Miff Awards Banner 2023 V1

MIFF Awards 2023

In 2023, MIFF offered a total prize pool of over A$300,000 across a suite of six award categories. Along with the second iteration of the festival’s prestigious Bright Horizons Award, this year saw the introduction of the First Nations Film Creative Award as well as the return of the Blackmagic Design Australian Innovation Award and the Audience Award. Elsewhere, the 62nd MIFF Shorts Awards celebrated the best in short-form filmmaking, while the MIFF Schools Youth Jury named the best title from the MIFF Schools program.

Bright Horizons Award


VicScreen logo

Presented by VicScreen, the flagship Bright Horizons Award celebrates filmmakers on the ascent, as chosen from within the Bright Horizons film competition. Awarding A$140,000 to the winner, it is one of the most substantial film prizes in the world.

The 2023 recipient of this award was chosen by a distinguished jury of industry figures: jury co-presidents Saul Williams and Anisia Uzeyman, co-directors of last year’s Bright Horizons Award–winning Neptune Frost; revered documentarian Alexandre O. Philippe; former Caméra d’Or winner Anthony Chen; and Indonesian director Kamila Andini. 


Banel & Adama

Director: Ramata-Toulaye Sy
Producers: Eric Névé, Margaux Juvénal, Maud Leclair Névé

Jury Statement:
Here is a film that speaks directly to the times with a cinematic language and landscape that challenges and confronts while drawing you into its immense beauty. A mysterious and strong first film from a young filmmaker with bright horizons.

Special Jury Mention

Tótem (dir. Lila Avilés)

Other Nominees

  • Ama Gloria (dir. Marie Amachoukeli)
  • Animalia (dir. Sofia Alaoui)
  • Disco Boy (dir. Giacomo Abbruzzese)
  • Earth Mama (dir. Savanah Leaf)
  • How to Have Sex (dir. Molly Manning Walker)
  • Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (dir. Pham Thien An)
  • The Rooster (dir. Mark Leonard Winter)
  • Shayda (dir. Noora Niasari)
  • The Sweet East (dir. Sean Price Williams)

Blackmagic Design Australian Innovation Award


Blackmagic Design logo

The Blackmagic Design Australian Innovation Award recognises an outstanding Australian creative within a film playing in the MIFF program with a A$70,000 cash prize. 

The 2023 recipient of this award was chosen by the same jury as that for the Bright Horizons Award. 


Soda Jerk – co-directors

Film: Hello Dankness

Jury Statement:
A clear-eyed, sharply satirical take on one of America’s most troubling chapters, transformative use of existing footage, and groundbreaking manipulation thereof.

Other Nominees

  • Andrew Robinson (Mercy Road) – lead VFX supervisor 
  • Jeni Thornley (Memory Film) – director
  • Nathan Jurevicius (Scarygirl) – production designer

First Nations Film Creative Award


Kearney Group logo

The First Nations Film Creative Award, presented in collaboration with Kearney Group, recognises an outstanding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander creative within a film playing in the MIFF program. The recipient will be awarded a A$20,000 cash prize and A$25,000 worth of financial services with Kearney Group.  

The pool of contenders is drawn from across all film creative departments including directing, producing, screenwriting, composing, editing, cinematography, acting, production design, art direction and sound design. The prize is awarded to the creative deemed to have demonstrated excellence and commitment in their relevant craft, as selected by a film jury of three key industry personnel.

The 2023 winner was selected by a jury of celebrated Australian First Nations creatives including Yidinji, Meriam woman and esteemed actor and director Rachael Maza AM (Radiance, Cosi, Lillian’s Story); Yorta Yorta, Wurundjeri (Woiwurrung) acclaimed screen and stage practitioner and Birrarangga Film Festival Artistic Director Tony Briggs (The Sapphires, The Warriors, Force of Nature); and Yorta Yorta, Dja Dja Wurrung artist, academic and director Tiriki Onus (Ablaze, MIFF Premiere Fund 2021).


Adrian Russell Wills and Gillian Moody – co-directors

Film: Kindred

Jury Statement:
All of the films in consideration are stories of strength, country and belonging and the power of our ancestors, our families and our communities. It was a joy to undergo this process.

Other Nominees

  • John Harvey (Katele (Mudskipper)) director
  • Lelarnie Hatfield-Yasso, Aunty Nicky Hatfield and Margaret Hornagold (Generations of Men) screenwriters
  • Derik Lynch (Marungka Tjalatjunu (Dipped in Black)) – director
  • Tyson Mowarin and Mark Coles Smith (Keeping Hope) – director and featured subject
  • Douglas Watkin (Rebel With a Cause: Neville Bonner) – director

Audience Award

This Is Going to Be Big

Director: Thomas Charles Hyland 

Other Top-voted Films

  • Sunflower (dir. Gabriel Carrubba)
  • Godless: The Eastfield Exorcism (dir. Nick Kozakis)
  • Australia’s Open (dir. Ili Baré)
  • The Rooster (dir. Mark Leonard Winter)
  • Past Lives (dir. Celine Song)
  • Perfect Days (dir. Wim Wenders)
  • Birdeater (dir. Jack Clark & Jim Weir)
  • Kiss the Future (dir. Nenad Cicin-sain)
  • Late Night With the Devil (dir. Cameron & Colin Cairnes)

Click here for previous Audience Award winners.

MIFF Schools Youth Jury Award

This Is Going to Be Big

Director: Thomas Charles Hyland 

Jury Statement:
This year’s selection showcased an incredible array of films each exploring unique aspects of youth. After careful deliberation, we have chosen to award the film This Is Going to Be Big by Thomas Charles Hyland. It is an uproariously funny and moving celebration of individuality that captures the awkwardness and excitement of adolescence, and it left us more hopeful for the future. The film is a significant step forward in neurodivergent representation with its use of comedy for the purpose of empowerment rather than derision. This Is Going to Be Big tells the kind of story that will change and has already changed lives.