LIT­TLE GEMS

The St Kilda Film Fes­ti­val road­show fea­tures some of the best short films pro­duced in Aus­tralia. Tim Martain has a sneak peek.

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page -

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.

AF­TER­GLOW

( 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.

FLASH

( 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.

THE BIL­L­ABONG

( 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.

THE KISS

( 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

( 13.34min)

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.

BEE STING

( 15min)

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.

BURN­SIDE

( 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.

BEAR

( 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.

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