Sydney Film Festival announces Dendy Awards short film finalists

The ten finalists in the 52nd Dendy Awards include TIFF selection Shark, and SXSW winner, The Moogai.
The terror of The Moogai is in the running for the Dendy Award.

Sydney Film Festival has announced the return of the 52nd Dendy Awards, a prize that celebrates Australian short films in partnership with Dendy Cinemas.

This year’s finalists have already turned heads: Jon Bell’s Indigenous horror short The Moogai stunned juries at SXSW last year, ultimately winning in the Midnight Short category. Nash Edgerton’s quirky short Shark was also recently selected to show at Toronto International Film Festival 2021.

The prize pool offers three awards to excellent Australian short films: The Dendy Live Action Short Award, The Rouben Mamoulian Award for Best Director and the Yoram Gross Animation Award.  Winners will be announced on the Festival’s closing night on 14 November.

READ: Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) cancels cinemas and extends online

The Dendy Awards is Australia’s longest-running short film competition. It has run for 52 years, and has been sponsored by Dendy Cinemas for 32 of those – since 1989. The ten finalists will screen as part of the Festival. Festival Director Nashen Moodley said he was ‘proud’ to ‘showcase the incredible works of Australian filmmakers through the Dendy Awards.’

He continued, ‘Having launched the careers of countless renowned directors, writers, producers and other film creatives over the course of the competition’s 52 year history, the Festival will premiere another cohort of 10 superb new short films.’

Lockdowns across the country have somewhat destabilised 2021’s film festival season. MIFF has just announced the cancellation of all in-person events, and extra programming additions to their digital program, MIFF Play. Despite the ongoing lockdown in New South Wales, Sydney Film Festival is currently scheduled to run its in-person festival from 3-14 November this year.

READ: All the Australian films featured at TIFF 2021

Finalists for the Dendy Awards

  • DWARF PLANET | 2020 | Australia | Director, Screenwriter: Adrian Chiarella
  • FREEDOM SWIMMER | 2021 | Australia | Director, Screenwriter: Olivia Martin-McGuire
  • LIFEBLOOD | 2021 | Australia | Director, Producer: Nicholas Tory 
  • THE MOOGAI | 2020| Australia | Director, Screenwriter: Jon Bell
  • OFF THE RAILS | 2021 | Australia | Directors, Screenwriters, Producers: Bel Holborow,  Isabelle Coury
  • PEEPS | 2020| Australia | Director, Screenwriter: Sophie Somerville
  • SHARK | 2021 | Australia | Director, Screenwriter: Nash Edgerton
  • THE STRANGER | 2020| Australia | Director, Screenwriter: Jenny Hicks
  • TINASHÉ | 2021 | Australia | Director, Screenwriter: Tig Terera 
  • tough| 2021 | Australia | Director, Screenwriter: Taylor Ferguson

Jini Maxwell is a writer and curator who lives in Naarm. They are an assistant curator at ACMI, where they also host the Women & Non-binary gamers club. They write about videogames and the people who make them. You can find them on Twitter @astroblob