St Kilda Film Fest reveals lineup

Catch poetic documentaries, boundary-pushing animation, and re-imaginings of dark history at the 39th St Kilda Film Festival.

The St Kilda Festival will return for its 39th year from Friday 27 May–Sunday 5 June 2022, starting with what looks to be a ripper of an opening night at the Astor Theatre.

The opening night gala will feature handpicked short films from all over Australia, showcasing all kinds of stories from dynamic drama, horror, animation, and documentary. 

Read: Full list of St Kilda Film Festival 2021 award winners and nominations

Opening night

The opening short film line-up includes:

  • Freedom Swimmer (director Olivia Martin McGuire) a hybrid, poetic documentary interweaving hand-drawn animation and film, which tells the story of a grandfather’s perilous swim from China to Hong Kong during the Cultural Revolution.
  • Hatchback (director Riley Sugars) a new black comedy about Vince (Stephen Curry) attempting to clean up a dead body for the mob, but when he enlists the help of his dim-witted brother-in-law Ted (Jackson Tozer), things don’t go to plan.
  • Finding Jedda (director Tanith Glynn-Maloney) where two girls go head-to-head for the role of a lifetime, in a reimagining of the 1954 auditions for the iconic Australian film Jedda.
  • There’s Someone Here (director Ryan de Rooy) about a young mother’s paranoia as she slowly discovers that a presence is looming
  • Nest (director James Hunter) where an isolated father haunted by his child’s cries of hunger takes up work as a timber feller only to be stopped by a mysterious alarm coming from deep in the woods.
  • Ishmael (director Toby Morris)
  • We’re Doing Well (director Andrew Mills), winner of Step Right Up Audience Choice at the 31st MQFF Awards 2021
  • Thomas Rides in an Ambulance (director Jamieson Pearce)

Read: AFTRs student film scores world premiere at Cannes

Don’t miss

Bunker: The Last Fleet. Image: SKFF

Among the not-to-miss screenings is the premiere of Australian Indigenous Sci-Fi short Bunker: The Last Fleet.

Bunker is a reimagining of the arrival of British ships on Australian shores, in a dystopian future where Australia’s First Nations people are the last survivors of a terrifying alien invasion.

Filmed entirely in the South Australian desert on Kaurna land, Bunker is a shining example of the unique storytelling and quality of production that can result from authentic collaboration with First Nations communities, with the team working closely with Kaurna Elders, Fred Agius, Katrina Karlapina Power and a community of cultural advisors.

Bunker: The Last Fleet is a story about hope, humanity and survival. My character Tjarra is a powerful, strong and proud Nunga woman determined to take back what is thought to be lost,’ said lead actor, writer and producer Natasha Wanganeen (Rabbit Proof FenceCargo). ‘Just like during the production process, the knowledge and leadership of Elders and the support of community is critical to the story’.

Conceived as a proof of concept for a feature film, Bunker is the passion project of South Australian filmmakers Rowan Pullen (Arc Raider) and Stephen Potter (Room 6). Pullen and Potter worked alongside a talented team of creatives from SA, WA and NSW to bring the story to life on screen, including renowned Perth executive producer Ian Hale (The Xrossing, Greenfield, The Furnace), who recently joined the project.

Read: Films by Indigenous Australian women to stream now

More films than you can shake a stick at

The jam-packed festival program also includes sections dedicated to LGBTQIA+ films, animated films, documentaries, family films and feminist dramas.

Of particular note is Under the Radar, a SKFF competition showcasing the 10 best short films from young filmmakers across Australia. The winner will walk away with $1,000 prize money and the encouragement to keep creating and honing their craft.

Victorian Pride Centre will host the LGBTQIA+ program Pride Without Prejudice, containing beautiful cinematic lines, moving relationships, social comment, an inspirational and moving personal documentary and a festival favourite comedy. And Made in Victoria #1 and #2 will feature a program packed with local films that push boundaries, toy with expectation, and demand attention.

There’ll also be some rareties on screen, and a night of conversation with Aboriginal Australian stage, TV and film actor, Kelton Pell (The Circuit).

For more information and tickets to sessions, head to the St Kilda Film Festival website.

Silvi Vann-Wall is a journalist, podcaster, and filmmaker. They joined ScreenHub as Film Content Lead in 2022. Twitter: @SilviReports