffith Film School graduate has won the prestigious Palme D’Or for best short film at the 70th Cannes Film Festival.

Qiu Yang, 28, took out thetop award at Cannes for his film, A Gentle Night, which follows a mother searching for her missing daughter in a small Chinese town on the eve of the Lunar New Year.

Just nine films were selected from almost 5,000 submissions to compete for the Short Film Palme d’Or. A jury presided over by Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu and actress Uma Thurman awarded the festivals’ top honour to A Gentle Night – the first time the Palme D’Or has gone to a Chinese filmmaker.

Qiu Yang arrived at Griffith Film School as an international student, graduating from the Bachelor of Film and Screen Media Productionin 2012.

His graduate film, Island, starred Martin Sacks (Blue Heelers) and was shortlisted for several awards.

Acting Head of Griffith Film School Professor Trish FitzSimons said the award was a “huge honour”.

“We are very proud to have one of our graduates win top honours at Cannes,” she said.

“It shows the strength of screen education at Griffith Film School, where we are turning out graduates who are achieving recognition at the very top of their field — from Emmy awards to Oscar nominations and now a Palme D’Or.

“Griffith filmmakers are making their mark in the film industry, on the national and international stage.”

Professor FitzSimons said that Griffith Film School’s strong links to the Asia-Pacific region had made it a favoured destination for international students.

“We are very lucky to have so many remarkable young filmmakers from around the world choose to study here,” she said.

“These students bring a diverse set of experiences and a unique viewpointthat enriches our courses.”