A life-affirming celebration of the power of music to uplift and unite has taken out PIAF’s 2017 Golden Deckchair. The Music of Strangers was voted the audience favourite after a stellar Lotterywest Festival Film season at UWA Somerville and ECU Joondalup Pines. This triumphant film from Morgan Neville, the director of Oscar-winner 20 Feet from Stardom (PIAF 2014), focuses on famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma and musicians from the Silk Road Ensemble. Yo-Yo Ma established the ensemble as a bridge between cultures with a vision of music as an international language of hope in the face of global anxieties. The ever-changing group of musicians from countries including Iran, Spain, Syria and China each bring something wonderful to the mix. 'We are so happy that our film’s message reached all the way to Perth,' Neville said. 'This is a film about how connected we can all be through culture. The news that we’ve won the award means we’ve all gotten a little bit closer.' Lotterywest Festival Films Program Manager Tom Vincent said The Music of Strangers represented many things that the Perth International Arts Festival stood for. 'The film is a joyful and extremely necessary reminder that collaborating, and learning through art is beautiful, vital, and brings real benefits to us as individuals and as a collective,' Vincent said. 'I feel very happy that Morgan Neville’s film, the very final film in our program, has been so well received, and I hope it went some way to summing up our audiences’ 2017 PIAF experience. Big congratulations to Morgan, to Yo-Yo Ma, and to all members of the Silk Road Ensemble.' With more than 13,000 votes cast, The Music of Strangers scored 961 of a possible 1,000 points. Irish director John Butler’s Handsome Devil was a narrow runner-up with 922 and Erik Poppe’s Norwegian war drama The King’s Choice was in third place with 899. This is the third year running that a documentary has won the Golden Deckchair audience award after Sherpa: Trouble on Everestin 2016 and The Salt of the Earth in 2015. The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble is available on DVD through Madman Entertainment on 3 May.