SWIFF’s Ferguson Film Prize strives to recognise captivating, daring, and ambitious filmmaking from Australian directors in their debut or sophomore feature.
The Coffs Coast’s Screenwave International Film Festival has announced the recipient of the 2023 Ferguson Film Prize as Australian-Macedonian director Goran Stolevski for his Melbourne-set coming of age romance, Of an Age.
The Ferguson Film Prize, which includes a trophy, a $3000 personal cash prize, and an official award accreditation, is bequeathed by Australian film and music veteran Kate Ferguson, with the support of her family. SWIFF’s Ferguson Film Prize strives to recognise captivating, daring, and ambitious new filmmaking from Australian directors in their debut or sophomore feature, and support their careers.
“After 20 years of being an indie filmmaker and working through the ups and downs – predominantly downs – that come with that, I’ve very much learned to treasure moments like these. ‘Connection’ is both the theme of Of an Age and the reason I make movies in the first place. The fact that this film connected with the incredible members of this jury is thrilling and deeply, deeply moving, “ Goran Stolevski.
This year 11 feature films were in competition, and the tough decision was made by Jury Members Australian actress Bonnie Ferguson, award-winning screenwriter Jeff Arch (Sleepless in Seattle), and Head of SBS Movies, Fiona Williams.
Set in Melbourne in the summer of 1999, Of an Age follows Adam and Kol, two young men brought together on a fateful car ride, who quickly discover an undeniable spark – with their ships-in-the-night romance playing out over years with fiery performances, and emotionally nuanced direction.
“Goran Stolevski is a powerful new voice in Australian cinema, with Goran’s two films Of an Age and You Won’t Be Alone both competing for this year’s Ferguson Film Prize. On behalf of Kate Ferguson and her family, SWIFF is honoured to award Goran as this year’s winning filmmaker,” said Artistic Director Kate Howat.
SWIFF’s 2023 Ferguson Film Prize nominees include Jennifer Ross for punk documentary Age of Rage: The Australian Punk Revolution, Rachel Antony and Laurence Billiet for Bob Brown environmental documentary The Giants, Sari Braithwaite for slice-of-life documentary Because We Have Each Other, Matty Hannon for personal travel documentary The Road to Patagonia, Luke Cornish for Sydney dance documentary Keep Stepping, Spencer Frost for his Russian cold water surf film Corners Of The Earth: Kamchatka, Bruce Gladwin for the ground-breaking play-turned-film Shadow, and Hannah Barlow and Kane Senes for influencer satire thriller Sissy.
The Screenwave International Film Festival runs for 16 days across three venues in Coffs Harbour and Bellingen, with 80 features and 30 short films presented across 140 sessions through to Friday, May 5, with SWIFF’23 having just broken the previous attendance record.