MIFF Shorts Awards


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MIFF hosts one of the most highly regarded short-film competitions in both the Asia Pacific region and the Southern Hemisphere. You can read the competition’s regulations here.

The 2023 MIFF Shorts program features 11 packages and includes animation, documentary, experimental, and Australian and international fiction shorts, plus special suites of works from Canada and by famed auteurs.

Thanks to our generous Partners – especially Shorts Awards Presenting Partner Campari and Venue Partner ACMI – we are once again able to celebrate the craft of short-form cinema across several categories. The 2023 jury members are filmmaker Alena Lodkina (Petrol, MIFF Premiere Fund 2022; Strange Colours); curator and artist Kate ten Buuren; and Good Things Productions’ Head of Production and Partner, Virginia Whitwell.

Shorts Awards jury

Alena Lodkina is a Russian-born Australian filmmaker whose feature films include Strange Colours (2017) and Petrol (MIFF Premiere Fund 2022). She also writes about film, and her fiction and documentary short films have played internationally.

Kate ten Buuren is a Taungurung curator, artist and writer working on Kulin Country. Her interest in contemporary visual art, film and oral traditions is grounded in self-determination, self-representation and the power of knowing one another.

Virginia Whitwell is Head of Production and Partner at Good Thing Productions. Over a 25-year career, she has worked all over the world and has produced many award-winning scripted and factual projects including Nitram (MIFF Premiere Fund 2021), Nude Tuesday, The Australian Dream (MIFF 2019) and 2040.

Shorts Awards winners

City of Melbourne Grand Prix for Best Short Film

F1ghting Looks Different 2 Me Now

Director & Producer: Fox Maxy

Jury Statement:
Fox Maxy’s fast-paced composition of self-recorded footage mixed with found materials and animations is packed full of emotion and pop-culture references, and is uplifted by a killer soundtrack. F1ghting Looks Different 2 Me Now invites us on the filmmaker’s road trip home, encountering both conflict and moments of joy along the journey. Landscape shots, treetops, birds in flight and paddocks of cows frame disputes on the right to access traditional lands and heated accusations of trespassing. The film’s originality, upbeat energy, bravery and playful experimentation with personal and political themes excited us as judges and made this a stand-out piece.

VicScreen Erwin Rado Award for Best Australian Short Film

Katele (Mudskipper)

Director: John Harvey
Producers: Gillian Moody, John Harvey

Jury Statement:
Katele (Mudskipper) is a story about the power and pull of Country, which enables us to transcend everyday realities. The film follows Martha, who works in a laundromat, as she is guided through an alternate reality by an unexpected visitor and delivered back home. Martha’s world comes alive in vibrant colour when she steps on her homeland, lovingly enveloped in traditional song and dance – performed by Walter Waia and the Saibai Island community. The thoughtful use of lighting, sound and colour, matched with the film’s unique sci-fi themes, tells the story of one’s unbreakable connection to place and the ancestral power within.

Award for Emerging Australian Filmmaker

Annelise Hickey

Film: Hafekasi

Jury Statement:
The key part of an emerging talent award is finding a recipient who shows strong potential across many measures – Annelise Hickey’s work really excited us as a showcase for her sensitive and skilled consideration of her characters, storyworld and narrative. Hafekasi explores the dynamics of multiracial families and a child’s point of view – which must be handled carefully. Hickey succeeds in portraying Mona’s reality with tenderness and addresses challenging moments with a delicate touch – while still speaking volumes to the audience.

Award for Best Fiction Short Film

I Promise You Paradise

Director: Morad Mostafa
Producers: Margaux Lorier, Sawsan Yusuf

Jury Statement:
Morad Mostafa’s film introduces us to Eissa, a 17-year-old African migrant living in Egypt. We see his world through his point of view. I Promise You Paradise delivers such a powerful story that, after a brief glimpse, the viewer feels completely changed by what they have seen. Beautifully shot, the film is driven by an exceptional and restrained performance by its lead, Kenyi Marcellino – compelling you to never look away as the film traces his character’s impossible journey. Distinctly thought-provoking and heartbreaking, it is cinema that stays with you long after watching.

Award for Best Documentary Short Film

Marungka Tjalatjunu (Dipped in Black)

Directors: Matthew Thorne, Derik Lynch
Producers: Matthew Thorne, Patrick Graham

Jury Statement:
In Marungka Tjalatjunu (Dipped in Black), filmmakers Matthew Thorne and Derik Lynch discovered an approach to biography wholly their own. Sensitive to the exciting and at times excitingly treacherous territory between fact, memory and story, they have created a deeply moving cinematic portrait. It was a privilege to follow Lynch’s journey to Aputula, and to glimpse his past along the way, the generosity, courage and imagination with which he navigates tradition, belonging and individuality. Marungka Tjalatjunu (Dipped in Black) impressed us with the focus and frankness with which the filmmakers grapple with Australia’s colonial and political landscape, in which a bold and brave individual creates self.

Award for Best Animation Short Film


Director: Flóra Anna Buda
Producers: Emmanuel-Alain Raynal, Gábor Osváth, Pierre Baussaron

Jury Statement:
27 is an effusive, wonderfully sensual exploration of the frustrations and fantasies of a young woman. Flóra Anna Buda plunges us into a flurry of exciting images as her hilarious, droll protagonist Alice confronts the humiliation of millennial malaise against the backdrop of thrilling and somewhat sinister Budapest. Pace, colour and sound are all used with boisterous energy to collide the banality of the everyday with the wild erotic imaginings that lurk within. Imagination in this work runs wild, but the filmmaker keeps her feet on the ground with sobering concern for precarity, the housing crisis and the anxiety that engulfs young people everywhere today – an endeavour we are delighted to commend.

Award for Best Experimental Short Film


Director: Maryam Tafakory

Jury Statement:
By turns tender, funny, melancholic and disturbing, Mast-del careers in unexpected directions with simplicity and grace. This delicate work took us on a moving and surprising journey where pleasure, tragedy and violence, history and the present, sound, cinema and poetry somehow coexist – all these elements in complex dialogue with each other. We were impressed by the great care that went into researching this film, and the attention paid to texture and rhythm. Maryam Tafakory created a true dialogue with history and, through this dialogue, an insight into the tragedy of the present. We are very glad to honour this achievement.


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The MIFF Shorts Awards are Academy Awards® accredited. The 2023 winners of the Best Short Film, Best Australian Short Film, Best Documentary Short Film and Best Animation Short Film awards are eligible to submit their films for the 96th Academy Awards® in 2024.

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The MIFF Shorts program is also BAFTA Qualifying. Any British film programmed for the 2023 festival is subsequently eligible for entry in the British Short Film and British Short Animation categories of the 2024 BAFTA Film Awards. (More information here.)

See previous winners: