25 October 2022
THE HAMLET SYNDROME director Elwira Niewiera, 2022 Documentary Award Winner

The Adelaide Film Festival (AFF) has this evening announced the winners of the 2022 AFF Feature Fiction and Feature Documentary competitions.

The winner of the AFF Feature Fiction Award is the Indonesian feature film Autobiography, with a $10,000 cash prize awarded to director Makbul Mubarak.

Autobiography is a political thriller which tells of young Kib who, with his father in prison and his brother working abroad, works as the housekeeper in an empty mansion belonging to a retired general. The old soldier returns home to start his mayoral election campaign and make the short but all-too-familiar transition from the military to political life, becoming a sinister and controlling father figure to the young man. The general is pushing forward a hydro-electric development project that will see many local farmers lose their land. He will not stand for any opposition and Kib is inevitably drawn into an escalating chain of violence. This simmering political thriller marks the feature debut of one of Indonesia’s leading critics and won wide acclaim on its premiere at Venice.

Makbul Mubarak is an Indonesian film critic-turned-filmmaker. A Berlinale Talents and Asian Film Academy alumni, his short films have been shown and awarded widely at festivals such as the Thai Short Film & Video Festival, Singapore International Film Festival, and Festival Film Indonesia, the Academy Awards of Indonesia. Autobiography is his debut feature

The winner of the AFF Feature Documentary Award is The Hamlet Syndrome with a $10,000 cash prize awarded to director Elwira Niewiera.

The film follows, in the months leading up to the full-scale Russian invasion, five young Ukrainians preparing to stage a theatre production combining the core themes of Hamlet with their combat experiences in the ongoing war between the two countries since the revolution of 2014. This confronting yet crucial observational documentary captures with raw immediacy the testimony of a generation caught in the eye of the cyclone of history.  Professional costume designers and actors who became medics and soldiers process their trauma through workshopping performances and sharing their brutal memories and physical scars. More than just therapeutic, the process is a transcendent exploration of whether to love or to hate, to forgive or to avenge, to live or to die.

The two Awards were determined by this year’s AFF Jury – Ali Gumillya Baker, a visual artist, performer, filmmaker and academic, South Australian producer Lisa Scott (The Tourist, A Sunburnt Christmas), Samoan-born New Zealand director Tusi Tamasese (The Orator 2011 Venice Orizzonti;  One Thousand Ropes 2017 Berlinale – Panorama), film critic and author Luke Buckmaster, and Jim Kolmar, who programs for SXSW, Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival, and was a founding committee member of Festival Internacional de Cine Tulum (FICTU).

In announcing their decisions, the Jury said: “The jury was blown away by a central performance that anchors an atmosphere of feverish intensity and exquisite detail to explore a legacy of state violence and the attendant traumas that echo down through the generations.

“An assured debut film, the feature fiction competition award goes to Makbul Mubarak’s AUTOBIOGRAPHY.”

In announcing the AFF Feature Documentary Award, the Jury said: “Poised at the intersection of theatre and cinema, using performative expression as a restorative process to contemplate grief, trauma and the harrowing realities of war, this deeply brave film is intimately tuned to the creative and personal journeys of the cast and crew of a production of Hamlet. To this day these performers continue to fight for the freedom of Ukraine. The jury award for best documentary feature goes to THE HAMLET SYNDROME.

“We are honoured to present this award to the director Elwira Niewiera who is with us tonight.”

The Hamlet Syndrome screens one final time at AFF22. Purchase tickets here.

Autobiography also has one last screening. Purchase tickets here.


The six films vying for the Feature Fiction Award were:

Autobiography, director Makbul Mubarak; producer Yulia Evina Bhara

Heusera, director Michelle Garza Cervera; producer Paulina Villavicencio, Edher Campos

War Pony, directors Riley Keough and Gina Gammell; producer Bert Hamelinck

Metronom, director Alexandru Belc; producers Cătălin Mitulescu, Ruxandra Slotea, Viorel Chesarua, Martine Vdalenc, Emmanuel Quillet

Whina, directors James Napier Robertson and Paula Whetu Jones; producers Matthew Metcalfe, Tanui Stephens

Klondike, director Maryna Er Gorbach; producers Maryna Er Gorbach, Sviatoslav Bulakovskyi, Mehmet Bahadir Er.


The six feature documentaries in the AFF Feature Documentary Award were:

The Hamlet Syndrome, director Elwira Niewiera, Piotr Rosolowski; producers Magdalena Kaminska, Agata Szymanska, Andreas Bank, Matthias Miegel, Robert Thalheim

Sansón and Me, director Rodrigo Reyes, Inti Cordera, Su Kim, Rodrigo Reyes.

Fledglings, director Lidia Duda; producer Anna Blawut-Mazurkiewicz

Dos Estaciones, director Juan Pablo Gonzalez; producer Jaimie Gonçalves

Hidden Letters, director Violet Du Feng, Zhao Qing; producers Violet Du Feng, Mette Cheng Munthe-Kaas, Su Kim, Jean Tsien

The Plains, director David Easteal, producer David Easteal


The 2022 Adelaide Film Festival continues until October 30.