A movie based on a true story about a dog that unites a remote outback Australian mining town has won the country's top film award, 17 years after a kind-hearted pig charmed filmgoers around the world.
Red Dog, a comic drama about a stray kelpie that attaches itself to people it likes, was named best movie at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts awards, Australia's equivalent of the U.S. Oscars, late on Tuesday.Its success follows in the hoof-prints of Babe, the 1995 movie about a pig that dreamed of being a sheepdog, which was nominated for seven Oscar awards.
Partly sponsored by global resource companies Rio Tinto and Woodside, it was a rare box-office success for the niche Australian film industry that still struggles to compete against Hollywood despite periodic successes.
Directed by Kriv Stenders and based on a true story from the 1970s, Red Dog took A$21.3 million ($22.6 million) at the Australian box office in 2011, more than all the other 34 first-release Australian features combined.
Australia's film industry accounted for A$42.9 million ($45.5 million) or 3.9 percent of the country's total box office earnings in 2011, according to Screen Australia, the Australian government's film industry support and funding body.
The grim crime movie "Snowtown" won four awards, including best director and best actor. "Snowtown" is about Australia's worst serial killers who murdered 11 people in the 1990s, dumping the bodies in barrels of acid.