Brisbane DOP Dan Macarthur pivotal in MIFF win for Katele
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Shot by Dan Macarthur DOP

In a spectacular showcase of Australian filmmaking talent, Dan Macarthur, the Brisbane Director of Photography on John Harvey’s “Katele (Mudskipper),” played a pivotal role in helping the film secure the coveted title of Best Australian Short at the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF).

“Katele (Mudskipper),” a poignant narrative following a Torres Strait Islander woman navigating her life at a laundromat while encountering a mysterious visitor who stirs memories of her past, claimed this prestigious award during the MIFF Shorts Awards held at the ACMI on a memorable Saturday evening. This achievement was the second in a series of triumphs for the film, as it had previously clinched the Best Australian Short Film accolade at Flickerfest in January, thanks in no small part to the exceptional cinematography overseen by Dan Macarthur.

The MIFF Shorts jury, comprised of notable figures in the film industry, including filmmaker Alena Lodkina, curator and artist Kate ten Buuren, and Good Thing Productions’ Virginia Whitwell, unanimously praised Dan Macarthur’s work in “Katele (Mudskipper).” They acknowledged how his thoughtful use of lighting, sound, and color contributed significantly to the film’s storytelling prowess. The jury was particularly impressed by the film’s unique sci-fi elements, which masterfully conveyed the enduring connection between individuals and their ancestral lands. In their words, the film illuminated the “power and pull of Country,” allowing viewers to transcend the boundaries of everyday realities.

While “Katele (Mudskipper)” was undeniably a standout at MIFF, the Grand Prix Best Short Film title went to the US production “F1ghting Looks Different 2 Me Now.” Directed and produced by Fox Maxy, this film explored themes of homecoming through the lens of video games, pop music, and a vividly-named red paint. Although the film hailed from across the ocean, it joined “Katele (Mudskipper)” as a distinguished winner on this international stage.

International recognition didn’t stop there. Morad Mostafa’s “I Promise You Paradise” from Egypt, France, and Qatar was celebrated as the Best Fiction Short Film, demonstrating the global appeal of short filmmaking. Flóra Anna Buda’s “27” from France and Hungary earned the accolade for Best Animation Short Film, while Maryam Tafakory’s “Mast-del” from Iran and the UK took home the title of Best Experimental Short Film.

Among the talented Australian filmmakers, Annelise Hickey was honored with the Emerging Australian Filmmaker Award for her work on “Hafekasi,” further showcasing the depth of local talent. Matthew Thorne and Derik Lynch’s “Marungka Tjalatjunu (Dipped in Black)” secured the title of Best Documentary Short Film, exemplifying the diversity and excellence of Australian cinema.

In total, this year’s MIFF Shorts program featured a staggering 75 films from 42 different countries, spanning a range of award categories across 11 packages. Additionally, the MIFF Accelerator short film programs provided a platform for emerging local filmmakers from Australia and New Zealand to share their unique voices and stories with the world.

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