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'Beneath Hill 60' takes top honors at the Savannah Film Festival
Brendan Cowell plays Capt. Oliver Woodward in the Australian WWI drama "Beneath Hill 60."

The Australian drama Beneath Hill 60 was named Best Narrative Feature at the 2010 Savannah Film Festival.

Jeremy Sims was named Best Director for the independent film, which tells the based-on-fact story of a group of civilian miners recruited to blow up a German stronghold in Belgium during World War I.

"Australia was a British colony then," screenwriter David Roach told Connect Savannah in an interview last week, "and the attitude was if anyone was going to attack Britain, then we were going to help our mother country. It's an old-fashioned notion now, but in those days we wanted to prove ourselves."

Beneath Hill 60's Brendan Cowell was named the festival's Best Actor, for his portrayal of the protagonist, Capt. Oliver Woodward.

Automorphosis was named Best Documentary, Ormie the Best Animated Short, Up There won the Best Short prize in the professional competition, and the Jury Storyteller Award was given to The Secret Friend.

Great Britain's violent The Kid was awarded a $5,000 cash prize as recipient of the HBO Films Producer Award (given to producers Judith Hunt and Kevin Lewis).

Automorphosis editor Harold Blank took the AVID award for Best Editing.

In the student film competition, Colin Levy's short En Route received the Savannah Film Commission Award; the film's director of photographer Jason Osterday was named the Panavision Best Student Cinematographer.

The Student Animation Award was given to Prayers For Peace director Dustin Grella, while recent SCAD graduate David Karlak received the Best SCAD Student Film Award for his short The Candidate.

Karlak and The Candidate also took the HBO Films Student Award, along with a $5,000 cash prize.

The SCAD Challenge winners were Chroma (silver), Music by H.H.S. (gold) and Salute, My Collared Pal (platinum).

Tugboat Animation was named the winner of the Student Bumper Contest.

For the new SCAD Challenge: Film competition, winners were chosen by a panel of SCAD faculty experts from high school seniors and juniors, or students in their last two years of secondary school, in various areas of study. These were based on the same guidelines used for artistic scholarship consideration, in categories of live-action and animation.

Winning seniors are John Kim, Vancouver, B.C., first place; Gabe Gilden, Barrington, Ill., second place; and Seth Boyden, Huntertown, Ind., third place. Junior winners are Wes Sherwin, Cartersville, Ga., first place; Aaron Carter, Hawthorn Woods, Ill., second place; and Amanda Depperschmidt, Lawrenceville, Ga., third place.

Awards were announced at the film festival's closing ceremonies Saturday evening at the Trustees Theater.