Celebrating The SXSW Sydney 2023 Award Winners

October 24, 2023


SXSW Sydney is thrilled to announce the deserving winners of the inaugural Justin Cosby Music Prize.

The Justin Cosby Music Prize is named in memory of an Australian industry legend, Justin Cosby, who passed away in June 2021. Justin was the founder of Inertia Music, a passionate supporter and defender of independent music and new talent with an encyclopaedic, genre-defying knowledge of music. He was a regular attendee at SXSW and his meticulously-organised spreadsheet planner was shared widely among Australian industry making the journey to Austin each year.

Best Emerging Artist: Miss Kaninna

Awarded to the local or international artist showing the most potential to attain their career goals (awarded on artistic merit and export readiness):

“Since releasing one of the year’s most vital debut singles with ‘Blak Britney’, Miss Kaninna’s rise has been super exciting to watch. Radical, sharp-witted and with a wild ear for hooks, Miss Kaninna played two of the most exhilarating sets of SXSW Sydney 2023. We’re thrilled to award Miss Kaninna with the first ever Justin Cosby Award for Best Emerging Artist.” said Reg Harris, Program Manager of SXSW Sydney Music Festival.

Best Performance: Otoboke Beaver

Best performance at an official SXSW Sydney event by a local or international act:

Japanese punk band Otoboke Beaver played to packed and rapturous audiences across their three shows during the week. Claire Collins, Head of Music, says: “Otoboke Beaver were the talk of the town this week and deservedly so. Wild, inventive and fun – they represent everything a breaking act at SXSW Sydney should be”.

The Prize was judged by the SXSW Sydney Music team and a range or international and local media and industry including:

  • Chris Palmer
  • David James Young
  • Sophie McComish – Body Type
  • Devin Landau – TBA Agency
  • Ben Suthers – Inertia
  • Vivan Vo – Small Fry
  • Tanya Ali – FBi Radio
  • Jordanne Chant
  • Chloe Melick – CRM
  • Rebecca Young – Collectiva Agency
  • Max Thomas – Secretly Canadian
  • Natasha Shehata – The Annex
  • Tait McGregor – TikTok
  • Sweetie Zamora – Remote Control Records


Hosted by Tom Cardy and proudly sponsored by Suntory -196, the SXSW Sydney Games Festival Awards Night recognized the outstanding achievement of the developers and creators taking pride of place in the Games Showcase.

Cue a huge round of applause for the inaugural SXSW Sydney Game Awards winners:

Best International Award: Paper Trail by Newfangled Games
This award recognizes exceptional games that have joined us from beyond Australia and New Zealand.

Best Student Game Award: EchoRush University: University of Technology Sydney
The Best Student Award celebrates the creativity, innovation, and dedication of the next generation of developers.

People’s Choice Award: Solium Infernum by League of Geeks
The People’s Choice Award is a testament to the game that captured your hearts and minds, as voted by attendees at SXSW Sydney.

Best Tabletop Game: Aethermon: Collect by Aethermon Studios
This award honours traditional games that create memorable moments of laughter, strategy, and storytelling around the tabletop.

Discovery Award: Nine Sols by Red Candle Games
The Discovery Award goes to the best title from early career developers and newer studios within the SXSW Sydney Games Showcase.

Game of the Year: DREDGE by Black Salt Games

The SXSW Sydney Game of the Year is selected from every title within the games showcase, as scored by a panel of industry judges. While every title in our showcase represents a marvel of artistry and design, this game is truly an exceptional accomplishment.


Best Short: Basri and Salma in a Never-Ending Comedy

Comedy directed by  Khoza Rizal and produced by John Badalu

Best Feature: You’ll Never Find Me

Directed by  Josiah Allen and Indianna Bell

Congratulations to all of our finalists and winners and a huge thank you to the 2023 SXSW Sydney Screen Festival judges!

Feature Award Judges:

  • Youn Sung-eun – Critic, Korean Association of Film Critics
  • Emma Cooper – Chair, Australians in Film
  • Gemma Gracewood – Editor-in-Chief, Letterboxd

Shorts Award Judges:

  • Santilla Chingapie – Filmmaker, journalist, author
  • Glendyn Ivin – Director, The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart
  • Amrita Hepi – Artist


One of SXSW Sydney’s core missions is to elevate incredible ideas and help creative people achieve their goals.

One of the ways we brought this to life at our inaugural event was through SXSW Sydney Pitch: a competition showcasing the next wave of ground-breaking, impactful, and exciting startups that will disrupt industries and change our lives for the better.

Congratulations to SXSW Sydney Pitch Overall Winner:

Nanotube Health

Congratulations to all SXSW Sydney 2023 winners

Thank you to everyone who took part in the various SXSW SXSW Sydney Awards and congratulations to our winners.