The Palace, a raw portrayal of the invasion of Cyprus in 1974, has won the Dendy Award for best short film at the Sydney Film Festival, putting it in the running to be nominated for next year’s Academy Awards along with other cinema greats.

The Palace was written and directed by Anthony Maras, an AFI Award-winning writer, director and producer. The heart-wrenching story focuses on a Cypriot family fleeing Turkish forces who took refuge in an abandoned palace. Shot on the streets of Cyprus still showing signs of conflict, the filming experience has been just as confronting for Maras and his film crew as it has been for Cyprus citizens walking by, whose memories of the conflict would still be quite raw.

The win was not unprecedented for the critically acclaimed film. The Palace also won the Audience Award for Best Short Film during its first public screening at the 2011 Adelaide Film Festival in March.

After the announcement of the award, the Adelaide-based writer-director Maras said the film would be presented to the world as a “plea for peace” and to serve as a cautionary tale against war.