The St Kilda Film Festival roadshow features some of the best short films produced in Australia. Tim Martain has a sneak peek.
Australia’s best short films are coming to Tassie.
THE St Kilda Film Festival is known as one of Australia’s premier short-film festivals, attracting the full spectrum of films, low budget to high budget, live action and animated.
As well as showing the immense skill of our local filmmakers, these shorts prove that in the hands of a skilled cast and crew, it is often possible to tell a better story in 15 minutes than some blockbusters tell in two hours.
To make sure St Kilda doesn’t get all the fun, every year the festival sends a hand-picked batch of its best short films on the road for a national tour of regional cinemas around the country.
This year, 11 films will screen in Wynyard, Launceston, Cygnet and Hobart so Tasmanians can get a taste of what the St Kilda Film Festival had to offer this year.
And there is not a weak link to be found in this specially selected group of shorts, as different as each one is, they are all brilliant in their own way.
Even if one does not sound like your cup of tea at first, chances are it will endear itself to you within the first few minutes if you at least give it a shot.
So you won’t find any star ratings for any of these short films because, in my opinion, they are all well worth your time and attention and you will not regret any of them.
( 14.53min) Director-screenwriter: Nadine Garner Cast: Nicholas Bell, Heather Mitchell, Pia Prendiville, Damien Richardson A YOUNG woman meets with an older man to tell him she has not terminated her pregnancy. Afterglow starts out as a rather cliched interaction between the older man and the young woman he was having an affair with, but turns into something surprisingly touching. The simplicity of this vignette makes its unexpected depth that much more affecting.
THE TELEGRAPH MAN
( 14.08min) Director: James Khethie Screenwriter: Victoria Wharfe Mcintyre Cast: Jack Thompson, Gary Sweet, Sigrid Thornton St Kilda Film Festival 2011 Winner, Best Original Score. IT IS World War II in Australia and the once-popular telegram man has become a figure of fear and repulsion because he is the one responsible for bearing message after message containing bad news. Jack Thompson plays the title role in this sweetly melancholy short. His character is developed with impressive depth in the space of just a few minutes with simple, intimate scenes. People will always shoot the messenger, but
The Telegraph Man shows us what it feels like to be shot.
NIK & NED
( 5.37min) Director-screenwriter: Lara Van Raay Cast: Nik Dow, Ned the dog THIS brief documentary tells the story of a well-trained dog off the leash and rounding up traffic on the streets of Melbourne and his bikeriding owner. Ned is a kelpie, a dog bred to round up sheep. But his owner, Nik, has instead trained Ned to respond to commands to keep him safe and nearby while riding his pushbike. A classic example of how everyday people are often the most interesting, this film is a delightful snapshot of a close friendship.
( 4.29min) Director-writer-animator: Glenn Hatton IN THIS animated short, a greybearded tourist is exploring and taking photos when his enthusiasm gets him accidentally tangled up in a running race. The animation style is unique with soft watercolour backdrops and crisp, angular characters, making its fresh look a real pleasure to watch. Lively, breezy and very funny, this little cartoon packs a lot of laughs into its brisk, fast-paced running time.
( 11.11min) Director-screenwriter: Jeff Asselin Cast: Mark Craig Hyde Smith, Dale Isaac Money, Jim Lee Mcdonald THIS stark, dark short is about a timid young boy who is forced to overcome his fears to help his best friend. The cinematography is gorgeous, with sharp contrasts of light and dark in earthy Aussie bush tones, and some entrancing underwater shots. The sense of menace builds rapidly through some deceptively banal events, and the point where it crosses into really sinister territory has quite an impact, as does its climax.
WHEN THE WIND CHANGES
( 17.10min) Director: Alethea Jones Screenwriter: Richard Davies Cast: David Lawson, Richard Davies, Tim Phillipps, Caroline Lee, Frank Magree, Andrew S. Gilbert, Christopher Bunworth, Cara Gallagher
St Kilda Film Festival 2011 Winner, Best Comedy and Audience Award.
DROUGHT has all but destroyed the Lake Denial charter boat business and three mates find their tempers fraying as they struggle to survive. But while taunting Blandy with a teasing song, Jack and Kevin are struck by a strange curse when the wind changes. The premise is absurd and the story quite silly but this nutty little comedy is a real screamer. The gag probably wouldn’t hold up much longer than 17 minutes but these guys blitz a hell of a lot of laughs out of this very Australian comedy.
( 15.40min) Director-screenwriter: Ashlee Page Cast: Nicole Gulasekharam, Briony Kent St Kilda Film Festival 2011 Winner, Best Short Film, Best Director. ON A stifling hot night, two teenage girls fuelled by alcohol and raging hormones dive into a fire water tank in the bush to cool off. And things go horribly wrong. A lot rests on the shoulders of the two young actors in this film and they carry it well, delivering two believable and intense performances. The tension mounts rapidly and I caught myself holding my breath several times.
With its multifaceted portrayal of human drives and emotions, this is a worthy winner of its categories.
MINNIE LOVES JUNIOR
Directors-screenwriters: Andy Mullins and Matt Mullins
Cast: Lartrell Stuart, Wyntah Shaw
St Kilda Film Festival 2011 Winner, Best Achievement in Indigenous Filmmaking and Best Achievement in Cinematography.
THIS adorable tale of young love examines that age-old question: just what does a girl have to do to get a boy’s attention? Junior is so busy with his hobby, collecting odds and ends from local fishing boats, that he fails to notice Minnie has a bit of a crush on him. She tries everything she can think of but it is Junior’s hobby that might give her that one last shot. The kids are wonderful and it is surprising how easily you can get caught up in their awkward first interactions.
Director-screenwriter: Heath Davis Cast: Brendan Cowell, Matilda Brown, Charlie Fraser, Nicole Bonfield
IN THIS unusual love-triangle comedy-drama, a father and his primary school-aged son find themselves competing for the attentions of an attractive teacher. Cowell and Fraser have a wonderful chemistry together and it’s difficult to know who to cheer for as both turn out to have quite touching reasons for falling in love with Ms Cunliffe. I couldn’t help feeling a little jilted by the abrupt ending, which feels almost unfinished. But as a brief sketch of a moment in three people’s lives, Bee Sting captures some deep emotions.
( 17.16min) Director: Robert Paterson
Screenwriters: Robert Paterson and Justin Evans
Cast: Michael Burnside, Cameron L’Estrange
IN 2004, after the latest in a terrible losing streak, Richmond Football Club coach Danny Frawley was spat on by an enraged fan as he left the field. The moment was captured by TV and newspaper cameras and the ugly incident sparked almost hysterical outrage. But thanks to poor placement of a photo on a page in the Herald-Sun, Richmond fan Michael Burnside found himself being framed for the incident; a photo showed him yelling but he was not the spitter. This doco sets the record straight, with Burnside telling of the harassment from members of the public and the police during his ordeal, before the actual spitter was eventually caught and Burnside’s name cleared.
( 10min) Director: Nash Edgerton
Screenwriters: Nash Edgerton and David Michod
Cast: Nash Edgerton, Teresa Palmer A FITTING end to the national tour line-up, this brutal little comedy is the cinematic equivalent of someone sneaking up behind you and popping a brown paper bag. Jack has a new girlfriend. She gets out of bed early one morning, clearly angry with him about something. She leaves the house, leaving Jack behind. From there, it’s a rapid-fire, insane sequence of events that will leave you laughing from shock if nothing else. Brilliant.