The FIAPF-accredited Official Competition was again at the heart of the 2016 Festival, featuring 12 international titles, selected for their 'courage and audacity'. A jury of five international and Australian filmmakers and industry professionals selected Aquarius directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho to receive the $60,000 Sydney Film Prize at the Closing Night ceremony on Sunday 19 June.
The Official Competition celebrates that rare but thrilling kind of film that truly moves the art form forward. Innovative, provocative or controversial, they broaden our understanding of the world and say important things in original ways. The previous Sydney Film Prize winners are: Arabian Nights (2015); Two Days, One Night (2014); Only God Forgives (2013); Alps (2012); A Separation (2011), which went on to win an Academy Award; Heartbeats (2010); Bronson (2009); and Hunger (2008).
The Official Competition was established in 2008 and endorsed by Fédération Internationale des Associations de Producteurs de Films (the regulating organisation for international film festivals).
The 2016 Official Competition jury members were: Jury President, international programmer and producer Simon Field (UK), prolific writer, director and producer Robert Connolly (Australia), Dublin International Film Festival’s Director Gráinne Humphreys (Ireland), acclaimed producer Bridget Ikin (Australia), and cutting edge documentarian Kazuhiro Soda (Japan).