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MIFF 53rd Shorts Awards Winners

MIFF features one of the most highly regarded short film competitions in the Southern Hemisphere. In 2014 the eligible short films competed for a total cash prize pool of $42,000. All prize-winning shorts were announced at the awards ceremony on Sunday 10 August.

City of Melbourne Grand Prix for Best Short Film

The Queen
Director/Producer – Manuel Abramovich

Jury statement: Intimate, confronting and utterly mesmerising, The Queen is equal parts beautiful and unnerving. As the challenging realities of Memi’s world are revealed, the film is often difficult to watch yet the sumptuousness of its images makes it impossible to look away. Abramovich’s approach – especially the tight frame and unwavering gaze – present his subject with seductive honesty and breathtaking intimacy. This is compelling, hold-your-breath filmmaking; a triumph of style and grace.

Film Victoria Erwin Rado Award for Best Australian Short Film

Grey Bull
Director – Eddy Bell
Producer – Khoby Rowe

Jury statement: The heart-warming and funny Grey Bull succeeds on multiple levels through its simplistic, yet universal storytelling execution. Blending cultural differences with colloquialism as the key backdrop ensures pure engagement from start to finish. Whilst the performances are all convincing, it is writer / director Eddy Bell who masterfully conveys a sense of patriotism, family and sacrifice ... without falling into the trap of creating a contrived and predictable piece. 

Swinburne Award for Emerging Australian Filmmaker

Ben Briand
For – Blood Pulls a Gun
Producers –Matt Dooley, Serena Paull, Dave Gross

Jury statement: Thriller / Drama Blood Pulls A Gun is a solid short, which is best experienced on a large-format screen to appreciate the sensuous cinematography by talented DOP Jeremy Rouse. The entire production oozes that tantalising sense of possibility and adventure just out of reach that comes with teetering on the tipping point of adulthood. Odessa Young as Alice is mesmerising and director Ben Briand's distinctive style leaves the audience yearning for more. 


Cinema Nova Award for Best Fiction Short Film

Océan
Director – Emmanuel Laborie
Producers – Karine Blanc and Michel Tavares

Jury statement: Emmanuel Laborie’s sundrenched and evocative short film draws on the audience’s collective memories of summers gone by to create a world where dreamy nostalgia meets an underlying sense of sadness and foreboding. With striking camera work, stunning composition and an astounding performance from it’s young lead, Océan perfectly captures the listlessness of hot summer days (and the feel of taut sunburned skin) in a moving portrait that explores much more than simply the end of one family’s summer vacation. 


SAE Award for Best Animation Short Film

Symphony No. 42
Director – Réka Bucsi
Producer – József Fülöp

Jury statement: Nothing will ever be as absurd or delightful as watching a man in a red party hat hit a penguin in the face with a cake. However this surreal, fantastical world of anthropomorphised creatures and morally devoid humans is not merely a collection of playful vignettes. As each scene unfolds, the scope and logic of Symphony No. 42’s world is revealed, along with Busci’s unique style in a beautifully realised comment on the relationship between humans and the natural world.

Melbourne International Film Festival Award for Best Documentary Short Film

The Last Days of Peter Bergmann
Director – Ciaran Cassidy
Producer – Morgan Bushe

Jury statement: Ciaran Cassidy taps the voyeur in all of us with his masterful appropriation of hours of compelling CCTV footage that track a tantalising incomplete picture of The Last Days of Peter Bergmann. Coupled with a series of compelling interviews, Cassidy manages to invert the mystery genre from whodunnit to why. Meticulously researched, this is a riveting ride that leaves the audience rooted to their seats as they act out the role of both spy and detective.

Melbourne International Film Festival Award for Best Experimental Short Film

The Dark, Krystle
Director/Producer – Michael Robinson

Jury statement: The artifice and empty gestures of gender representation in a soap opera world are twisted and replotted in this creepy appropriation of two leading female characters of the '80s. Michael Robinson‘s hypnotic film splices together the endless melodrama between Dynasty’s Krystal and Alexis in an infinite loop of meaningful looks, head tosses and dramatic chardonnay sipping. Sassily edited, and visually mesmerising, The Dark, Krystle is ridiculous and ridiculously entertaining. 

MIFF Shorts Awards Jury 2014

Ruth Morris

Ruth Morris works in film and television production. While freelancing on a range of Australian feature films and television programs, she had also produced a number of short films that have screened in competition at MIFF in previous years.

Sophie Black

Sophie Black began her career in film and TV production, before becoming deputy editor of The Reader, editor of Crikey and editor-in-chief at Private Media, as well as sitting on the advisory board for Melbourne University's Centre for Advancing Journalism.

Tony Ianiro

Tony Ianiro has worked in sales, distribution and management at Roadshow Films, and distribution at United International Pictures. He is the co-founder and director of The Backlot Films, an independent film distribution and post-production company.