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Sydney World Film Festival announces 2020 award winners

The 2020 Sydney World Film Festival featured a great selection of 42 films – from narrative films to documentaries, from experimental to music videos – hailing from Australia and around the world. However, this year's edition turned out a bit different than foreseen. With COVID-19 sweeping the globe, unfortunately the physical event was made quite impossible.


The SWFF team is very happy to confirm that the entire 2020 selection will be screened for the public during the spring of 2021, alongside next year's official selection.



In the meantime, the jury members have not been sitting still, but have been viewing each film and casting their votes. Today, the Sydney World Film Festival announced the 2020 award winners.


The prize for Best Narrative Feature Film went to ASYMMETRY (SERBIA) BY MAŠA NEŠKOVIĆ. A girl and a boy. A young woman and a young man. A middle-aged couple separating. The summer is boiling hot, streets of Belgrade are empty, stories of three couples intertwine almost randomly. As the narrative unfolds, a larger picture of only one couple emerges - one couple in three key stages of their life.

CENTURY OF SMOKE (BELGIUM) BY NICOLAS GRAUX received the award for Best Documentary Feature Film. Laosan, a young family man, spends all his time smoking opium. For his community, lost in the heart of the Laotian jungle, opium farming is the only way to survive. But opium is also the poison that puts men to sleep and kills their desires.

Best Narrative Short Film went to FIFTEEN (UNITED KINGDOM) BY PEIMAN ZEKAVAT. In it, a private video of a teenage girl, Maria, goes viral during a volleyball class in a high school in Lima.

PAIN IS MINE (AUSTRALIA) BY FARSHID AKHLAGHI was awarded with Best Documentary Short Film. One day, One room, One take. After her spinal surgery, she was always in pain, intense pain, unendurable pain. Painkillers have been her refuge for a long time, but one day, she decided to stop.

The prize for Best Experimental Film went to EMBRACE; A RIVER RUNS THROUGH (AUSTRALIA) BY OPHELIA BAKOWSKI. Bakowski performs a queering ceremony for the unseen and unheard: a healing act of letting go. In Embrace; A river runs through, the remedy of a river to washes over them, through them and with them, allowing for oneness and a cosmic communion. The river’s force nourishes a rite of passage, a queer baptism, a bath of transcendence and a pool of reflection, in order to let go of the confines of ones skin.

Best Animated Film was awarded to FLOOD (GERMANY) BY MALTE STEIN. A dirty lake bursts its banks and begins to flood the town. At last there´s a good reason to keep the son at home. But in isolation, nightmarish associations start to mix with reality. And whilst outside the world sinks peacefully under water,

a domestic apocalypse rages inside.


Best Underground Film: The Caged (United States) by Cody Chan. Boredom and materialism conquer human identity.


Best Music Video went to TELL ME YOUR SECRETS (JAPAN) BY JUNICHI KAGAMI. Fashion requires not only hair and makeup and costumes, but also dance, masks, and music to stimulate the mind.


Finally, to conclude this year's awards, the prize for Best Australian Film went to ON BY JELENA SINIK. In our age of attention scarcity, ‘On’ explores just where our gaze is falling. Take a curious and playful glimpse into both the connectedness and enduring loneliness of the modern condition, through this intimate and unexamined lens.

We hope you stay healthy and safe, and are looking forward to seeing you all next year for a double edition of the Sydney World Film Festival!

© 2019 by Tarkovski Ltd.