MIFF Awards


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Bright Horizons Award 
Presented by VicScreen

Blackmagic Design logo

Blackmagic Design
Australian Innovation Award

As part of MIFF’s landmark 70th-anniversary festivities, 2022 rang in the inaugural MIFF Awards, which consisted of three prizes: the flagship A$140,000 Bright Horizons Award (presented by VicScreen), which celebrates filmmakers on the ascent; the Blackmagic Design Australian Innovation Award, recognising an outstanding Australian creative within a film playing in the MIFF program; and the Audience Award, a beloved festival favourite returning after a brief hiatus.

The MIFF Awards recipients were chosen by a distinguished jury of industry figures presided over by Jury President Shareena Clanton (Wentworth, Redfern Now), an acclaimed stage and screen actor and director. The other jury members were Emmy Award–winning filmmaker and artist Lynette Wallworth (Awavena, Tender), internationally acclaimed Australian cinematographer Adam Arkapaw (Animal Kingdom, True Detective), and Indonesian film director and screenwriter Mouly Surya (Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts). 

Film competition jury

Saul Williams (Jury Co-President) is an American poet, musician and actor, as well as the co-director, screenwriter and composer of Neptune Frost (MIFF 2022). He made his acting debut in Marc Levin’s Slam (rescreening at MIFF 2023), which he co-wrote, winning Sundance’s Dramatic Grand Jury Prize and the Cannes Camera d’Or in 1998. Williams has published five books of poetry and has released six albums of music.

Anisia Uzeyman (Jury Co-President) is a Rwandan-born actress, playwright and director, as well as the co-director and cinematographer of Neptune Frost (MIFF 2022). She made her directorial debut with Dreamstates, and she has starred in the films Tey (Aujourd’hui) and Ayiti Mon Amour. Her first book is a poetic treatment of her original screenplay Saolomea, Saolomea.

Alexandre O. Philippe’s films – which include The People vs. George Lucas, Doc of the Dead, 78/52 (MIFF 2017) and Memory – The Origins of Alien (MIFF 2019) – unpack the most influential works of master filmmakers and dissect seminal screen moments. Recent works include Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on The Exorcist, The Taking and Lynch/Oz (MIFF 2022). His latest film is You Can Call Me Bill (MIFF 2023), an intimate portrait of icon William Shatner.

With the 2007 short Ah Ma (Grandma), Anthony Chen became the first Singaporean to be awarded at Cannes; subsequently, his debut feature Ilo Ilo (MIFF 2013) was awarded the Cannes Camera d’Or. His next feature film, Wet Season (MIFF 2020), was once again lauded critically, and his latest short, The Break Away, forms part of the anthology film The Year of the Everlasting Storm (MIFF 2021). His latest features, Drift and The Breaking Ice, are screening at MIFF 2023.

Bright Horizons Award

Neptune Frost

Directors: Saul Williams & Anisia Uzeyman
Producers: Anisia Uzeyman, Ezra Miller, Maria Judice & Saul Williams

Jury Statement:
Neptune Frost was like nothing we have ever seen before. By disrupting the colonial gaze and connecting the rising influence of technology in all our lives, this film penetrates deeply into your heart and soul to say that you are not too far disconnected from me. It felt at once absolutely specific and entirely global.

Other Nominees:
Aftersun (dir. Charlotte Wells)
The Cow Who Sang a Song Into the Future (dir. Francisca Alegría)
Domingo and the Mist (dir. Ariel Escalante Meza)
Leonor Will Never Die
(dir. Martika Ramirez Escobar)
 (dir. Fran Kranz)
Petrol (dir. Alena Lodkina)
Playground (dir. Laura Wandel)
Robe of Gems (dir. Natalia López Gallardo)
(dir. Lola Quivoron)
The Stranger (dir. Thomas M. Wright)

Blackmagic Design Australian Innovation Award

Jub Clerc – directing (Sweet As)

Jury Statement:
This film was more than just ‘sweet’. It crossed worlds and intersected certain realities – incredibly difficult to achieve, even for any accomplished filmmaker.

Other Nominees:
Del Kathryn Barton (Blaze) – directing
Johanna Scott (Fire Front) – editing
Platon Theodoris (The Lonely Spirits Variety Hour) – production design
David Easteal (The Plains) – directing
Bruce Gladwin, Michael Chan, Mark Deans, Sarah Mainwaring, Simon Laherty, Scott Price & Sonia Teuven (Shadow) – screenwriting

Audience Award

Greenhouse by Joost