Winners announced for 2023 St Kilda Film Festival

SKFF-PerspectivesThe winners of Australia’s Top Short Film Competition for 2023 have been announced by St Kilda Film Festival (SKFF), Australia’s longest-running short film festival. Presented by City of Port Phillip, SKFF ran from 1 – 12 June, returning to full capacity venues for the biggest ever iteration of the Festival.

The Festival Award winners for 2023 were revealed at the St Kilda Film Festival’s Awards Ceremony at The Astor on Sunday 11 June and include:

Perspectives was awarded the prestigious Best Short Film and took home the cash prize of $10,000, courtesy of City of Port Phillip. This powerful film was also awarded Best Achievement in Screenplay, with writer Neer Shelter receiving a 12-month gold pass to Cinema Nova courtesy of the cinema, plus an Australian Writers’ Guild Member Pack and a digital copy of Final Draft provided by the AWG.

Perspectives is based on the true story of a young soldier who suspects a man on an Israeli bus of being a suicide bomber. She must now choose between the other passengers’ lives and a potentially innocent man, with the world watching via livestream.

Taking home the most awards was Mud Crab, the poignant story of a woman recounting the traumatising assault she witnessed of a young man in a small Australian coastal town. David Robinson-Smith took home Best Director for this film, which was also awarded Best Original Score by James Mountain; Best Achievement in Cinematography by Jacyln Paterson; and Best Actor for Joshua Mehmet.

The Craft Award was awarded to SUGA RUSH, an artistic, surreal escape from reality, directed and produced by Valentino Filimon, receiving a $2,000 cash prize sponsored by VicScreen.

Best Documentary went to Galup VR Experience, directed by Ian Wilkes and Poppy van Oorde-Grainger, taking home a $1,000 cash prize provided by Shaun Miller Lawyers. The immersive film is set in the heart of suburban Australia where there’s a lake with a buried history.

Aboriginal Elder Doolann-Leisha Eatts spent her life sharing the story of what really happened there. Galup VR Experience invites audiences to sit with Doolann by her fire and hear the truth.

Teacups, directed by Alec Green and Finbar Watson, was awarded Best Animation sponsored by JMC Academy, winning a one-on-one masterclass with one of JMC’s industry specialist lecturers. Voiced by Hugo Weaving, Teacups explores Don’s surreal interactions with years of suicidal individuals and his journey to reconcile the suicide of his best friend.

Best Achievement in Indigenous Filmmaking was awarded to The Lost Crystals of Jessica’s Room, directed by Gary Hamaguchi. The award was sponsored by Post Lab IO, with a $500 cash prize plus a complimentary colour grade for the filmmaker’s next project.

The St Kilda Film Festival’s industry professional judging panel consisted of Cinematographer, Ellery Ryan (Wishful Thinking starring Drew Barrymore); Producer Julie Ryan (Hotel Mumbai and Red Dog); and Filmmaker Rhianna Malezer (Thor: Ragnarok and Elvis).

“Judging the winners from more than 100 local films on show is just about the hardest thing of the entire festival” says St Kilda Film Festival Director, Richard Sowada. “The quality of works this year was as good as anything you’d see anywhere on the planet and a testament to the strength of the Australian screen sector. For the judges and I though, we’re just so proud to associated with them all. It’s a great honour.”

Now in its 39th year, St Kilda Film Festival (SKFF) is Australia’s longest-running short film festival, recognising the genre of short film, including music videos, gaming and immersive forms, celebrating some of Australia’s best local short filmmakers and screen artists. SKFF is supported by major government partners Screen Australia and VicScreen.

For more information, including full list of 2023 nominees and award-winners, visit: for details.

Image: Perspectives (supplied)