Films will be judged and the finalist/winners announced on the website prior to the festival starting.

Films must be no longer than 15 minutes from opening to closing credits. Films made from the 1st December 2016 can be entered until midnight 31st January, 2019. Films cannot be entered after this date. For more information please check terms and conditions.

Apart from the female only and secondary school kids’ program, our categories are open to everyone.

The Setting Sun Award categories are:

  • Best Film 2019
  • Best Short Film West (filmed in the West or made by a Westie)
  • Best Short Film Cultural Diversity*
  • People’s Choice*
  • Film Art Media Award for Best Film By A Female Director*
  • Best Short Feature
  • Best Documentary 
  • Best Comedy
  • Best Animation
  • Best Short Film From a Web Series*
  • Best Film Indigenous Achievement 
  • Best Director
  • Best Screenplay
  • Best Acting Performance Overall
  • Best Short Film  Tertiary Student
  • Best Short Film Secondary  

We also give out a series of Highly Commended Awards including the Sun Theatre Projectionist’s Award.

Films will be evaluated for the following:

  • story – well told, fluent, good theme or subject, good structure, good dialogue;
  • engaging and entertaining for audience;
  • production values – camera technique, special effects, lighting and sound;
  • creativity and originality.

FEATURE FILMS: To be considered a feature length film, your film must be at least 60 minutes long and  have at least 51% Australian financing, and preferably not have had a Victorian screening, if so it must be limited. Please contact the office to discuss.

Best Cultural Diversity will be determined by the judges:  The Cultural Diversity Award seeks to recognise a film that through its use of subject, actors, story, or themes, directly or indirectly explores or promotes cultural diversity. For example, race, age, religion, gender or sexuality. The judges are a small group of media and film teachers, and industry professionals experienced in judging and making films. Judges will shortlist films individually before choosing the finalists and the winner in each category.  Judges will watch the shortlisted films separately and rate them out of ten. The film with the highest points in its category wins. The Finalists in each category will listed on the website.

People’s Choice: Voting for the People’s Choice award will occur on the Opening Night when the finalists are shown. 

Best Short Film From a Web Series may be of any genre but filmmaker can only submit one film

The Rouge Program must have a female in two of the following roles: screenwriter, producer,director 

Film Art Media Award For Best Film By A Female Director, sponsored by Sue Maslin and chosen by Sue and other judges



We received close 120 films this year, of an exceptional standard from Wales, Ireland, America, the Middle East and around Australia. Read about our great judges from our 2018 festival here. 

Sue Maslin is one of Australia’s most successful film, television and digital content producers with a track record of creating award winning feature and documentary films. Her most recent is the smash hit The Dressmaker, starring Kate Winslet and Judy Davis. It grossed more than $20 million at the box office and garnered the highest number of nominations at the 2015 Australian Academy Awards, winning five including the coveted People’s Choice Award for favourite Australian Film. 

Her innovative company, Film Art Media established in 2008 with Daryl Dellora, produces and distributes screen content across many platforms with a focus on blue chip documentaries including The Edge of The Possible: Jorn Utzon and the Sydney Opera House, winner of the Golden Plaque at the Chicago International Television Competition. 

Reflecting her commitment to advocacy for women, Sue is currently a Patron of Women In Film and Television and the President of the Natalie Miller Fellowship, an organisation dedicated to inspiring leadership and increasing the participation of women in the screen industry.  Sue has been sponsoring the Female Filmmaker program, The Rouge, since it began three years ago, by donating $1000 to the winner of the Film Art Award for Best Film By A Female Filmmaker. Her support has helped develop this popular program that showcases a great range of female filmmakers from around the world.

Philippa Lamb is a film professional with 11 years’ experience in distribution and production. After completing a Masters in Cinema Management at Melbourne University, Philippa commenced her decade-long tenure at Madman Entertainment. While at Madman, Philippa worked in almost every aspect of film distribution: she braved the icy streets of Berlin, the sun-drenched rooftops of LA and the crowds of Cannes in her role of Acquisitions Executive; she formulated marketing strategies for the home entertainment releases of THAT SUGAR FILM, HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE and HELL OR HIGH WATER, and she negotiated licensing deals with SBS, ABC and Foxtel. Keen to build upon her negotiation, team management and client relationship skills, in October 2017 Philippa took on the role of Producer at boutique animation studio Dirty Puppet. Specialising in TVC, B2B communications and branded content, Philippa has led Dirty Puppet’s productions for Tennis Australia, ANZ and Moose Toys. In her spare time, Philippa enjoys cycling, singing and spending time with her husband and daughter.

Marc C-Scott is a lecturer in screen media at Victoria University. He has taught at many institutions in the areas of video production, motion graphics, visual effects, online media, cross-media practice. Marc has written numerous articles for The Conversation along with both television and radio media interviews. His research interests are within television (history, institutions, broadcast technologies and methods), cross-platform media and the use of new media platforms and distribution methods.

Georgia Whyte is a Melbourne based PR and marketing professional specialising in theatre. A graduate of RMIT Public Relations and with a background in writing and acting, Georgia is the current Marketing Manager of Melbourne Shakespeare Company and Marketing Coordinator at one of Australia’s most internationally recognised companies, Back to Back Theatre. Georgia was the Marketing and Communications Manger of Kindred Studios Creative Spaces for the last two years where she oversaw the promotion of multiple creative studios and events. In 2013 she was one of Regional Arts Victoria’s 12 Creative Leaders and one of four selected for their alumni program in 2016, where she received a year long Arts Management mentorship with Martin Paten (Castlemaine State Festival, Footscray Community Arts Centre). When she’s not promoting the arts Georgia writes plays and studies Psychodrama.

Arden Pryor is an accomplished Screenwriter, Director and Producer. He originally started his career as a stand-up comedian and character actor. As an actor he worked in both theatre and television. Notably he played Rebel Wilson’s mother in Fat Pizza.  Since completing an Advanced Diploma of Screenwriting at RMIT, Arden has been writing spec scripts and working behind the scenes on shows like Shaub Micallef’s Mad as Hell and Tonighly With Tom Ballard. Most recently, Arden created and produced the all-female lead Foxtel sitcom Fix Her Up and directed the live comedy show From Scrags To Riches at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Arden also has a USA/Australian co-production in development called FOMO.

Matt Holcomb brings with him over 15 years experience as a storyteller and an award-winning creator of commercial and narrative screen content. In 2014, Matt was one of three filmmakers awarded production funding from Screen NSW for his short film, Flat Daddy, which had its world premiere at the Academy Award-accredited St Kilda Film Festival, where it was selected for opening night and received nominations for Best Director and Best Original Score. Flat Daddy was subsequently invited to screen in competition at the prestigious Palm Springs International ShortFest, Adelaide Film Festival and Flickerfest, and was nominated for Best Short Fiction Film at the 5th AACTA Awards.

Maria Papas is an actor who has appeared in film, TV and theatre including works for Melbourne Fringe, the ABC, Neighbours and the Women’s Circus. She has trained with Anna McCrossin Owen, Wendy Ward and Miranda Harcourt, amongst others. This is Maria’s second year as a judge.

Jennifer Hallam is a film buff who despite an extensive professional career finds time to develop scripts and dabble in amateur photography.