Entertainment

Feature film debut earns critics' gong

The apocalyptic road movie These Final Hours has won The Age Critics' Award for best Australian feature film at the Melbourne International Film Festival.

The apocalyptic road movie These Final Hours has won The Age Critics' Award for best Australian feature film at the Melbourne International Film Festival.

The low-budget movie, directed by Zak Hilditch and starring Nathan Phillips and 12-year-old newcomer Angourie Rice, is set on the last day of the planet as the inhabitants of Perth await their fiery end.

MIFF: The Age Critics' Award contenders

Philippa Hawker previews the contenders for The Age Critics' Award for best Australian feature film at the Melbourne International Film Festival.

''Ava Gardner allegedly said that Melbourne was the perfect place to film the end of the world,'' said the judges' panel, which included Age critics Philippa Hawker and Jake Wilson and The Sunday Age's Craig Mathieson. ''Zak Hilditch has proved that Perth is even better.''

Hilditch's film beat out a stiff field that included festival favourite Tim Winton's The Turning. The award comes with a crystal trophy and a $5000 cheque.

Zak Hildtich receives <i>The Age</i> Critics' Award for his road movie <i>These Final Hours</i>.
Zak Hildtich receives The Age Critics' Award for his road movie These Final HoursPhoto: Wayne Taylor

These Final Hours is, ostensibly, Hilditch's debut feature, though technically it's his third.

"The other two were made very much on the cheap, just sort of hobby projects," he said. "This is the first time I've made a film that's actually had a budget."