Sam Worthington offers up cash prize to busker at film festival
Actor Sam Worthington stunned organisers of a film festival in his native Australia over the weekend by offering a £1,875 prize to a busker featured in one of the competing movies.
The Avatar star was among the judges at this year's Tropfest, the world's largest short film festival, and he took to the stage at the event's grand finale in Sydney on Sunday to hand out the top prize.
The best film trophy went to a short called We've All Been There, but Worthington turned his attentions to the star of runner-up picture Better Than Sinatra - 86-year-old street performer Raymond Borzelli.
Worthington told the audience he wanted to set up a new category, titled Best Personality in a Documentary, to honour Borzelli and he offered up his own money as a "prize" to the cash-strapped busker, who is regularly seen dancing on the streets of Sydney.
Borzelli did not turn up for the film event, so Better Than Sinatra director Jefferson Grainger instigated a city-wide hunt to track him down and hand him Worthington's cash.
The moviemaker says, "We lost him yesterday (Sunday). We were like, 'Where in the world is he?' We had cops searching CCTV footage for all the busking sites in the city. We had people in Pitt Street and Darling Harbour looking for him, and Hyde Park, and people at his house, banging on his door. And he was asleep. He had already had a big day of dancing and he said he had to look after his health so he crashed in bed... When I told him about Sam Worthington, he wanted to split it (the money) with me... Raymond is a legend."
Grainger refused Borzelli's offer to split the cash and the busker admitted he did not know the Avatar actor, declaring, "Thank you Shane Worthington!"
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