Announcing the Gold Coast Film Festival SIPFEST Award Winners across 7 categories.

SIPFEST (Shorts In Paradise) is the Gold Coast’s premier short film festival competition, showcasing 14 of the best short film finalists from submissions around Australia and internationally. Held under the stars of the outdoor stage at HOTA, Home of the Arts, the night culminated in the live presentation of the SIPFEST award categories.

Thank you to our SIPFEST presenting partner HOTA, Home of the Arts.

2023 Award Winners:

Best Australian Short Film
Voice Activated

Directed by Steve Anthopoulos

Best International Short Film
Hold Me, Don’t Touch Me

Directed by Adrian Todd Zuniga

Best Screenplay
Voice Activated
Directed by Steve Anthopoulos

People’s Choice Award
Voice Activated

Directed by Steve Anthopoulos

Runner Up Best Australian Short Film
The Moths Will Eat Them Up

Directed by Luisa Martiri & Tanya Modini

Best Short Film by a Gold Coast Resident
El Sol

Directed by Caitlin Hill

Best Actor
Aleks Mikic

Voice Activated, Directed by Steve Anthopoulos


101 Days of Lockdown

Director: Jelena Sinik – Sydney

101 Days of Lockdown is an experimental exploration into the mundane and domestic moments of aloneness that made up the human experience of the 2021 Australian pandemic lockdowns. 


Director: Mariam Hassan – Gold Coast

Choice revolves around a woman who lost her husband in Iran during a protest against oppression on women.

El Sol

Director: Caitlin Hill – Gold Coast

A coming of age dramedy about how true friendship is sometimes all you need to overcome your inner battles. This film is written and produced by Anna Patch.


Director: Riley Sugars – Melbourne

Vince attempts to dispose of a dead body for the mob, but when he reluctantly enlists the help of his dim-witted brother-in-law Ted, things don’t go to plan.

Hold Me, Don’t Touch Me

Director: Adrian Todd Zuniga – UK

Mourning the death of her young son, Aidy enters a London pub where she’s interrupted by an eager but ill-equipped stranger intent on helping.

I’m Not a Nurse

Director: Jessica Bailey – Perth

An ambitious young African woman living in Australia must choose between following her dreams of filmmaking and supporting her family back home.

If I Were You

Director: Kate O’Sullivan – Brisbane

When a lonely ten-year-old takes questionable advice from an unlikely mentor, her troubles begin to snowball.

Lucky Peach

Director: Grace Tan – Sydney

A visually imaginative, deeply personal story about the tensions that develop between an immigrant mother and a young woman as she prepares to head abroad.


Director: Ruby Challenger – Brisbane

Sarah, a first-time mother struggles to connect with her newborn baby and is pushed to her limits when she discovers her insta famous bestie has thrown her a surprise birthday party.

Opposites Day

Director: Elliot Clifford – Sydney

A runaway bride asks her life-long friend a question they’ve both been afraid to answer for years.


Director: Neer Shelter – Sydney/Israel

Based on a true story, a young soldier suspects a man on an Israeli bus of being a suicide bomber.

The Moths Will Eat Them Up

Directors: Luisa Martiri, Tanya Modini – Brisbane

A simple train ride home at night for a woman turns into a terrifying game of cat and mouse with a stranger until an unforeseen force is summoned.


Director: Robin Summons – Melbourne

A mother’s love for her son is tested by his increasingly alarming behaviour.

Voice Activated

Directors: Steve Anthopoulos – Sydney

A florist with a stutter is forced to cooperate with a voice activated car on the way to an important delivery.