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About the festival

The Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC), in association with Swinburne University of Technology, invites emerging and established filmmakers to submit films for consideration in the 2023 Multicultural Film Festival (MFF).

The Premier Screening will occur on Tuesday 29 August at ACMI, further event details will be available to invited guests shortly.

Now in its fifth year, the MFF celebrates multiculturalism through the lens of short films that explore stories of cultural diversity and living in multicultural Australia, home to the world’s oldest continuous cultures and people who identify with more than 300 ancestries around the world.

We are seeking creative, original, non-formulaic short films about any aspect of cultural diversity created by Australians with a multicultural background (for example, they or their family arrived in Australia as migrants, refugees or asylum seekers) or filmmakers of any background who produce films that explore multiculturalism and promote social cohesion.

Original interpretations of what it means to be multicultural are encouraged. This could include personal stories of the filmmaker, their friends, family or a community member. Films can also explore the differences and distinctions that are inherent in Australia’s cultural, linguistic and religious diversity.

In 2023, we are excited to introduce two changes to the program.

Following the Premiere Screening of winning films at ACMI, guests will have the opportunity to place their live-vote for a new People’s Choice Award, to be announced at the end of the night. This filmmaker will walk away with their category award, plus the People’s Choice Award.

To better showcase young filmmakers, winners of the Best Young Filmmaker Awards will be screened separately in their own virtual Young Filmmaker’s Premiere Screening to be held on a school-day afternoon. Guests will include all category entrants, their guests and schools wishing to see the talent and learn from the stories of others.

We continue to be excited by supporting more and more screenings and broadcasts of the 2022 Official Selection at in-person, virtual and hybrid events across Victoria and on SBS OnDemand and at Federation Square. These opportunities and more will continue to be sought for the 2023 Official Selection.

The 2023 MFF is proudly sponsored by SBS.External Link

Submissions have now closed.

Awards and Prizes

  • Awards

    The Award categories are:

    • Best Short Fiction Film.
    • Best Short Non-Fiction Film.
    • Best Open Category Film (animations, comedies, music videos or other).
    • Emerging Filmmaker Award (for those having produced no more than one other film).
    • Best Young Filmmaker Award produced individually or in a group independently, at home with a parent or as part of their school community under one of two sub-categories: ages 4 to 11 years or ages 12 to 17 years.
    • Chairperson’s Choice Award - Chosen by the VMC Chairperson for the film that best addresses racism, cultural diversity/multiculturalism, faith and/or social cohesion, or does so in a way that is Victorian-specific by topic or location. All films are automatically considered for this award.
    • People’s Choice Award - To be chosen from among award-winning films via live-voting at the Premiere Screening (Young Filmmaker entrants are not eligible).

    Award-winning films and those receiving an Honourable Mention will be officially announced at the 2023 MFF Premiere Screening at ACMI in late August 2023, or at the virtual Young Filmmaker’s Premiere Screening. All award-winning films will be screened.

  • Prizes

    All films chosen for the 2023 MFF Official Selection will:

    • receive an official MFF laurel; a digital image acknowledging the film’s specific achievement that can be displayed on the film and in trailers, websites and on social media
    • be available on the VMC’s YouTube Channel
    • have their film screened at Fed Square in November 2023
    • be promoted to government and non-profit organisations for screening events or broadcasts (see below Terms).

    Films receiving an Honourable Mention will also:

    • have their title, crew and cast featured in the 2023 MFF Booklet alongside a synopsis and still image
    • be credited as such in all publications, screenings and broadcasts.

    All Award-Winning films will:

    • receive a $250 monetary prize (or $100 for Young Filmmakers)
    • have their film screened at Fed Square in November *date to be confirmed*
    • be featured in the 2023 MFF Booklet (as outlined above)
    • be credited as such in all publications, screenings and broadcasts.

    Select award-winners will also receive a private one-hour mentoring session with a leading industry representative from SBS.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • Who can submit a film?

