The Heiresses, the debut feature of Paraguayan filmmaker Marcelo Martinessi, won the prestigious Sydney Film Prize, out of a selection of 12 Official Competition films, at the 65th Sydney Film Festival. Winner of the Berlinale Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize for opening new perspectives and the Silver Bear for Best Actress for Ana Brun, this complex relationship drama takes an unusual look at the lives of wealthy Paraguayan families through the tribulations of a lesbian couple.
Lexus Australia Short Film Fellowship, Presented By Sydney Film Festival
Melissa Anastasi (Arncliffe, NSW) is a filmmaker committed to telling intimate character-driven stories that challenge and provoke audiences. Melissa’s short films have screened worldwide at over 40 international film festivals. As a writer, Melissa’s feature film screenplays have been shortlisted for the Sundance Lab, and previously selected for the Binger FilmLab in Amsterdam. She is currently developing the feature screenplay Bluebirds with support from Screen Australia and Screen NSW.
Sunday Emerson Gullifer (Waterloo, NSW) is an award-winning filmmaker based in Sydney. A graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts, her short film, Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, had its world premiere at Sydney Film Festival in 2017, where it was Highly Commended in the Dendy Awards, and went on to premiere internationally at Telluride Film Festival. Her work is internationally acclaimed, having won a slew of awards and two Australian Directors’ Guild Award nominations. Originally hailing from a background in theatre, she is drawn to bold stories told with heart.
Jamieson Pearce (Brunswick, VIC) is a freelance director and editor. His award-winning short films have screened at festivals around the world. Most notably, his most recent film Adult, adapted from a story by Christos Tsiolkas, screened at South by Southwest 2017. He likes stories about the stranger manifestations of human desire.
Nathan Mewett (Paddington, NSW) is a writer/director from Western Australia who has produced numerous short films, documentaries and music videos. As a young child he grew up in a remote gold mine Telfer, which resides in the Great Western Desert and has helped build his creative partnership with Martu Director Curtis Taylor with whom he co-directed Yulubidyi – Until The End, screening at Sydney Film Festival 2018. Nathan’s previous short film Sol Bunker has won over 9 awards across Australia and is a ‘proof of concept’ for a feature film of the same name. He is also currently in development of the feature film Baby which focuses on extending Nathan’s interest in working with characters and actors with disability.
Curtis Taylor (Subiaco, WA) is a filmmaker, screen artist, actor and a young Martu leader. Growing up in remote Martu desert communities and in the city, Curtis has both traditional Martu knowledge and a non-Aboriginal education. After finishing school in 2008, Curtis worked as Community Coordinator and Youth Development Officer at Martu Media (a division of Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa), where he also spent 18 months working on the major Yiwarra Kuju: The Canning Stock Route project as a filmmaker and youth ambassador. Curtis was the recipient of the 2011 Western Australian Youth Art Award and Wesfarmers Youth Scholarship. His screen work, including the acclaimed short film Mamu, has been shown in international film festivals from Brazil to Nepal. Curtis was the Director’s Attachment and is the Narrator of Emmy Award winning VR documentary Collisions.
Documentary Australia Foundation Award for Australian Documentary
Ghosthunter is the winner of the 2018 Documentary Australia Foundation Award. Sydney filmmaker Ben Lawrence was awarded the Documentary Australia Foundation Award for Australian Documentary’s $10,000 cash prize for Ghosthunter, about a Western Sydney security guard and part time ghost hunter searching for his absent father.
The Sydney-UNESCO City of Film Award
Warwick Thornton was awarded the Sydney-UNESCO City Award from Create NSW. He received a $10,000 cash prize for a trailblazing NSW-based screen practitioner whose work stands for innovation, imagination and high impact.
Dendy Awards for Australian Short Films
In 2018, The Dendy Awards for Australian Short Films saw the $7000 cash prize for the Dendy Live Action Short Award going to Second Best, directed by Alyssa McClelland. Tom Noakes’ Nursery Rhymes took out the $7000 Rouben Mamoulian Award for Best Director, with Special Mention going to Alison James’ Judas Collar. The $5000 Yoram Gross Animation Award went to Andrew Goldsmith and Bradley Slabe’s Lost and Found , with Larissa Behrendt’s Barbara receiving a Special Mention.
Event Cinemas Australian Short Screenplay Award
The Event Cinemas Australian Short Screenplay Award, a $5,000 prize for the best short screenwriting, was awarded to Indigenous screenwriter Tyson Mowarin of Undiscovered Country.