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From Russia with love

Actor scores big at Moscow film fest

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A Masterton-born actor has returned home from Moscow with an international award.

Kieran Charnock, 26, has won best actor for his role of Jack in the Kiwi arthouse drama, ‘Stray’, during the Moscow International Film Festival awards ceremony over the weekend.

The film was his first leading role.

Charnock said the moment the presenter called his name was surreal.

“I don’t know how I managed to get up to the stage and give a speech – I have no idea how that happened.”

“I just remember as soon as my name was called out my director, Dustin [Feneley], hugged me and said, ‘you did it!’.”

The festival was Charnock’s first time in Russia. He said he was blown away by the hospitality of the locals.

After accepting the award, Charnock was ushered backstage and given what he called “the full Brad Pitt treatment”.

“I walked around the corner and there were about 30 photographers with their flashes going non-stop.”

“Kieran, over here! Kieran, look at me!”

After a few minutes of photos, Charnock moved through to a conference, where another room full of television cameras was waiting for him.

The star treatment did not end when he returned to the reception after the ceremony.

“I was asked for photos and autographs for ages – it was just crazy.”

He celebrated with cast and crew at a party for award winners and special guests.

The Silver Saint George award.

The trophy itself, called a Silver Saint George, is impressive.

“I’m so happy about that – it’s the coolest award I’ve seen.”

Charnock said during the festival he received praise for his portrayal of Jack but before the awards felt people were simply being polite.

“In a way I guess winning the award was validation that maybe I am on the right track.

“It was an amazing validation, and I’m very grateful for that.”

‘Stray’ is an unconventional love story set in New Zealand’s Southern Alps.

It focuses on two people finding solace in each other while struggling to reconcile their broken pasts.

The film premiered in Moscow this month as part of the festival.

Charnock did not know what to do with the award now he was home, but his proud father might like to hold on to it.

“It’s an amazing achievement,” Andrew Charnock said.

In his acceptance speech, Kieran thanked his parents, sisters, brother and girlfriend.

Charnock was a student at Hadlow School then Rathkeale College in Masterton.

He received training overseas at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff.

Charnock had acted in several films before ‘Stray’, including The Rehearsal, with fellow Kiwi actor, James Rolleston.

Before the festival he said awards could be an opportunity to elevate his career.

“I care about getting to take on more exciting projects and interesting characters — and awards can sometimes help actors do that.”

Now he is looking forward to advancing several new projects.

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