Winners announced for St Kilda Film Festival 2024

SKFF-The-Dancing-Girl-and-The-Balloon-ManSt Kilda Film Festival (SKFF) has announced the winners of Australia’s Top Short Film Competition for 2024. Presented by City of Port Phillip, Australia’s longest-running short film festival celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. The 2024 festival ran from 6 – 16 June, setting new records for number of films screened and received.

The 2024 Festival Award winners were revealed at the St Kilda Film Festival’s Awards Ceremony at The Alex Theatre on Sunday 16 June and include:

The prestigious Best Short Film Award, courtesy of City of Port Phillip, was awarded to The Dancing Girl and The Balloon Man, which took home the cash prize of $10,000. This film was also recognised in the Best Achievement in Screenplay category, for Director David Ma.

The film follows a romance blooming between a dim sum shop assistant and a street performer in Chinatown, who carries them in the safety of his balloon on a rainy night.

Also recognised in multiple categories is the film Yeah the Boys which took home the Innovation Award, which included a $2,000 cash prize from VicScreen, as well as Best Original Score for The Avalanches.

Yeah the Boys follows six young Aussie men as they sink beers over an afternoon and well into the night. Emoting only through movement; lewd gestures, chokeholds, crowd surfs, and chugging shoeys, they somehow say everything without uttering a single word.

Best Documentary was awarded to Marungka Tjalatjunu (Dipped in Black). The film follows Yankunytjatjara man Derik Lynch’s road trip back to Country (Aputula), as memories from his childhood return. The film was awarded a $1,000 cash prize from Shaun Miller Lawyers .

Best Director went to Annelise Hickey for Hafekasia story about Mona, a 10-year-old Tongan-Australian girl who begins to realise she’s different to her single white mum and family. Annelise took home a $1,000 cash prize from Brollie.

Bird Drone took home Best Animation for its heartfelt story of unrequited love explored through a lonely seagull struggling to accept that his newfound object of affection is a human-operated drone with a limited battery life. The film was awarded a $1,000 cash prize from Hunt & Hunt Lawyers.

Best Achievement in Indigenous Filmmaking went to Katele (Mudskipper). Directed by John Harvey, the film was awarded a $500 cash prize from Post Lab IO. The judges also awarded a special Judges’ Commendation in this category, to Marlu Man.

Accredited by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the St Kilda Film Festival is an Academy Awards® qualifying event, with award-winning films from the Australia’s Top Short Films Competition eligible for consideration in the Short Film Awards and Documentary Short sections of the Oscars®.

The Top Short Films Awards were judged by a panel of industry professionals, with the 2024 judging panel including Cinematographer Ellery Ryan (Wishful Thinking starring Drew Barrymore), Filmmaker Rhianna Meltzer (Thor: Ragnarok and Elvis) and Film Critic Nadine Whitney (Golden Globe Awards Voting Member).

“Given the standard of the 2024 program, this year’s judging pushed the judge’s argumentative and critical skills to the limit,” says Festival Director Richard Sowada. “And it was so much fun! We’re all very proud of the selections and the filmmakers behind them.”

For more information about the St Kilda Film Festival, visit: for details.

Image: The Dancing Girl and The Balloon Man – courtesy of St Kilda Film Festival

2024 St Kilda Film Festival Winner and Nominees:

Best Original Score

  • Erzi 
  • Small 
  • We Used to Own Houses 
  • Yeah the Boys (winner – The Avalanches)

Best Achievement in Sound Post-Production:  

  • 14 in February 
  • Earwax (winner – Martin Gallagher and James Tate)
  • Say 
  • Threshold 

Best Achievement in Editing:

  • 14 in February (winner – Lily Davis)
  • Dusty 
  • Gorgo 
  • Marungka Tjalatjunu (Dipped in Black) 

Best Achievement in Screenplay:

  • Cold Water 
  • Hafekasi 
  • Lean in  
  • Marlu Man  
  • The Dancing Girl and The Balloon Man (winner – David Ma)

Best Achievement in Indigenous Filmmaking:

  • Just Beneath the Surface 
  • Katele (Mudskipper) (winner)
  • Marlu Man 
  • My Journey

Judges’ Commendation for Best Achievement in Indigenous Filmmaking:

  • Marlu Man

Best Achievement in Cinematography:

  • Gorgo
  • Katele {Mudskipper} (winner – Dan Macarthur)
  • Miriam
  • Yeah the Boys

Best Young Actor:

  • Amelia Kroehnert (14 in February)
  • Izabelle Tokava (Hafekasi)
  • Shaelyn Connor (Linda 4 Eva)
  • Will Wiseman (Miriam) (winner)

Best Actor:

  • Kartanya Maynard (Lean In) (winner)
  • Luke Jai McIntosh (Esperance to Fremantle)
  • Clarence Ryan (Marlu Man)
  • Robyn Liu (The Dancing Girl and The Balloon Man)

Best Animation:

  • A Robot’s Dream 
  • Bird Drone (winner) 
  • Body Says, No 
  • The Pansy of Pickadee 

Best Documentary:

  • Kala Kunbolk (Colour Country) 
  • Marungka Tjalatjunu (Dipped in Black) (winner)
  • Patricia in the Dark 
  • Pressure and Release 

Best Director:

  • Victoria Singh Thompson (14 in February)
  • Joanna Joy (Generations of Men)
  • Annelise Hickey (Hafekasi) (winner)
  • David Ma (The Dancing Girl and The Balloon Man)

Innovation Award:

  • Linda 4 Eva 
  • Salt Dreams 
  • We Used to Own Houses 
  • Yeah the Boys (winner)

Best Short Film:

  • The Dancing Girl and The Balloon Man (winner)
  • Hafekasi 
  • Katele (Mudskipper) 
  • We Used to Own Houses 

Under the Radar presented by FReeZA Best Youth Short Film Award:

  • A Spell to Grow a Tree
  • Kotoba (winner)
  • The Philosophy of Love
  • Sunlit Skies (and the Honey-Eyed Painter)