5 Feb 2023 By AWAY IN STYLE


Filmmakers from across Australia and around the world have just weeks to finalise their submissions to become eligible for a record prize pool worth over $150,000 at one of the longest-running and most prestigious Film Festivals in the world – Sydney Film Festival.

As the Festival celebrates its 70th birthday in cinemas from 7—18 June 2023, SFF is offering the largest-ever prize pool in its history, including doubling the prize for Best Australian Documentary from $10,000 to $20,000, thanks to support from Documentary Australia and the introduction of The Event Cinemas Rising Talent Award worth $7,000 targeted towards early career film creatives.

The Sustainable Future Award, in only its third year, has also increased its prize money up to $40,000 awarded to a film that deepens our knowledge and awareness of the impact of the global climate emergency. The Sustainable Future Award is made possible by a syndicate of passionate climate activists, led by Amanda Maple-Brown.

Filmmakers have until the 24th of February to get their submissions in through Film Freeway for international and Australian productions, the Dendy Awards for Australian Short Films, and the Documentary Australia Award.

Filmmakers should not miss out on a chance to be part of the Festival’s 70th birthday – screening in venues across Sydney.  The Festival is planning an epic program of features, documentaries and short films from Australia and around the world, by some of the most exciting and relevant storytellers.

Short filmmakers can enter the Festival’s Australian short film competition – the oldest of its category in Australia – running since 1970. The competition has served as a launch pad for emerging Australian film talent, spring-boarding countless directors, producers and actors to international success.

Filmmakers who win the Festival’s Dendy Awards for Australian Short Films, and those who win the Documentary Australia Award, are eligible to submit to the Oscars, as these competitions are officially recognised as qualifying awards by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Film creatives with films selected for SFF’s short film awards, with no more than five short film credits, are also in the running for the Festival’s newest prize addition – The Event Cinemas Rising Talent Award worth $7,000.  Directors, producers, cast and crew new to the festival circuit go to the top of the list in consideration for this brand-new award.

Entries are open to features, documentaries and short films in all categories of the Festival program, including for:

Competitive sections:

  • Documentary Australia Award acknowledging excellence in Australian documentary production ($20,000).
  • Sustainable Future Award for a narrative or documentary film of any length that deepens our knowledge and awareness of the impact of the global climate emergency ($40,000).
  • Dendy Awards for Australian Short Films, prizes are;
    • Dendy Live Action Short Award for best Australian short film ($7,000)
    • Rouben Mamoulian Award for best Australian short film director ($7,000)
    • Yoram Gross Animation Award for best Australian animated short film ($5,000)
    • AFTRS Craft Award for demonstrated excellence by a craft practitioner in an Australian short film. ($7,000)
    • The Event Cinemas Rising Talent Award ($7,000)

Any length, open to Australian and international productions:

  • Screenability Program. We also welcome entries of any length to the festival’s Screenability program from film creatives living with disability.
  • First Nations Program. We encourage submissions (features, documentaries and shorts) to the festival from First Nation filmmakers from around the world.

Open to Features (over 40 minutes):

  • Australian Features (Fiction)
  • International Features (Fiction and Documentary)

Open to Australian and international short films (under 15 minutes): :

  • FLUX: Art+Film International Shorts
  • Freak Me Out International Shorts
  • Family International Shorts

All feature-length films may also be considered for inclusion in the FIAPF-recognised Official Competition and compete for the Sydney Film Prize ($60,000) awarded for audacious and cutting-edge filmmaking.

The Dendy Awards for Australian Short Films and the Documentary Australia Award for Best Australian Documentary competition are open exclusively to Australian productions.

Before entering, filmmakers should review the submission requirements closely, to ensure their entries meet premiere status and broader eligibility requirements. A small fee applies.

Head to https://www.sff.org.au/about/submissions for full eligibility criteria and submission details.