Adelaide Film Festival is proud to recognise excellence in screen storytelling with a host of regarded awards.

Our three prestigious juried awards (Best International Feature Fiction, Best International Documentary and Best International Virtual Reality) honour the best in show films each festival – boasting a combined prize pool of $30,000 cash – along with our audience awards, the Don Dunstan Award and the INSITE Award for screenwriting.


The 2017 Best International Feature Award went to I Am Not A Witch; the exciting feature debut of Zambia-born Welsh director Rungano Nyoni. We’re proud to say ADL Film Fest was the first Australian film festival to create a juried prize for best feature film. Our all-star jury values idiosyncratic voices, bold storytelling, creative risk-taking and overall fabulous films, like previous winners:

  • I Am Not A Witch, dir: Rungano Nyoni (France, United Kingdom, 2017)
  • Neon Bull, dir: Gabriel Mascaro (Brazil, 2015)
  • Jîn, dir: Reha Erdem (Turkey, 2013)
  • Incendies, dir: Denis Villeneuve (Canada/France, 2011)
  • Treeless Mountain, dir: So-yong Kim (USA/South Korea, 2009)
  • Still Life, dir: Jia Zhangke (China, 2006)

In 2017, the International Feature Jury included Marten Rabarts, João Pedro Rodrigues, Leena Alam, Catherine Fitzgerald and Miranda Dear.

Past juries have featured distinguished Head of the Film Office, Christian Jeune of Cannes Film Festival notable writer Lawrence WeschlerPierre Rissient, Nobel Prize-winning author J.M. CoetzeeNoah CowanNaomi Kawase and Australian legend producer Al Clark.


The Flinders University International Documentary Award celebrates distinctive factual filmmaking.

Congratulations to Taste of Cement, Ziad Kalthoum’s dreamlike documentary about the Syrian construction workers virtually imprisoned on the site of the Beirut skyscrapers they build.

Previous winners of this prestigious award were:

  • Taste of Cement, dir: Ziad Kalthoum (Germany, Syria Qatar, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, 2017)
  • Speed Sisters, dir: Amber Fares (USA/Palestine, 2015)
  • Blush of Fruit, dir: Jakeb Anhvu (Australia/Vietnam, 2013)

Michael Loebenstein, Jane Schoettle and Beck Cole comprised the Documentary Jury in 2015, following on from Joost Den HartogCherelle Zheng and Kristy Matheson in 2013.



ADL Film Fest is proud to partner with the Australian Film, Television & Radio School (AFTRS) in launching this new International Award for Virtual Reality.

Congratulations to Michelle & Uri Kranot’s Nothing Happens (Denmark, France) which won the AFTRS International VR Award in 2017.

A special mention went to Selly Raby Kane’s homage to Senegalese mythology, The Other Dakar (Senegal).

Rachel Landers, Head of Documentary at AFTRS said This year’s VR line-up in competition at Adelaide Film Festival is storytelling at it’s vibrant best – beautiful, curious and rich with infinite possibilities. I travelled to the future, changed sex and species, was trapped in an unnerving icy European landscape, sat at the feet of African muses, swam underwater with prehistoric beasts and got eaten by zombies. I also acquired a large number of very cool dance partners… some non-human. Basically awesome!”

Jury member, Google Creative Technologist Mathew Tizard said “Nothing Happens was the unanimous choice of the jurors. It’s beautifully made and shows just what can be accomplished with VR storytelling when you play to its strengths. The narrative is compelling, shifting between three viewpoints within the same scenario. The piece raises pertinent questions about observation and embodiment which are central to furthering the conversation about VR as a narrative medium. It’s a pleasure to see older animation techniques combined with the new elements that VR can offer, such as head tracking and spatial sound, both of which intensify the viewer’s sense of immersion.


We are delighted to announce the 2017 Audience Award winners:

  • Best Feature Film went to Warwick Thornton’s frontier western Sweet Country,
  • Best Documentary was awarded to Axel Grigor’s entertaining portrait of Australian film editing legend Jill Bilcock: Dancing the Invisible, and
  • Best Short Film went to Back to back Theatre’s HIVE project film Oddlands, directed by Bruce Gladwin.

The Audience Awards, presented by GU Film House, were voted by the audience following each screening in the festival.