Many might be aware of film festival awards and understand their importance without actually knowing the ins and outs of what goes into them. Well, at the 2024 Sydney Film Festival, they are offering their largest prizes ever, with a prize pool of $200,000 to be shared amongst a number of award winners.

The Sydney Film Prize offers the largest reward, $60,000, the winner of which to be decided by a jury comprised of Bosnian director and Juy president Danis Tanović, Indonesian director Kamila Andini, Australian producer Shelia Jayadev, US producer Jay Van Hoy and Australian director Tony Krawitz. Yorgos Lanthimos, who won the prize in 2012 with “Alps,” returns with “Kinds of Kindness” fresh off a positive reception from Cannes.

He’ll be up against Miguel Gomes’ “Grand Tour” (another previous winner, for 2015’s “Arabian Nights”), Christophe  Honoré’s “Marcello Mio”, and Payal Kapadia’s “All We Imagine as Light”, the first Indian film to appear in competition at Cannes in 30 years. Actor Ariane Labed makes their directorial debut in the competition with “September Say,” and another Cannes premiere, “Việt And Nam,” will also be looking to win the illustrious prize. Finally, the Silver Bear winner at Berlin, “Dying”, Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner “Sujo”, Sundance audience award winner “Kneecap”, Paola Cortellesis’s “There’s Still Tomorrow”, “Midnight Oil: The Hardest Line”, and “Puan” join the lineup.

This is far from the only prize the festival offers. However, there is also a key focus on short films. 10 finalists have been selected and will compete for five prizes, all worth an impressive $7,000. $20,000 will be given to the winner of the documentary award, in addition to the film becoming Academy Award-eligible. $40,000 is reserved for the winner of the “Sustainable Future Award,” presented to a film that explores the social, economic, political, and environmental consequences of climate change and highlights the need to reduce its effects.

This year also marks the first for the “First Nations Award,” with a $35,000 prize reserved for indigenous filmmaking. Finally, $10,000 is up for grabs for New South Wales-based filmmakers. No prize is given to the four winners of the GIO Audience Awards (narrative feature, international feature, Australian documentary, and international documentary), which are voted on by festival fans.

For a prize pool as large as this, there will undoubtedly be steep competition, so stay tuned for coverage of this prestigious festival, which runs from 5 to 16 June.

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