Awards and Jury

A number of awards are presented during the Sydney Film Festival, reflecting our commitment to quality cinema.

10th ANNIVERSARY OF THE OFFICIAL COMPETITION AND SYDNEY FILM PRIZE

The Official Competition celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2017, marking a decade of awarding the Sydney Film Prize to each year’s most 'audacious, cutting-edge and courageous' film. The competition is endorsed by FIAPF, the regulating body for international film festivals, and is judged by a jury of five international and Australian filmmakers and industry professionals. The $60,000 cash prize is presented at SFF’s Closing Night ceremony, and in 2017 a jury of five international and Australian filmmakers and industry professionals selected On Body and Soul, directed by Ildikó Enyedito receive the Sydney Film Prize.

DOCUMENTARY AUSTRALIA FOUNDATION AWARD FOR AUSTRALIAN DOCUMENTARY

This prize is supported by Documentary Australia Foundation with a $10,000 cash prize acknowledging excellence in documentary production. Up to 10 films of any length are selected for the competition, and the jury awards the cash prize at SFF’s Closing Night ceremony. At the 2017 Sydney Film Festival, the $10,000 cash prize was awarded to Sascha Ettinger Epstein and Claire Haywood for The Pink House.

LEXUS AUSTRALIA SHORT FILM FELLOWSHIP

Established in 2015, the Lexus Australia Short Film Fellowship is the largest cash fellowship for short film in Australia, providing a new platform to support emerging filmmakers. Up to four Fellows each year receive $50,000 each to produce their next short film, which premieres at the Sydney Film Festival the following year. The Fellowship is funded by Lexus Australia and managed and presented by Sydney Film Festival. At the 2018 Sydney Film Festival, Fellows Emily Avila, Goran Stolevski, Lara Kose and Thomas Baricevic will premiere their new films funded by the Lexus Australia Short Film Fellowship.

DENDY AWARDS FOR AUSTRALIAN SHORT FILMS

The Sydney Film Festival also hosts the Dendy Awards for Australian Short Films, celebrating the craft of short filmmaking in Australia. The Dendy Live Action Short Award, sponsored by Dendy Cinemas, provides a $7,000 cash prize to the best Australian short film, and winners are Academy Award eligible. The Rouben Mamoulian Award, sponsored by Dendy Cinemas and named after the director who first presented the award in 1974, also provides a $7,000 cash prize to the best Australian short film director. And the Yoram Gross Animation Award, sponsored by Sandra and Guy Gross in memory of the late Yoram Gross, provides a $5,000 cash prize to the best Australian animated short film (and winners are Academy Award eligible).

At the 2017 Sydney Film Festival, the Dendy Live Action Short Award was awarded to Adele, directed and written by Mirene Igwabi, while Sunday Emerson Gullifer was Highly Commended for her short film Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow. Daniel Agdag's animation Lost Property Office cleaned up, by taking out both the $7000 Rouben Mamoulian Award for Best Director and the $5000 Yoram Gross Animation Award.

EVENT CINEMAS AUSTRALIAN SHORT SCREENPLAY AWARD

The Event Cinemas Australian Short Screenplay Awards, sponsored by Event Cinemas, provides a $5,000 cash prize for the best short screenwriting. All Australian short fiction films screening in the festival are eligible for this award. The 2017 Event Cinemas Australian Short Screenplay Award was awarded to Michael Cusack, the writer and director of stop motion animation After All, while the writers of Screenability short film The Milky Pop Kid, Johanna Garvin and Emily Dash, were Highly Commended.

THE SYDNEY, UNESCO CITY OF FILM AWARD 

This annual award recognises a trailblazing NSW-based screen practitioner whose work stands for innovation, imagination and high impact. Create NSW awards a $10,000 cash prize to the winner at SFF’s Closing Night ceremony. The 2017 winner was Leah Purcell.

FOXTEL MOVIES AUDIENCE AWARDS

Lastly, the Foxtel Movies Audience Awards are SFF’s people’s choice awards, and the winners reflect the most popular films at the Festival. After each screening, audience members are invited to rate the film. Two audience awards are presented: one for best narrative feature and one for best documentary. The winners are announced the week after the festival. And everyone who votes in the Foxtel Movies Audience Awards will go in the running to win a Remastered Aeron Chair, thanks to Herman Miller! The 2017 Foxtel Movies Audience Award for Best Feature was Ali's Wedding by Jeffrey Walker and the 2017 Foxtel Movies Audience Award for Best Documentary was Roller Dreams by Kate Hickey.

All Sydney Film Festival Award winners are presented with the Festival's signature mesmeric swirl award, designed and handmade in Sydney by our partners Louise Olsen and Stephen Ormandy of Dinosaur Designs.