More success for John Harvey’s ‘Katele’ with MIFF Shorts Awards win

'Katele (Mudskipper)'

John Harvey’s Katele (Mudskipper) has again been crowned Best Australian Short, this time at the Melbourne International Film Festival.

The film, which follows a Torres Strait Islander woman who is working at her job in a laundromat when a mysterious visitor reminds her of the life she has left behind, was awarded the prize at the MIFF Shorts Awards at the ACMI on Saturday.

It comes after the Harvey, alongside co-writer Walter Waia, and producer Gillian Moody, received Best Australian Short Film at Flickerfest in January.

The MIFF Shorts jury, consisting of filmmaker Alena Lodkina, curator and artist Kate ten Buuren, and Good Thing Productions’ Virginia Whitwell, said Katele (Mudskipper) was a story about the “power and pull of Country”, which allowed viewers to “transcend everyday realities”.

“The thoughtful use of lighting, sound, and colour, matched with the film’s unique sci-fi themes, tells the story of one’s unbreakable connection to place and the ancestral power within,” they said.

Taking out the Grand Prix Best Short Film prize was US title F1ghting Looks Different 2 Me Now, in which director and producer Fox Maxy reflects on her move home through video games, pop music, and an evocatively-named red paint.

Other international winners included Morad Mostafa’s I Promise You Paradise (Egypt, France, Qatar), which was awarded Best Fiction Short Film, while Flóra Anna Buda’s 27 (France, Hungary) was crowned Best Animation Short Film, and Maryam Tafakory’s Mast-del (Iran, UK) received Best Experimental Short Film.

Of the Australian contingent Annelise Hickey was given the Emerging Australian Filmmaker Award for Hafekasi (Australia), and Matthew Thorne and Derik Lynch’s Marungka Tjalatjunu (Dipped in Black) (Australia) won Best Documentary Short Film.

This year’s MIFF Shorts program featured 75 films from 42 different countries, with 11 packages spanning the different award categories. There were also the MIFF Accelerator short film programs, which featured works by emerging local filmmakers from Australia and New Zealand.

MIFF runs until August 20.

The 2023 MIFF Shorts Awards winners are as follows:

City of Melbourne Grand Prix for Best Short Film

F1ghting Looks Different 2 Me Now

VicScreen Erwin Rado Award for Best Australian Short Film

Katele (Mudskipper)

Award for Emerging Australian Filmmaker


Award for Best Fiction Short Film

I Promise You Paradise

Award for Best Documentary Short Film

Marungka Tjalatjunu (Dipped in Black)

Award for Best Animation Short Film


Award for Best Experimental Short Film