St Kilda Film Festival

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By: Brad Every

Over the last few weeks, in between sipping my soy cappuccino and catching up on the latest season of Game of Thrones, I’ve had the pleasure of immersing myself in the world of the short film. The St Kilda Film festival, which has a long standing tradition of bringing together a hundred of the best Australian short films, has again delivered in what is a checkerboard of different genres, transporting cinema-goers from sci-fi into fantasy then to drama, all in the space of a couple of hours each night.

The opening night started with a bang in the massive Palais Theater, in the heart of St Kilda, featuring a selection of films shown during the festival, such as: ‘Life on Tape,’ directed by Oscar Strangio, and ‘A Writer and Three Script Editors Walk Into a Bar,’ directed and produced by Mathew Saville. The rest of the festival developed into a whirlwind of films and with the inclusion of the forum series, that had various industry professionals from every side of the table to discuss the various elements of the film industry, it was very valuable if you really wanted to discover what makes a great film.

At the heart of the festival though are the films, in terms of the quality, I think what we often forget is how much this medium really moves us. It gets us back to the source of why we make films, why we have the passion to go to all the effort and extent of telling that unique story to the viewer.

It really is the kindred spirit of childhood dreams and inspirations that really shines through when we tell these stories. Sometimes I think that we have been spoilt on Hollywood feature films and not given ourselves the time of day to get amongst the short form. It’s really here that we can appreciate story telling at its finest, because if you can’t tell your story in less than 20mins then you can’t move your audience.

Over the duration of the festival, some films just don’t hit the mark: they twist and turn, the sound might be great and the cinematic setting might be amazing, but if your not really telling the story, then what’s the point. I think this is really the problem associated with Hollywood filmmakers; big action set pieces, massive sound design, good looking actors, but nothing, not a zip of story line in sight (or a rehashed one, cough… ‘The Hangover II or III’).

What we are really missing in a film is the experience that we share, the commonality; it’s the scenario that we empathise with. It’s about wanting to feel and be transported, and experience empathy, fear, joy or happiness collectively. The festivals overall compliment of films really are amazing, and all the great dedication goes to the festival director Paul Harris.

This is definitely another event that you should put in your calendar for next year, having missed the St Kilda Film Festival the last couple of years, I definetly won’t be missing another one.

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