    People living in Australia and Australians living outside of Australia.

    Do I have to be a professional filmmaker?
    No. You do not need to be qualified or experienced in making films. Anyone with a recording device is encouraged to submit an entry, as long as they and their film meets the requirements.

    Is there an entry fee?

    How long should the films be?

    Films must be between five and 15 minutes in length, except for those submitted in the Young Filmmakers category, which has no minimum length but must be less than 15 minutes.

    Do films have to be in English?

    No. Films can be in any language or have no speaking at all. Foreign-language audio (or important on-screen text) must have English subtitles.

    Do films need to address a subject matter?
    Yes. Films should address racism, social cohesion, multiculturalism and/or cultural diversity, and/or feature people with relevant lived-experiences. We understand cultural diversity to refer to differences among groups of people due to racial or ethnic backgrounds, faiths, languages and / or traditions. Films that showcase the commonalities between people of different cultures are encouraged.

    Do I need to provide anything else with the film?
    Yes. Entrants must provide a biography of up to 150 words to describe themselves, including their background.

    How many films can I submit?

    You can submit a maximum of two films, as long as they are significantly different from each other.

    What format do films need to be in?
    So that the VMC, Swinburne, ACMI, SBS OnDemand and Federation Square (and potentially others) can screen the films, they must be submitted in the following format.

    • Standard: Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) 1080 p (1920 x 1080)
    • Format: 1998 x 1080 (the 1998 format conforms with DCP)
    • Aspect: 16:9
    • Audio: Stereo, sample rate 48khz (128 kbps)
    • Codec: MPEG 4 (.mp4) 4.5 Mbps
    • Frame rate: 24fps
    • H.264 compression
    • For films shot in SCOPE format the format needs to be 2048 X 858

    Rules and Terms

    The MFF is run by the State of Victoria (the State) acting by and through the Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC) in association with Swinburne University of Technology (Swinburne University). The MFF includes the submission and judging of films, the announcement of the Official Selection, award-winning films and those receiving an honourable mention, and the screening or broadcasting of films by organisations approved by the VMC.

    Please head to Film Freeway to read these Terms carefully. Link

    If you have any questions, please contact the VMC at

    If you have technical questions or difficulties submitting your film, please contact Swinburne University at

Past festivals

  • Our 2021 Multicultural Film Festival was presented online on Thursday 26 August 2021.

    The Multicultural Film Festival was proudly presented by the Victorian Multicultural Commission in collaboration with the Department of Education and Training and in partnership with Swinburne University, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences and Department of Film and Animation.

    The Multicultural Film Festival showcased short films that explore stories of diversity and inclusion. Proudly presented by the Victorian Multicultural Commission in collaboration with Swinburne University of Technology.

    Shortlisted films featured characters who are encountering new ways of life, struggling with feeling isolated in a new country or within their cultures’ traditions, or beginning to embrace and celebrate their difference.

    Thank you to our event partners, SBS and Mushroom Creative House for supporting the 2021 Multicultural Film Festival.

    Best Open Category Film

    Congratulations on the honourable mention ‘For Becky’, directed and produced by Chido Mwat.

    Congratulations to the winning film ‘Love and Revolution', written by Sara Saleh and Candy Royalle and directed and produced by Jacqui North.

    Short Fiction

    Congratulations on the honourable mention for 'Mother Tongue', written and directed by Jessica Li and produced by Samantha Kwan and Heshi Wijerathna

    Congratulations to the winning film ‘Amar (Moon)’, written and directed by Fatima Mawas, produced by Ade Djajamihardja, Leanne Tonkes, Mitu Bhowmick Lange, Kate Stephens, Leona Hameed

    Emerging Filmmaker

    Congratulations Sarah Ghassali for 'Don’t Forget Us'. Also written by Gaia Mitting and produced by Natasha Koutoufides.

