The Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) Award for best Australian short was awarded to Sophie Miller’s Spine at Melbourne’s Greater Union Cinema.

Spine deals with Nick, a young quadriplegic who witnesses a violent crime. The award came with a handsome cash prize of $7000 contributed by Film Victoria with Miller and producer Sheila Jayadev on hand to accept the award.

Judges included local filmmaker Genevieve Bailey, renowned Radio National film critic Julie Rigg and musician and record producer Mick Harvey, who presented the Film Victoria Erwin Rado Award for Best Australian Short Film.

MIFF, which is regarded as one of the premier short-film competitions in the southern hemisphere, gives filmmakers from home and abroad the opportunity to win seven prizes valued at $42,000 in total.

Another Aussie to win an award was Melbourne-based filmmaker Rudolf Fitzgerald-Leondard, who won the Swinburne Award for Emerging Australian Filmmaker for his film Kin, which deals with two young men trying to find their mentally ill father.

International filmmakers were honoured as well, with the BBC Knowledge Award for Best Documentary Short Film going to Nadav Kurtz for his documentary Paradise, about immigrants working on Chicago’s tallest buildings as window washers. Austria’s Henry Hills was awarded The award for Best Experimental Short Film went to Austrian director and producer Henry Hills for Arcana, a rhythmic cut-up film put to the music of John Zorn.

Animated film The Pub won it’s UK-based director Joseph Pierce and its producer Mark Grimmer the Holmesglen Award for Best Animation Short Film. The story is about people who live in a decrepit, beat-up London pub. The Cinema Nova Award for Best Fiction Short Film went to Turkish director and producer L Rezan Yesilbas for Silent, about a woman’s struggle to speak her own language.

The biggest cash prize of the night went to director Benjamin Parent and producer David Frenkel of France, for their film It’s Not A Cowboy Movie, which won the prestigious City of Melbourne Grand Prix for Best Short Film. The film humorously deals with the questions that some teens have after watching the film Brokeback Mountain.

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