Celebrating its quarter-century anniversary is the Flickerfest International Short Film Festival, beginning its 25th nationwide tour earlier this year in it hometown Sydney, before reaching Perth screens this week. With humble beginnings as a small college film festival, Flickerfest has evolved into a momentous opportunity for local writers, actors and directors to showcase their skills; its high standards and quality of films earning it substantial international attention and acclaim. Three categories screen at the Camelot Outdoor Cinema in Mosman Park over the next four nights, showcasing the best in Australian, International and Comedy Short Film.
Despite predating it by a year, and being generally considered Australia’s more reputable competition for budding filmmakers, it’s always stood in the shadow of its more glamorous, celebrity-backed cousin Tropfest. However; given Tropfest’s recent controversy surrounding its abrupt cancellation due to “financial difficulties” and subsequent resurrection through an eyebrow-raising plea for crowdfunding, perhaps the time has come at last for Flickerfest to earn its rightful recognition and support – it is, after all, the only Australian short film festival capable of submitting its entries abroad for Academy Award and BAFTA consideration. Here’s a few of the Australian short films on offer this year. For the rest? Well, you’ll have to head on down and check it out!
Written and directed by Alexander von Hofmann
Image copyright Omen Bird Pictures & Hometown Pictures
Beautifully shot and unnervingly ominous, Harvey’s Dream is in fact an adaptation of a lesser known short story by the master of the macabre himself, Stephen King. Janet (Carolyn McKenzie) prepares breakfast on an ordinary morning as Harvey (James Hagan) reminisces upon a distressing dream he had the night before. Hoffmann resonates as an up-and-comer to keep a close eye on; able to wring so much dread out of such a simple scenario, and transforming a modest anecdote into something simultaneously intriguing and terrifying. The elderly actors impress too; particularly McKenzie, whose reactions exemplify a true sense of unease.
Setting Them Straight
Directed by Kaleb McKenna
Image copyright Kaleb McKenna
You may have caught this short comedy at Revelation Film Festival last year at the Get Your Shorts On! section. To refresh your memory, here’s what we had to say about it:
As the title suggests Setting Them Straight follows Josh ( Brett Dowson), a young man who reveals to his parents that he is actually straight after living the majority of his life as gay. While most filmmakers choose to tiptoe around serious subjects, co-writers Kaleb McKenna and Brett Dowson dive in head-on to create a current and satirical story about the absurdity of sexual discrimination.
Setting them Straight was a great audience pleaser, and a nice way to open the Get Your Shorts On! category by challenging the status quo, and sharing a gorgeously over-the-top, yet humorous reaction toward a shift in point of view on a hot social issue.
Pale Blue Eyes
Directed by Joe Henderson
Image copyright Tanya Voltchanskaya & Cameron Whiteford
We loved Pale Blue Eyes when it screened last year at the People’s Choice selection for the WA Screen Awards. Highly recommended, here’s our review from last year:
A man walks into a bar, but what happens next is anything but a witty punchline. Pale Blue Eyes is a heart-pounding thriller from Joe Henderson, and it follows the events of one tragic night at a roadside diner in rural Western Australia.
Through a mixture of creative camerawork and pulsating sound editing, this chilling short builds a thick atmosphere of tension through even the subtlest of details; from the mismatched clothing, to his undisclosed motives, an air of mystery envelops our main character from the moment he steps foot in the claustrophobic setting.
It’s also a film that communicates so much in its short runtime. Like any captivating thriller, Pale Blue Eyes leaves you piecing together all the clues and making sense of it all at the very end. Slick and smart, this David Lynch inspired short balances both substance and style.
Main image copyright Flickerfest 2016