Megan Park's 'The Fallout' among Canadian winners at South by Southwest

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TORONTO — Writer-director Megan Park is among several Canadian winners at the South by Southwest film festival.

She won the top Narrative Feature Grand Jury Award for her feature directorial debut, "The Fallout," about a young girl whose life is changed by a school tragedy.

Park, who is also well-known for her acting career, also won the festival's Brightcove Illumination Award, which honours a filmmaker on the rise.

She accepted the honours in a video on the Twitter account of the festival, which is running online out of Austin through March 31.

Park said the film is dedicated "to any young person out there who is struggling to cope" with either the after-effects of gun violence or anything else in their life.

Fellow Canadian director Martin Edralin's film "Islands" won the festival's breakthrough performance award for newcomer Rogelio Balagtas.

"Islands" is about a middle-aged Filipino immigrant in Canada who has to care for his ailing father after his mother dies.

The festival jury said Balagtas gave a "tremendously compelling" performance that can "break hearts throughout."

"I hope there will be more opportunities for Filipinos, Asians, people of colour, especially, in Canada and of course in the United States," Balagtas said in accepting the award in a video on the film's social media accounts Friday.

Montreal filmmaker Annie St-Pierre won a special jury recognition award for directing the narrative short "Like the Ones I Used to Know" ("Les grandes claques"), about a man who's anxious about picking up his children from his former in-laws' home on Christmas Eve.

The film also won the Mailchimp Support the Shorts Special Jury Recognition prize.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 19, 2021.

Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press