Matt Nable’s “Transfusion”, Starring Sam Worthington Wins The Covted Red Poppy Award At The Veterans Film Festival

VFF Chair Warwick Young, juror Jenni Baird, winners Michael Schwarz and Matt Nable I Photo sent by Carolyn Grant of Avviso

Jury Chair Bruce Beresford announced Transfusion as the winner of the prestigious *Howard Frank Van Norton Award for Best Film among a cluster of Red Poppy Awards, including Sam Worthington for Best Actor and Jennifer Lawrence for Best Actress for Causeway at the annual international Veterans Film Festival during a gala Closing Night on Sunday at the Entertainment Quarter in Sydney.

The coveted Red Poppy Awards, titled after the war poem ‘In Flanders Field’, written during the First World War by Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, saw films from 14 countries in competition across the 4 -day festival.

Writer, director, and actor Matt Nable and producers Michael Schwarz and John Schwarz collected the $10,000 prize for the Best Film Award. The film’s star, Sam Worthington, was awarded Best Actor. Causeway, which opened the festival, also won the Sgt Joseph Cecil Thompson Award (named in memory of the cornet player of the 9th Battalion Band that landed at Gallipoli in 1915) for Best Music by Alex Somers, as well as Lawrence’s Best Actress gong.

Other Red Poppy Awards presented:

• The Spectrum Films Award for Best Short Film went to US film Soldier by Justin Zimmerman. The prize includes $4000 cash and $2500 in post-production support from Spectrum Films.
• The Award for Best Student Film was won by The Search by veteran Thomas Brouns.
• The Best Music Video went to Better Off – a song by Johnny Reveille, directed by Casey Andrew, both veterans.
• The Harry Julius Award for Best Animation went to the Iranian film The Sprayer by Farnoosh Abedi.
• The Beyond Blue Award for the Best Film Reflecting Hope and Resilience went to The Healing by Nick Barkla.

Winners were selected by the Jury panel of Bruce Beresford, Lisa Hoppe, Jenni Baird, Alan Dukes, Julie Kalceff, Cameron Patrick, Petra Salsjo, and Gus O’Brien-Cavanough.

This article was sourced from a media release sent by Carolyn Grant |

The Awards have been presented annually, except for a COVID break, since 2015. The last time the Awards were held in 2020, the Best Feature was won by Ukrainian drama U311 Cherkasy, and Best Short was awarded to Australian entry Trust Frank.

*Private Howard Frank Van Norton was a veteran of the US Army in WW2 and is the late father of the Veterans Film Festival leading patron Kay Van Norton Poche.

Private Howard Frank Van Norton was born in 1925 and passed in 2012. He landed in France on 8 June 1944, two days after the main D-Day landings. During the Allied advance through France, the enemy shot him in the back while repairing communication lines. Wounded, he continued to repair the wiring until communication was restored to his Unit. He was awarded a silver star and the Purple Heart for that action. After the war, Howard continued serving others in the community all his life.

About Veterans Film Festival

The Veterans Film Festival aims to be Australia’s premier international film festival devoted to screening films about, for, and by veterans, with sidebar events such as masterclasses, Q&As, workshops, art exhibitions, and performances.

The Veterans Film Festival will provide skills training, placement opportunities, scholarships, and project development within the screen industry through the new Screen Warriors program. This means it will broaden the diversity and inclusiveness of the Australian screen industry whilst simultaneously supporting and improving the lives of veterans and their families.

Their Excellencies General, the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, and Mrs. Linda Hurley are VFF Patrons.