    Congratulations to our winner Xinze Tian ‘Delivery – the people, the story’. Delivery was also produced by Martin Potter.

    Best Short Non-Fiction Film

    Congratulations to the honourable mentions:

    • ‘My Dad Spiro’, written by Diamando May and J.G Alexander, directed by Diamando May and produced by Paraskevas Mourikis
    • ‘No More Spectators’ written and directed by Adam McKay and produced by Adam McKay, Aron Clarke and Renai Fejo and ‘Ruby’ written, directed and produced by Sarah Menegon.

    Congratulations to the winning film 'I want to make a film about women,' written and directed by Karen Pearlman and produced by Karen Pearlman and Richard James Allen.

  • Multicultural Film Festival 2022 Awards

    Category Film Awarded
    Best Short Fiction Film Unsaid Winner
    Best Short Fiction Film The Ninth Tower Winner
    Best Short Non-Fiction Film The Fade Winner
    Best Short Non-Fiction Film Baba Honourable Mention
    Best Open Category Film Kariwa Winner
    Best Open Category Film Best Wishes Honourable Mention
    Best Emerging Filmmaker Hold Up Winner
    Best Emerging Filmmaker Ek Din (One Day) Honourable Mention
    Best Young Filmmaker (4 to 11 years old) To Colombia and Beyond Winner
    Chairperson's Choice 5km and 8pm Winner

    2022 Official selection

    We congratulate these filmmakers, whose films are included in the list of 19 officially selected from the total of 346 films entered into the 2022 competition Australia-wide.

    5km and 8pm

    Written and directed by Le Luo. Produced by Natalia Bornay.

    Akosia - Go

    Written, directed and produced by Dale Edward Crawford

    Am I a Man Yet?

    Written by David Koutsouridis. Directed by Chris Kennett. Produced by Bec Petraitis.


    Written, directed and produced by Firass Dirani.

    Best Wishes

    Written and directed by Zhang Xiaoan. Produced by Su Yang and Zhang Xiaoan.

    Beyond The Pitch

    Written by Maggie Garcia Pena and Lucia Larotonda. Directed by Maggie Garcia Pena. Produced by Melbourne Social Soccer. Filmmaker Noopur Powale.

    Biting the Bullet

    Written, directed and produced by Lizbeth Calingasan.

    Celebrating Cultural Diversity at Currawa Primary School

    Written, directed and produced by Jarod Bacon and students.

    Ek Din (One Day)

    Written by Marque La Brooy. Directed by Dion Wheeler. Produced by Callum Harrod and Marque La Brooy.

    Her, Grace

    Written by Gracie Lolicato. Directed by Katrina Lolicato. Produced by Arc Up Australia.


    Written, directed and produced by Kiara Rodriguez-Hextall.


    Written, directed and produced by Rukmal Nirosh Fernando.

    Mediterranean Madness

    Written and produced by Koraly Dimitriadis. Directed by Artemis Evlogimenou.

    Sunset Stories

    Written by Jiawen Xue and Todd Manion. Directed by Todd Manion. Produced by Janwun Xue.

    The Fade

    Written and directed by Thomas Elliott.

    The Hold Up

    Written and directed by Cassandra Nguyen. Produced by Alison Rodrigues and Cassandra Nguyen.

    The Ninth Tower

    Written, directed and produced by Kauthar Abdulalim.

    To Colombia and Beyond

    Directed by Obayda Kannouj. Produced by Pongky Nataatmaja.


    Written and directed by Alex Nesic. Produced by Zixuan Li and Dimitrios Stoforidis.

    2022 Award Categories

    Best Short Fiction Film

    Best Short Non-Fiction Film

    Best Open Category Film (animations, comedies, music videos or other)

    Best Emerging Filmmaker (by those who have made one or less films)

    Best Young Filmmaker (ages 4 to 17 years)

    Chairperson’s Choice

Reviewed 10 May 2023

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