At the age of four Daniel Connors was technically deceased after being underwater for 20 minutes. When he miraculously survived, his mother felt that he was destined to do ‘something’ with his life. When director Ivan Sen watched ten year-old Daniel stand up for himself against a group of teenagers on the streets of the Toomelah mission, he recognised that Daniel had the right presence to become the driving force of his film. Daniel is supported in the lead role by his father Michael, who plays his alcoholic dad, and sister Daneeka, who takes up the role of his girlfriend Tanitia. Daniel Connors was embraced by the press and the audience after the world premiere of Toomelah (2011) competing in the Un Certain Regard at the 64th Cannes Film Festival. As a first time actor, he was considered a natural talent and his performance was described as outstanding. The film screened in competition at the 2011 Sydney Film Festival. Toomelah won the Festival Grand Prix for Best Feature at the International Film Festival of Asia-Pacific Countries in Vladivostok.
The Asia Pacific Screen Academy expresses its respect for and acknowledgement of the South East Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners of country, including the custodial communities on whose land works are created and celebrated by the Asia Pacific Screen Awards. We acknowledge the continuing connection to land, waters and communities. We also pay our respects to Elders, past and emerging. We recognise the integral role Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and First Nations peoples continue to play in storytelling and celebration spaces.