1 November 2022

The 2022 Adelaide Film Festival (AFF) has wrapped with a cracking closing night gala screening of Michael Philippou and Danny Philippou’s debut feature Talk to Me and news that the Festival has achieved a new box office and audience attendance record.

With audience attendance up 13% from the last AFF in 2020 – which was also a record result – and box office 56% up on the last pre-pandemic festival in 2018, the newly annualised Festival’s expansion into multiple venues across Adelaide has proven to be a resounding success.

At Sunday’s special screening of Talk to Me, Festival CEO & Creative Director Mat Kesting also announced the winners of the AFF Change Award, sponsored by Zambrero, and the inaugural Flinders University Short Film Prize. The Change Award and the Short Film Prize are both determined by audience vote.

Luku Ngarra, which had its World Premiere at AFF 2022, won the Change Award. Established in 2020, the Award is bestowed for positive social or environmental impact and cinema expressing new directions for humanity. The Award provides $5000 to the filmmakers of a feature film that best celebrates a desire to make change in the world.

Luku Ngarra, directed by Sinem Saban and produced by Rev Dr Djiniyini Gondarra OAM and Sinem Saban, is an unflinching, Indigenous-funded documentary on the history and culture of Arnhem Land, seen through the eyes of one of Australia’s most respected Indigenous elders and traditional lawmen, Rev Dr Djiniyini Gondarra OAM. Set mainly in the remote community of Elcho Island, the film is a timely challenge to the dominant mainstream paradigm that has failed to recognise the true value and importance of traditional Aboriginal law and culture for the wellbeing of remote communities.

The winner of the Flinders University Short Film Prize was announced as Adelaide Film Festival Investment Fund film Are You Really The Universe, directed by Tamara Hardman and starring Tilda Cobham-Hervey.

The Audience Award for Feature Fiction goes to Ribspreader, directed by Adelaide’s Dick Dale, and The Last Daughter, co-directed by Nathaniel Schmidt and Brenda Matthews, has won the Audience Award for Feature Documentary.

Previously announced were the two Jury determined awards. The AFF Feature Fiction Award 2022 was presented to Indonesian feature film Autobiography, with a $10,000 cash prize awarded to director Makbul Mubarak, and the AFF Feature Documentary Award went to The Hamlet Syndrome, with a $10,000 cash prize awarded to directors Elwira Niewiera and Piotr Rosolowski. The directors have since announced they are to donate the prize money to their film’s Ukrainian subjects, who are fighting in the war against Russia.

AFF 2022 saw the addition of new venues including the Capri Theatre, Her Majesty’s Theatre and limited presentations at Event Cinemas Marion, adding to existing venues at Palace Nova Eastend, Wallis Mitcham, Palace Nova Prospect and Odeon Semaphore with the aim of supporting screen culture across the city.

Mat Kesting, AFF CEO & Creative Director, said: “Audiences embraced the AFF 2022 program and demonstrated a clear desire to go out to the cinema. The record-breaking box office and attendance results reaffirm the desire to see films in cinemas and engage with courageous filmmaking.

“An extraordinary cross section of work from around the world was presented including a remarkable crop of new films from South Australia. We congratulate all the filmmakers.

“We are proud to have supported numerous directorial debuts within the festival – including half of the AFFIF feature investment films – Talk to Me, Carnifex, Monolith, The Last Daughter and Madeline Parry’s theatrical debut The Angels: Kickin’ Down the Door.”

Arts Minister Andrea Michaels said: “Congratulations to the entire Adelaide Film Festival team on these outstanding results. They have demonstrated that this Festival is a huge drawcard – not only for audiences – but also for film industry creatives globally.

“The AFF’s 2022 results demonstrate why the South Australian Government has decided to invest $2 million to help annualise and expand the program. Like many others, I am already looking forward to the 2023 Adelaide Film Festival.”