MIFF features one of the most highly regarded short film competitions in the Southern Hemisphere. In 2016 the eligible short films competed for a total cash prize pool of $42,000:
Congratulations to all the winners of the 55th MIFF Shorts Awards:
City of Melbourne Grand Prix for Best Short Film
Director – Aggelos Papantoniou
Producer – Mark Lycette
Jury Statement: In just over four minutes Aggelos Papantoniou elicits a wide range of feelings and reactions. He makes us laugh, shocks us, and leaves us breathless with the thrilling inventiveness and creativity of Mrs. Metro. We’ve all taken public transport and can instantly recognise the characters on screen, but they’re made larger – or smaller – than real life with skewed angles and distorted bodies. An outstanding film that marks Papantoniou as an exciting new voice in Australian animation.
Film Victoria Erwin Rado Award for Best Australian Short Film
Director – Mirrah Foulkes
Producer – Alex White
Jury Statement: Trespass is a superb example of the power of cinema to examine the strange motivations of human character. The performances are evocative and authentic – without any exposition the viewer creates their own story around both characters. Mirrah Foulkes has made a beautiful and moving film that resonates deeply, one that seamlessly combines moments of levity and darkness with maturity and elegance. Watching Trespass is a deceptively emotional experience.
Swinburne Award for Emerging Australian Filmmaker
For – Slapper
Producers – Luci Schroder, Jason Byrne, Michael Latham, Stephanie Westwood
Jury Statement: Slapper is a film of high ambition and confident execution. Luci Schroder has deftly created a visually striking story of the everyday battles of a young working-class woman, but its real brilliance lies in the twists and turns of human interaction. Slapper leaves you gasping in shock. Schroder is clearly a filmmaker with a shrewd understanding of character and story. It is the mark of a real talent to surprise and move an audience as this film does.
Cinema Nova Award for Best Fiction Short Film
In the Year of Monkey
Director/Producer – Wregas Bhanuteja
Jury Statement: In The Year of Monkey explores power, poverty and colonisation through the simple plot device of a sexual game played for high stakes. It is to be commended on its superb casting of native Indonesian faces, its disturbing but always on point display of nudity, and its carefully crafted mix of tension and humour, all culminating in an unexpected and powerful ending. This is a deceptively simple yet brilliant plotted film that remains in the memory long after viewing.
SAE Award for Best Animation Short Film
Director/Producer – Kangmin Kim
Jury Statement: A rite of passage like no other, Kangmin Kim’s beautiful design and stop-motion animation marries perfectly with intricate sound design and music delivering a hypnotic tale of a family’s trip to boost the health of their son. With the young boy as our point of view, we are as uncertain and trepidatious as he is of the destination, but with the intrepid and assured hand of Kim we are taken on a bold cinematic journey of the senses.
RMIT University for Best Documentary Short Film
Director – Rongfei Guo
Producers – Rongfei Guo, Kit Chung
Jury Statement: Fairy Tales deals with media and the fashion industry’s commodification of that rarest of talents – a true original working in isolation, producing outsider art. Yet it does this with great nuance, depth and genuine heart; and without being didactic or saccharine. While the narrative impetus of the film is character-driven (focusing on the charming ‘Fairy’) it also encompasses wider issues of class, culture, race, gender, the role of social media and the value of creativity in a contemporary society driven by market values.
Melbourne International Film Festival Award for Best Experimental Short Film
Director – Cyprien Gaillard
Producers – Simone Manwarring, Sprüth Magers
Jury Statement: Illuminating, hypnotising and electrifying, Nightlife sticks in the brain for days. The stunning visuals brilliantly evolve before our eyes, transforming from the everyday to the alien and back again and the filmmaker demonstrates an impeccable understanding of sonic and visual craft as they seamlessly bring the viewer to see the world through fresh eyes. Nightlife is the unforgettable realisation of the extraordinary ordinariness of 'still' life around us.