Nakkiah Lui, Teresa Palmer join Australian Women’s Film Festival short film judging panel

Esteemed Australian actors will be judging the short films selected for the Australian Women's Film Festival 2023.

The Australian Women’s Film Festival (AWFF), a film festival created by women for women, is back for its much-anticipated third year.

Scheduled to take place on 21 November at Event Cinemas on George Street in Sydney, the festival will showcase a number of short films and events that highlight the talent and creativity of female filmmakers.

This year, the AWFF boasts an esteemed judging panel, featuring women from various facets of the film industry. This year’s judges are Teresa Palmer (Warm Bodies), a renowned actress and producer, Nakkiah Lui (Black Comedy), a multi-talented writer, actress, and publisher, Edwina Waddy, a producer and Head of Australia Content at Roadshow Films, and Grainne Brunsdon, Head of Content at Screen Australia.

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The festival’s program includes a VIP red-carpet gala, a panel discussion moderated by Poppy Reid, Editor-In-Chief of Variety Australia, and screenings of the finalist’s films culminating in a grand award presentation.

AWFF will also take this opportunity to honor two figures in the film industry. Director Gillian Armstrong will receive the AWFF Trailblazer Award, while Screen Composer Caitlyn Yeo will be presented with the AWFF Groundbreaker Award.

‘I am thrilled to be part of the AWFF judging panel for 2023 alongside Edwina, Grainne, and Nakkiah,’ said Palmer. ‘The landscape of Australia’s cine culture relies on festivals like AWFF to challenge the status quo, evolve, and reach gender parity. Not only does AWFF provide a platform for filmmakers to showcase their talent, but it is a chance to reflect and celebrate the achievements of industry leaders. A reminder to so many that if you can see it, you can be it.’

AWFF is the brainchild of Australian producers and filmmakers Kelly Tomasich and Tahyna MacManus, best known for the documentary MuM – Misunderstandings of Miscarriage.

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‘As a storyteller and filmmaker, I’m thrilled to return to the Australian Women’s Film Festival for a second year,’ said Nakkiah Lui, who also had the privilege of being on the judging panel last year. ‘Having the opportunity to be on the judging panel last year was an incredible privilege, as it’s a festival that not only celebrates the incredible talent of Australian women in the film industry but also highlights the diverse narratives and perspectives we bring to the screen. It’s a vital platform that amplifies our voices and ensures our stories are seen and heard.’

Grainne Brunsdon also expressed her enthusiasm: ‘I am thrilled to be joining the AWFF judging panel for 2023, and to be a part of a festival that encourages the importance of the female gaze and its essential role in authentic storytelling.’

AWFF’s conditions of entry underscore the importance of female involvement in film production. To be eligible, at least three of the film’s key creatives (such as the writer, director, producer, DOP, animator, composer, and editor) must identify as female. Additionally, films must pass the Bechdel test, ensuring a fair representation of women in the narrative.

Awards will be presented in various categories, including Best Drama, Documentary, Comedy, and Animation, with the coveted Best Film award taking center stage. Individual category recognitions will also be granted.

For filmmakers, the submission deadline is 24 October, and you can make your entries at

For tickets and more info head to the Australian Women’s Film Festival website.

Silvi Vann-Wall is a journalist, podcaster, and filmmaker. They joined ScreenHub as Film Content Lead in 2022. Twitter: @SilviReports