Prize winners were announced at a packed closing night ceremony on Sunday 16 October.
Best International Documentary was awarded to Behemoth, directed by Zhao Liang. The jury said, “This is a work of visceral beauty contrasting images of the individual within nature with the dehumanising, hellish reality for those working within the mines of Inner Mongolia. Extraordinary cinematography, exquisite sound design and without need for dialogue, the film is an awe inspiring, transcendent experience.”
The Special Jury Award in the international category was presented to director Merhdad Oskouei for Starless Dreams. The jury said, “With great sensitivity and poetic imagery, Mehrdad Oskouei portrays a group of young girls in an Iranian detention centre… On various levels of human, and at times surprisingly playful, interactions the film gives them a strong presence as members of an enclosed community behind bars.”
Best Australian Documentary was awarded to Mother With a Gun, directed by Jeff Daniels. The jury said, “Mother with a Gun [is] a thought provoking, creatively told story with an unusual controversial female character whose life tragically illustrated the personal cost of political convictions.”
Best Australian Short Documentary was awarded to two films: Heart Of The Queen, directed by Matthew Walker, and Lightning Ridge: The Land Of The Black Opals, directed by Alena Lodkina. A special mention was also awarded to Dan Bau Lullaby, directed by Jakeb Anhvu. The jury said, “We have decided that the prize is to be divided equally between two works that present very different aesthetic sensibilities, yet both in their own way tell unique Australian stories.”
The 2016 Audience Award went to Australian documentary Servant or Slave by Steven McGregor.