Sydney Film Festival Award Winners

If you have been around the website over the past two weeks you’ll notice that The Sydney Film Festival has been happening. If you would like to see some of our reviews check them out on the Links below.

As of Sunday night a jury of well-established film makers came to a decision to award the winner of the Sydney Film Prize. The Sydney Film Prize winner would be selected from the group below and be awarded $62,000:

  • Sydney Film Prize
    • Arabian Nights (Directed & Screenplay by Miguel Gomes) – WINNER
    • Black Souls (Directed by Francesco Munzi, Screenplay by Francesco Munzi, Fabrizio Ruggirello, Maurizio Braucci)
    • The Daughter (Directed & Screenplay by Simon Stone)
    • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, Screenplay by Jesse Andrews)
    • A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence (Directed & Screenplay by Roy Andersson)
    • Sherpa (Directed & Screenplay by Jennifer Peedom)
    • Strangerland (Directed by Kim Farrant, Screenplay by Fiona Seres, Michael Kinirons)
    • Tales (Directed by Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, Screenplay by Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, Farid Mostafavi)
    • Tangerine (Directed by Sean Baker, Screenplay by Sean Baker, Chris Bergoch)
    • Tehran Taxi (Directed & Screenplay by Jafar Panahi)
    • Victoria (Directed by Sebastian Schipper, Screenplay by Sebastian Schipper, Olivia Neergaard-Holm, Elke Schulz)
    • Vincent (Directed & Screenplay by Thomas Salvador)

Arabian Nights took the prize money home this year. Directed and written by Miguel Gomes, Arabian Nights is told over 3 volumes culminating in 383 minutes. Arabian Nights is described as ambitious, indignant and filled with offbeat humour, Miguel Gomes’ extraordinary new film draws on the structure of ‘Arabian Nights’ to create a vivid portrait of Portugal today. Following Tabu (SFF 2012), Gomes was anguished by the austerity measures imposed on his homeland and commissioned journalists to gather true stories from all over the country that were then fictionalised. The outcome is a heady blend of the surreal and the all too real, told in a series of thrilling segments. As Gomes says in his captivating voiceover narration: “I thought I could make a fine film, filled with wonderful and seductive stories. At the same time, I thought the film could follow… Portugal’s current miserable situation. Any muttonhead understands that, more or less skilfully, one of these two films can be made. But it’s impossible to make both at once.” Gomes has gone down that “impossible” path, and has made a singular film. It is a snapshot of his country in economic strife and a collection of riveting stories that will resonate far beyond Portugal’s borders.’

Here were the other Categories and their winners

  • Dendy Awards for Australian Short Films
    • Cherokee (Directed & Screenplay by Jem Rankin)
    • Death in Bloom (Directed & Screenplay by Dael Oates)
    • Ernie Biscuit (Directed & Screenwriter by Adam Elliot)
    • Grace Under Water (Directed by Anthony Lawrence, Screenplay by Chrissie McMahon)
    • Markers (Directed by Rhett Wade-Ferrell, Screenplay by Rhett Wade-Ferrell, Will Howarth)
    • The Orchestra (Directed by Mikey Hill, Screenplay by Mikey Hill, Jennifer Smith)
    • Red Rover (Directed & Screenplay by Brooke Goldfinch)
    • A Single Body (Director & Screenplay by Sotiris Dounoukos) – WINNER
    • The Story of Percival Pilts (Directed & Screenplay by Janette Goodey, John Lewis)
    • Whispers Among Wolves (Directed & Screenplay by Kevin Lim)


  • Documentary Australia Foundation Award for Australian Documentary
    • The Bolivian Case (Directed by Violeta Ayala)
    • The Cambodian Space Project (Directed by Marc Eberle)
    • Freedom Stories (Directed by Steve Thomas)
    • Gayby Baby (Directed by Maya Newell)
    • The Lost Aviator (Directed by Andrew Lancaster)
    • Only the Dead (Directed by Bill Guttentag, Michael Ware) – WINNER
    • Songlines on Screen
      • Bulunu Milkarri (Directed by Sylvia Nulpinditj)
      • Tjawa Tjawa (Directed by Mark Moora)
      • Footprints (Directed by Cornel Ozies)
      • Goorrandaling: Brolga Dreaming (Directed by Ju Ju Wilson)
      • Naji (Directed by Kimberley West)
      • Wurray (Directed by Keith Lapulung)
    • Tyke Elephant Outlaw (Directed by Susan Lambert)
    • Wide Open Sky (Directed by Lisa Nicol)
    • Women He’s Undressed (Directed by Gillian Armstrong)


  • Event Cinemas Australian Short Screenplay Award
    • Bluey (Directed by Darlene Johnson) – WINNER
    • Cherokee (Directed & Screenplay by Jem Rankin)
    • Death in Bloom (Directed & Screenplay by Dael Oates)
    • Ernie Biscuit (Directed & Screenwriter by Adam Elliot)
    • Goodnight Sweetheart (Directed by Bec Peniston-Bird)
    • Karroyul (Directed by Kelrick Martin)
    • Maap Mordak (Directed by Dot West)
    • Man Real (Directed by Tracey Rigney)
    • Markers (Directed by Rhett Wade-Ferrell, Screenplay by Rhett Wade-Ferrell, Will Howarth)
    • Nulla Nulla (Directed by Dylan River)
    • On Stage (Directed by Benjamin Southwell)
    • Red Rover (Directed & Screenplay by Brooke Goldfinch)
    • Slingshot (Directed by David Hansen)
    • The Drover’s Boy (Directed by Margaret McHugh)
    • The Guests (Directed by Shane Danielsen)
    • The Orchestra (Directed by Mikey Hill, Screenplay by Mikey Hill, Jennifer Smith)
    • Under Skin, In Blood (Directed by Larissa Behrendt)
    • You Turn (Directed by Ryan Griffen)

The Festival turned out to be a great success for all involved. New South Wales Deputy Premier and Minister for the Arts Troy Grant said “The NSW Government has been proud to support the Sydney Film Festival. This year’s festival opened and closed with feature films produced in N.S.W. and enthralled audiences with more than 250 films over 12 days, reinforcing Sydney’s role as a global creative hub.”

Lord Mayor Clover Moore echoed these sentiments saying “This year’s Sydney Film Festival was another hugely enjoyable triumph. With more than 300 screenings of the best local and international cinema, we’ve seen the world through the eyes of some of the most exciting directors, screenwriters and cinematographers.”

Finally, the Sydney Film Festival CEO Leigh Small congratulated the success of the “12-day Festival, and the eighth consecutive year of growth in attendance.” He continued on by saying that “this year we welcomed over 176,000 people to screenings, events and talks.”

Article by Daniel Clements

Twitter: @clemo_24 or @NovastreamAU

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