Aussie short Shan and Kate to make world debut at Palm Springs ShortFest

22 June, 2016 by Jackie Keast

Shan and Kate.

Aussie short Shan and Kate will make its world premiere at the Palm Springs International ShortFest this week.


The Academy Award accredited Shortfest is the largest of its kind in North America, screening over 300 films.

Speaking to IF from Palm Springs, producer Bronte Jovevski described debuting at the festival as a “literal dream come true.”

“We’re still pinching ourselves,” she said.

Set in 1996, Shan and Kate is a teen comedy that follows best friends Shan (Jenna Owen, Puberty Blues) and Kate (Chelsea Williamson, The Reckoning, Broken Contract), through the school week leading up to their first big high school party.

“It’s very much a movie about best friendship and dealing with crushes,” said Jovevski.

The short was written and directed by Jovevski’s own best friend, Zoë Rae (Slaughterhouse Bride). The screenplay was based on a story that Jovevski wrote while studying at UTS.

“While I was writing the short story we lived together; we were bouncing ideas back and forth for it, and we just thought it would live on the screen. So I gave the story to Zoe to adapt, which was exciting, and lots of evolutions took place,” said Jovevski.

One of those evolutions was setting the film in the 90s.

“We set it in the 90s because we just thought it would be cool and interesting to see a friendship where texting didn’t exist; you’d have that night before going to school where you wouldn’t be able to talk to your best friend until the next day,” she said.

The film, which will screen as part of “90’s Smells Like Teen Spirit” program at the Palm Springs festival, has an aesthetic that matches the era in which it is set.

The film has a grainy, pastel colour palette influenced by the 90s classics that Jovevski and Rae love, such as Reality Bites and Twin Peaks, and is matched by an alt-rock soundtrack .

Going into production, representation of women – on and off screen – was something both Jovevski and Rae were passionate about and made a priority.

“We worked with a lot of great women.We were really happy to have had a female sound-mixer and a female colour-grader, which are pretty hard to come by.

"It was really important to us that we maintained a 50/50 quota when it came to gender in our crew,” said Jovevski.

“We wanted to make it clear that we were two women, telling a story about women, for women. It just seemed like common sense to make sure that we had as many women on our crew as possible."

Shan and Kate will be among a host of Australian films to screen at ShortFest. The program also includes a session based on the best of the St Kilda Film Festival and a “G’day” session that showcases Aussie filmmakers.

Shan and Kate will screen in Sydney at Dendy Newtown on July 5. More info: