First Nations Film Creative Award nominees

First Nations Film Creative Award nominees and jurors announced.

27 July 2023 Read time: 2 min

Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) has today announced the nominees and jurors for the inaugural First Nations Film Creative Award, created in collaboration with Kearney Group

MIFF has proudly recognised the talents of First Nations storytellers on past titles including: Sweet As (MIFF 2022), The Drover’s Wife, The Legend of Molly Johnson  (MIFF 2021) and Bran Nue Dae (MIFF 2009). And now, the First Nations Film Creative Award transforms this commitment into formal industry recognition and a significant financial prize. The winner will receive $20,000 cash prize and $25,000 worth of financial services from Kearney Group. 


First Nations Film Creative Award nominees.


The shortlist of award contenders are drawn from across all film creative departments including directing, producing, screenwriting, composing, editing, cinematography, acting, production design, art direction and sound design.

The 2023 nominees are:

  • John Harvey Katele (Mudskipper) – Director
  • Lelarnie Hatfield-Yasso, Aunty Nicky Hatfield, and Margaret Hornagold Generations of Men Screenwriters
  • Derik Lynch  Marungka Tjalatjunu (Dipped in Black) – Co-Director
  • Adrian Russell Wills and Gillian Moody Kindred Co-Directors
  • Tyson Mowarin and Mark Coles Smith – Keeping Hope Director, Featured subject
  • Douglas WatkinRebel with a Cause: Neville Bonner – Director


Celebrated First Nations jury to pick winner.


The first-time prize will be awarded to the creative deemed to have demonstrated excellence and commitment in their relevant craft. A jury of celebrated Australian First Nations creatives will pick the winner.

The jury includes Yidinji, Meriam woman and esteemed actor and director Rachael Maza AM (Radiance, Cosi, Lillian’s Story); Yorta Yorta, Wurundjeri (Woiwurrung) acclaimed screen and stage practitioner and Birrarangga Film Festival Artistic Director, Tony Briggs (The Sapphires, The Warriors, Force of Nature); and Yorta Yorta, Dja Dja Wurrung artist, academic and director Tiriki Onus (Ablaze, MIFF 2021).

Of the new award, Rachael Maza said; “I’m very proud and inspired by this next generation of incredible First Nation film makers. I’d like to acknowledge MIFF and Kearney Group in establishing this Award in recognition of these artists who will be our future leading storytellers. It’s an honour to be a part of the jury.” 

Congratulations to each of the extraordinary talents nominated this year,” says Paul Kearney, Founder and CEO of Kearney Group.

“We are incredibly proud to partner with MIFF and present the inaugural First Nations Film Creative Award. This award is a celebration of talent, creativity and the 65,000+ year legacy of storytelling within Australian First Nations communities. We believe in the power of storytelling and the transformative impact it can have on society. Through this partnership, we’re devoted to centring First Nations voices. And it’s our hope that, in turn and in time, it promotes a more inclusive and equitable Australia.” 

The 71st instalment of MIFF runs in-cinema from 3-20 August. You can also watch online via MIFF Play from 18-27 August.

Award winners will be announced at MIFF’s Closing Night Gala on Saturday 19 August.

You can learn more about the 2023 MIFF Awards and read more in Variety Magazine or here.


Speak to the team.