Seven shorts honoured by MIFF
Seven films have been recognised for their strength, technicality and ingenuity in the 64th Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) best shorts awards.
The jury consisting of producer Anna McLeish, author and writer Christos Tsiolkas and Rialto Distribution’s Hayley Weston awarded the following films:
The RMIT University Award for Best Experimental Short Film went to French film Tehran-geles by director Arash Nassiri and producer Eric Prigent, in which a futuristic vision of Tehran is constructed using aerial shots of Los Angeles at night. The jury said, “Nassiri’s astonishing and mesmerising film, that blurs the lines between animation and the real, between science fiction and documentary, is a visually inventive exploration of what the future of the moving image might look like.”
Pond5 Award for Best Documentary Short Film was given to Nowhere Line: Voices from Manus Island by director/producer Lukas Schrank, in which animation is used to depict recorded interviews with two men detained on the Manus Island Processing Centre. “In this eloquent and inventive short film, animation and surreptitiously recorded telephone conversations with asylum seekers convey the full horror of the events on Manus Island that led to the death of an Iranian asylum seeker. In bearing witness with such authority and with such skill, this film honours the best of what is possible in the documentary form”, said the jury.
The MIFF Award for Best Animation Short Film was awarded to Russian director Konstantin Bronzit and producers Alexander Boyarsky and Sergey Selyanov for We Can't Live Without Cosmos. The jury said, “this wondrous animated short reminds us the craft of storytelling is often key to our joy in experiencing film. The animation is simple and naïve, the story is set in a child-like imagining of an astronaut’s world, but this lyrical tale about friendship and filial love unfolds in a wordless visual language that will entrance an audience of any age. This is a magical work, and we think it is unforgettable.”
Cinema Nova’s Award for Best Fiction Short Film went to When the Dogs Talked by director Elizabeth A Povinelli and produced by the Karrabing Indigenous Corporation and Tess Lea. The jury said, “Of all the short films in MIFF this year, When the Dogs Talked was the work that most intelligently, astutely and passionately took on this question to ask how we tell our stories, why we tell our stories and from where do our stories emerge.
"There is a roughness to this film but that is integral to its success. It asks us to think through the complex and fraught contradictions involved in speaking Indigenous myth and truth in a still contested colonial space, in an Australian cinematic landscape that has privileged the settler story, the conquest story, the rational and European story. In making us think through the question of what truth might be, this film is an outstanding example of challenging the very assumptions that underlie our notions of fiction.”
The Swinburne Award for Emerging Australian Filmmaker was awarded to David Easteal for his film Monaco (which he co-produced with Asuka Sylvie).
The jury declared that “on the evidence of this film Easteal is a born filmmaker, and one who understands that realism, when executed with integrity and care, can be truly poetic. There is a quiet excitement that comes from viewing a work that reveals such assured filmmaking talent. One cannot wait to see what this director will do next. But regardless of the future, Monaco is in itself a terrific achievement and already indicates that Easteal is one of the finest directors working in this country.”
Film Victoria’s Erwin Rado Award for Best Australian Short Film was given to Oscar Wilde’s The Nightingale and The Rose by directors Brendan Fletcher, Del Kathryn Barton and producers Angie Fielder and Brendan Fletcher, who created a haunting adaptation of Wilde's short story about the price of love.
It features an original soundtrack by Sarah Blasko and the voices of Mia Wasikowska, Geoffrey Rush and David Wenham. The jury said, “This beautiful animated short is a collaboration between filmmaker, visual artist, musician, and an outstanding voice cast, and everyone involved is at the very top of their game. The visuals are sensuous and often breathtaking, and the score and sound are exemplary. This reinterpretation of Wilde’s dark fairytale has its own visionary potency but is also faithful to the melancholy and heart-breaking power of the original tale.”
The City of Melbourne Grand Prix for Best Short Film was bestowed on Austrian director/producer Patrick Vollrath for Everything Will Be Okay. The jury said, “it is a devastating emotive force. The direction is assured and controlled, the script is a wonder of the small telling detail, and the performances are utterly authentic and compelling. Vollrath’s film takes the emotional violence and damage that can tear families apart – all in the name of love – and crafts a work that refuses easy tabloid conclusions. Economically, with humanity and insight, it reveals the tragedy within the domestic. It is a superb example of the art of the short film, of how the universal can be expressed concisely, of how the fiction film can reveal uncomfortable and complex truths.”
The winners shared in a total cash prize pool of $42,000.
The MIFF Shorts Awards are Academy®, BAFTA and AACTA accredited. The winners of the Best MIFF Short, Best Australian and Best Documentary awards are eligible to submit their film for the 87th Academy Awards® in 2015.