'Lost Boy'.

Peter Skinner’s Lost Boy was crowned Best Short Film at the St Kilda Film Festival on Saturday, winning a cash prize of $10,000.

The film, which was produced by Susannah Wolff and David Shyegun, stars Michael Sheasby (Hacksaw Ridge, The Nightingale) as a volatile bartender who shows up to work with a fresh black eye and is subsequently challenged by his boss to drop his macho persona.

Skinner previously earned an Australian Director’s Guild (ADG) Award nomination for the project.

Other winners included Jaina Kalifa and Amelia Paxman’s Lost Contact, which was awarded Best Documentary, and Gabriel Morrison’s Joy, for which Morrison received Best Director and Best Screenplay, which she shared with co-writer Serena Siow.

Fresh from its win at March’s SXSW, Jon Bell’s The Moogai won the award for Best Achievement in Indigenous Filmmaking.

Of the acting categories, Ben Mortley won Best Actor for Antony Webb’s Carmentis, which also took home the Craft Award, while Catherine Lillian was named Best Young Actor for Daniel Farmer and Adam Bigum’s Dry Fire.

‘Carmentis’.

Emmanuelle Mattana’s The Odyssey was named Best Youth Short Film (the Under the Radar competition).

Winners from the festival shared in more than $36,000 of cash and in-kind prizes as part of the event, which was live streamed on Saturday night.

They are now eligible for consideration in the Oscars® Short Film and Documentary Short Awards.

Speaking about this year’s festival, director Richard Sowada described the quality and diversity of the submitted works as “extraordinary”.

“The films are quite simply as good and as ambitious as anything in the world and I think this collection is testament to the future of the moving image in all its forms,” he said.

The ten-day program featured the Short Film Competition, the Under the Radar Youth Short Film Competition, two in-cinema animation showcases, four special events, and more than 20 filmmaker and industry development workshops and forums as part of The Big Picture: Free Filmmaker Development Program.

City of Port Phillip mayor Louise Crawford said the St Kilda Film Festival had been a great success, despite continuing challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re delighted at the high standard of entries we received and congratulate all the award winners, including the Lost Boy contingent,” she said.

“This much-loved festival is just one of the ways we are supporting Port Phillip’s creative industries and ensuring our city remains a hub of innovation and imagination.”

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