St Kilda 2013 Preview: 13 Essential Shorts

Simon de Bruyn, Contributing Writer
The St Kilda Short Film Festival is turning 30 this year, and to celebrate it is running an extended 10 day program that includes 100 Australian short films, a special program of music videos and retrospective screenings, industry open days and workshops, plus four sidebars showcasing the best of the iconic South By Southwest Film Festival. All in all there will be about 150 shorts and close to 40 music videos, so how does one figure out what to watch amid all the choices? 

Working at Twitch and its comrade company XYZ Films I get to watch a hell of a lot of short films, many long before they see the light of day. I've picked 13 shorts from across the Australian program that I feel are essential viewing at the 2013 festival. Some will rock the house while others are bold films with something to say, and yet others are by people who just keep making fantastic stuff. Some I've seen several times, a few I've never seen but have been looking forward to. They are cherry picked from within wider programs so hopefully by seeking these out you'll discover other great shorts that play alongside them.

Another great thing about St Kilda is that it's an event that takes care of both audiences and filmmakers so well (in a way that other festivals should observe - brilliant, crisp projection for a start) that many, many directors attend. Of the below films I've ascertained that at least half the filmmakers will be attending the festival, and the Astor is such an incredible place to hang around before and after the sessions that there's a good chance you can meet and chat to the filmmakers you're impressed by, all while drinking fine wine in art deco heaven. I've included an image of the cinema lounge above - where I'll be spending about half the festival no doubt.

So without further ado, here is my selection of 13 essential short films:

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My Mind's Own Melody
The story of a man's journey into a world where love is communicated through song.

2012 / 29.30mins
Genre Drama
Director Josh Wakely
Director of Photography Andrew McLeod
Producer Lauren Edwards
Screenwriter Josh Wakely
Principal Cast David Lyons, Kate Beehan

This just might be my most anticipated film in the whole festival. Written and directed by Josh Wakely and with original music by former Silverchair frontman Daniel Johns, this looks epic and amazing. Watch the trailer for this below.

SCREENING DETAILS
Friday 24 May 7:45 PM
The Astor Theatre

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Prick
A guy on the pull gets taken for the ride of his life.

Australian premiere.
2013 / 4mins
Genre Drama
Director Abe Forsythe
Director of Photography Hugh Miller
Producer Abe Forsythe, Cara Gereghty, Josh Quong Tart
Screenwriter Abe Forsythe
Principal Cast Brett Stiller, Christiaan Van Vuuren

I've seen this and love it and can't wait for this to rock the Astor into shock. Abe Forsythe is one of the country's most exciting directors and it's nice to see him start to explore darker territory while still maintaining his wry edge.

SCREENING DETAILS
Friday 24 May 7:45 PM
The Astor Theatre

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Ruby
Three-year-old Ruby doesn't let cancer stand in the way of being a child.

Director Summer DeRoche won Best Documentary at SKFF 2012.
2013 / 3mins
Genre Documentary
Director Summer DeRoche
Director of Photography Hollie Fifer
Producer Summer DeRoche
Screenwriter Summer DeRoche
Principal Cast Ruby Clements

Summer DeRoche's short documentary The Globe Collector was one of the highlights of the 2012 festival and this year she's back with another short doco for Opening Night.

SCREENING DETAILS
Saturday 25 May 6:45 PM
The Astor Theatre

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Dumpy Goes to the Big Smoke
Apart from a few cats, there's nothing nice about this place.

Won the Rouben Mamoulian Award for Best Director in the 2012 Dendy Awards (SIFF) and the Best Director Award at Flickerfest.
2012 / 14mins
Genre Drama
Director Mirrah Foulkes
Director of Photography Adam Arkapaw
Producer David Michod, Michael Cody
Screenwriter Mirrah Foulkes
Principal Cast Anthony Hayes, Emily Tomlins, Eden Falk

Mirrah Foulkes is the latest addition to the acclaimed Blue Tongue Films crew, and this short not only unites a hell of a lot of talent associated with that group, but brings with it some significant acclaim. Plus it's always great to see a Melbourne film with a hometown crowd.

SCREENING DETAILS
Saturday 25 May 6:45 PM
The Astor Theatre

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Tidiest Town 2002
Tidiest Town 2002 is a story of a small town that suffers from a conflicted culture and a difficult socio-economic situation. Filmed over a year in Seymour, the characters' stories are real.

Selected to be screened at Swinburne's Private ACMI Graduate Screening.
2013 / 9.50mins
Genre Documentary
Director Anne-Maree Shelton
Director of Photography Charlotte Nicholson
Producer Anne-Maree Shelton
Screenwriter Anne-Maree Shelton
Principal Cast Jimmy

This is a short I've picked on a whim based on my affection for country Victoria and seeing this up on screen. I'm hoping for a raw, honest, poignant and amusing look at small town life from the point of view of the town's youth.

SCREENING DETAILS
Tuesday 28 May 6:30 PM
The Astor Theatre

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Tender
Max and Cate meet and straight away it's on, with no restraint. But are they fooling around or falling in love?

International premiere at Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival International Competition 2013.
2011 / 14.59mins
Genre Drama
Director Jessica Redenbach
Director of Photography Bonnie Elliot
Producer Cecilia Ritchie
Screenwriter Jessica Redenbach
Principal Cast Angus Sampson, Katie-Jean Harding

I'm very intrigued by this after seeing Jessica's earlier work years ago. This is another short that arrives at the fest with tonnes of festival garlands and acclaim.

