Adrian Russell Wills and Gillian Moody for Kindred

Kindred wins inaugural First Nations Film Creative Award.

19 August 2023 Read time: 2 min

The Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) has this evening announced its 2023 MIFF Award winners. The inaugural First Nations Film Creative Award, created in collaboration with Kearney Group, was presented to directors Adrian Russell Wills and Gillian Moody for Kindred.

The duo walk away with a AUD$20,000 cash prize and AUD$25,000 worth of financial services from Kearney Group.


Kindred spirits.


Kindred is an autobiographical story about the complexities of being an Aboriginal child raised in a white world. It’s also a celebration of friendship, unconditional love and resilience; a tribute to Indigenous strength, courage and sovereignty.

Adrian Russell Wills, a Wonnarua man, and Gillian Moody, a Wodi Wodi woman, have been best friends for more than two decades. When they first met, these kindred spirits felt a connection that they’ve described as “cosmic”. Part of their unshakable bond has been their similar life experiences – both were adopted into white families in Sydney’s northern suburbs – and, later in life, a shared desire to reconnect with their bloodlines.

In this intimate film, Wills and Moody document their emotional searches for belonging.

Kindred is their first collaboration as co-directors.


Jury applauds stories of strength, Country and belonging. 


A jury of renowned Australian First Nations creatives selected Kindred from a pool of nominees.

Jurors include:

  • 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).

Jury representative Tiriki Onus shared the following statement: “All of the films in consideration are stories of strength, country and belonging and the power of our ancestors, our families and our communities. It was a joy to undergo this process.”

Kearney Group Founder and CEO, Paul Kearney, said: “I’m in awe of the exceptional creativity and storytelling that the inaugural First Nations Film Creative Award has brought to light. Congratulations to all the remarkable nominees. These films beckon us to envisage the very best version of Australia – one that thrives on inclusivity and unity. And moreover, a deep respect for the world’s oldest and most successful continuous culture.”


MIFF 2023 comes to a close.


In addition to the AUD$55,000 prize for the First Nations Film Creative Award, MIFF handed out $250,000 in prize money across five other categories.

Banel & Adama is winner of the flagship Bright Horizons Award, presented by VicScreen. First-time director Ramata-Toulaye Sy took home the AUD$140,000 prize.

Hello Dankness directors Soda Jerk were recognised with the Blackmagic Design Australian Innovation Award. The much-coveted MIFF Audience Award went to This Is Going to Be Big.

In-cinema sessions have come to a close for MIFF 2023. However, the festival continues online via MIFF Play until August 27th.


Speak to the team.