St Kilda Film Festival reveals best of 2020’s 100 Australian films

Some films just keep pushing through even though the selection of finalists for each festival may be very different. As in The Egg.

After a week of online gutzing, short film devotees will have their own opinions about the winners and losers at St Kilda. Here is the official list:

Best Australian short: The Egg

 One little girl. One giant egg. Day after dull day, under the punishing and watchful eye of an elderly woman, a young girl, bored and lonely in a muted world of foreign suburbia, becomes determined to claim a large Easter egg as her own. No matter the cost.

Director: Jane Cho
Producer: Jane Cho, Ilana Lazar
Cast: Kim Thien Doan, Gabrielle Chan

The Egg has already done very well — it won at MIFF 2019, followed that with top gong at the AACTAs and collected a Special Mention at Flickerfest.  Jane Cho is also an internationally recognised concert violinist with a lot of dramatic flair.  The production designer, Jacqui Schofield, was interviewed about the project by the Australian Production Designers Guild.

Best director: The Egg

High praise indeed.

Best young actor: The Egg

Starring Kim Thien Doan, now eight years old and the rock on which this story is based. She was also in Little Monsters, the kindergarten zombie feature directed by Abe Forsyth.

Best original score The Egg

Congratulations to Piers Burbrook de Vere who also did Little Monsters and Down Under. If you can live without pictures, he is interviewed at   Filmink, and is on Soundcloud (without The Egg).

Beyond the charm-powered gravity well of The Egg..

The Best Craft Award: Rebooted

 A stop motion animated skeleton, once a formidable villain of the silver screen and now a struggling actor, takes drastic measures when he learns the film for which he was created is being rebooted without him.

Director: Michael Shanks
Producer: Nicholas Colla, Chris Hocking

This film also won the Best Animation Award at Flickerfest. Michael Shanks was the VFX director on Lambs of God, the STAN series, and directed, co-wrote and has a credit on most other activities for The Wizards of Oz, the 6 by 15 minute fantasy comedy run on SBS in 2015. It was also produced by Nicholas Colla and Chris Hocking, along with Sumah Hurley.

But there’s more..

Best Animation: Rebooted

Given to Samuel Lewis as the stop motion animator and puppet builder. He also worked on Lost and Found, the other stop motion standout of the last few years.

Best Achievement in Editing: Rebooted

To Michael Shanks, Chris Hocking and Kevin Luk.

Here is the whole film.

And a fascinating behind the scenes..

Best Documentary: I Want to Make a Film About Women

 ‘I want to make a film about women’ is a documentary love letter to Russian constructivist women. It brings to life revolutionary women artists of the 1920s and speculates on what they said, did, and might have created had it not been for Stalin’s suppression.’

Director: Karen Pearlman
Producer: Richard James Allen , Karen Pearlman
Cast: Victoria Haralabidou, Inga Romantsova, Liliya May, Violette Ayad, Ever Sliter, Nadia Zwecker, Richard James Allen, Tug Dumbly, Jay Bailey, Clémence Dugué, Clarissa Harrison, Olivia Kingston, Billie Moffat.

Karen Pearlman is an editor, theoretician and teacher, filmmaker and a dancer from the beginning, known to many as a teacher, firstly at AFTRS and now at Macquarie University.

Best Achievement in Indigenous Filmmaking: Out of Range

Eager to impress his estranged son, a father is forced to slow down when their road trip is suddenly interrupted.

Director: John Harvey
Producer: Lydia Fairhall
Cast: Aaron Pedersen, Araluen Lee Baxter

John Harvey has.a varied background in theatre and film, both in drama and documentary, usually as a producer and the creative director of Brown Cabs. He produced the dance film Spear for Bangarra, which is a considerable achievement.

The film is available on SBS On Demand.

 Best Actor: Ailís Logan — Wine Lake

 A homeless Irish alcoholic and an artistic backpacker clash on a Sydney street. 

Director: Platon Theodoris
Producer: Platon Theodoris
Cast: Ailís Logan, Aaron Tsindos

Best Achievement in Cinematography: Aaron McLisky and Andrew Gough for The Sand That Ate the Sea

In the opal mining red dirt of Andamooka, South Australia, a son faces the memories of the mysterious disappearance of his father in a great flooding storm, while the same storm appears on his own horizon.

Director: Matthew Thorne
Producer: Matthew Thorne, Steven Garrett
Cast: Nicolai Lafayette, Sebastian Quilliam, Patrick Graham, Kate Rutherford, Lara Lukich

The Best Achievement in Screenplay: Lee Zachariah for Audio Guide

A woman is told the secrets of the world through an art gallery-issued audio guide.

Director: Chris Elena
Producer: Chris Elena, Kym Vaitiekus
Cast: Emma Wright, Nyx Calder, Lisa Malouf, Natasha Cooper

Lee  Zachariah first emerged on The Bazura Project for community TV, and is a writer, editor and director with a keen sense of social satire. Chris Elena has made five shorts in ten years; this film has done well in sci-fi circles.

Audio Guide also won the Audience Award this year.

The Best Achievement in Sound Post Production: Ramsay De Marco/Charby Ibrahim for Bright Lights – The Perils of the Pokies

 A 25 year addiction to poker machine gambling has a cost. Sharon lost almost everything… and very nearly her life. This short, fully animated documentary, voiced by Claudia Karvan, not only asks people to pause and re-think their next spin, but asks a broader question of those regulating the industry; How many suicides will it take to see genuine poker machine reform?

Director: Charby Ibrahim
Producer: Charby Ibrahim, Rob Innes, Jennifer Peedom (EP), Helen Gaynor (EP), Charlie Phillips (EP for The Guardian), Jacqui Edenbrow (EP for The Guardian)
Cast: Claudia Karvan 

The Under the Radar: Best Youth Short Film – Flip

 A juxtaposition of narratives exploring miscommunication, reminiscence and resolution

Director: Oliver Bailey and Oliver Crawford Smith
Producer: Oliver Bailey, Oliver Crawford Smith
Cast: Alan King, Jim Stewart, Nicholas Crawford Smith

The Best Regional Short Film award: Dissatisfaction by Campbell Mattinson

The Your Place Film Victoria Award: Fish and Chips by Michael Jones

Directors Choice Award: At Home In Barandudah (where?) by Rosaleen Cox

David Tiley was the Editor of Screenhub from 2005 until he became Content Lead for Film in 2021 with a special interest in policy. He is a writer in screen media with a long career in educational programs, documentary, and government funding, with a side order in script editing. He values curiosity, humour and objectivity in support of Australian visions and the art of storytelling.