SCREENING DETAILS
Tuesday 28 May 8:15 PM
The Astor Theatre

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Men of the Earth
Traffic is delayed on the edge of a road works site, but what are the councilmen doing?

Screened at Rotterdam, Clermont-Ferrand, Gijon, AFI in LA and Leeds Film Festivals.
2012 / 9.54mins
Genre Drama
Director Andrew Kavanagh
Director of Photography Kai Smythe
Producer Ramona Telecican
Screenwriter Andrew Kavanagh
Principal Cast Paul Bennett

Anyone else who has seen Andrew Kavanagh's previous short At the Formal might have a hint for what's in store, This film continues Andrew's theme of exploring strange rituals practised in unassuming situations, and has grown on me more every time I've seen it.

SCREENING DETAILS
Tuesday 28 May 8:15 PM
The Astor Theatre

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Joey
He steals, he sells, he scores - day in, day out. But today is different.

2012 / 17mins
Genre Drama
Director John Evagora
Director of Photography Marin Johnson
Producer Polly Staniford
Screenwriter John Evagora
Principal Cast Steve Mouzakis

Gun producer Polly Staniford unites with 296 Smith Street director John Evagora to create another black & white story set between the cracks of Melbourne life. 

SCREENING DETAILS
Friday 31 May 8:15 PM
The Astor Theatre

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Why Ryan Is On Detention
Listen no one hit him hard out there, and I did my best to bring him around. So wipe your eyes and let's go.

Based on poems from The Learning Curve by John Foulcher. From the creators of 2012 St. Kilda Film Festival Best Comedy Nominee, Picking Up At Auschwitz.
2013 / 10.20mins
Genre Drama
Director Alice Foulcher
Director of Photography Ryan A. Lloyd
Producer Bill Allert, Gregory Erdstein
Screenwriter Gregory Erdstein, Alice Foulcher
Principal Cast Jimmy Taylor, Charles Grounds

From dynamic duo Gregory Erdstein and Alice Foulcher, this is a fantastic short story about repercussions. One that's best to go into knowing little, this it yet another step forward for these filmmakers and shows they are talent to keep a close eye on.

SCREENING DETAILS
Friday 31 May 8:15 PM
The Astor Theatre

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Good Grief
Five real people share their true stories of losing something precious and what it has taught them about living.

2012 / 7.54mins
Genre Animation, Documentary
Director Fiona Dalwood
Director of Photography Fiona Dalwood
Producer Jonno Katz
Screenwriter Fiona Dalwood
Principal Cast Daniel Michael, Alex de Vos, Sarah de Vos. Dana Katz, Andrew O'Sullivan

Director Fiona Dalwood made this short clay animation after reflecting on grief in the wake of her mother's death. I'm really looking forward to seeing this film.

SCREENING DETAILS
Saturday 1 June 1:15 PM
The Astor Theatre

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Cedric & Hope
Cedric's life is just perfect. That is until his dim princess girlfriend Faith leaves him for the prospect of some battle-hardened knights.

Made over five years filmed over two. Winner Best Animation at CPIFF finalist at Dragon*con.
2012 / 13.50mins
Genre Comedy, Animation
Director Pierce Davison
Director of Photography NA
Producer Jacob Fjord
Screenwriter Pierce Davison
Principal Cast David Smyth, Kylie Milne, John Safran, James Magnus

As much as I love the work of Oh Yeah Wow, this fantastic, wryly funny clay animation short shows that Pierce Davison should be the next one to get a pile of money to make the next stop-motion Australian feature film. 

SCREENING DETAILS
Saturday 1 June 1:15 PM
The Astor Theatre

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First Contact
Near a remote salt lake a father and daughter eke out a frugal existence. Their calm world is shattered with the discovery of a mysterious stranger.

Screened at eighteen overseas festivals including Georgia (EU), Palm Springs, Raindance and Beijing.
2012 / 20.58mins
Genre Drama
Director Matt Richards
Director of Photography Matt Wood
Producer Brendan Guerin
Screenwriter Matt Richards
Principal Cast Isabel Macmaster, Olaf Savage, Ian Harry

Another fantastic short from Victoria, finally screening back here after making its way around the world. This is a great one. 

SCREENING DETAILS
Saturday 1 June 3:00 PM
The Astor Theatre

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Shit On the Liver (King Parrot music video)
It's been a good day, chasing piglets and making plans to whip up a batch of fresh bonox... until an inspector comes along to ruin everything. 

Producer: Amelia Smith, Matthew Young
Director: Dan Farmer
DOP: Dan Farmer

While I could list a string of music videos here, I think Dan Farmer's strange, crazed music video for King Parrot both functions as a short film and will be a fierce shot in the arm (and face) for any festival-goer that takes themselves too seriously.

SCREENING DETAILS
This screens as part of SoundKILDA
Thursday 30 May 8:30 PM
The Astor Theatre


The St Kilda Film Festival begins tonight Thursday 23 May with a gala opening event at St Kilda's Palais, and runs until Saturday 1 June 2013 at the magnificent Astor Theatre.
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