One of the highlights for the Melbourne International Film Festival are the short films. With so many to watch it’s any wonder the jury have their work cut out for them. But that makes the result all that more special. For the winners across the seven categories, the film can be entered for an Oscar nomination. An achievement to be considered for the Melbourne International Film Festival let alone a winner.
The winners for the 70th Melbourne International Festival are:
City of Melbourne Grand Prix for Best Short Film – Murmurs of the Jungle.
In India’s Western Ghats, a tale older than time itself is unfolding as a grandmother imparts the ancient ways of their village to her young grandson. Sohil Vaidya’s mystical short film summons the ancient, wandering spirits of the forest and evokes the infinite cycle of life, death and rebirth.
VicScreen Erwin Rado Award for Best Australian Short Film – An Ostrich Told Me the World Is Fake and I Think I Believe It.
A charmingly droll and oddball short from Brisbane-based filmmaker Lachlan Pendragon, this Aardman-esque animation dives into the dreary existence of a young telemarketer who’s about to experience a very disconcerting revelation – thanks to a talking ostrich, no less! Clever and inventive, the short brims with a cheerfully lo-fi sense of life’s absurdity.
Award for Emerging Australian Filmmaker – Tremor.
German-based Australian filmmaker and MIFF Accelerator Lab alumnus Rudolf Fitzgerald-Leonard (Coral, MIFF 2015; Kin, MIFF 2012) directs this raw, unsettling and singular piece about Leon, a young disabled man who nearly drowns when he experiences a seizure during his water therapy. Uncomfortably real and exquisitely crafted, Tremor is a challenging work sure to start conversations.
Award for Best Fiction Short Film – Moshari.
Nuhash Humayun’s high-concept, higher-tension horror finds two sisters attempting to survive the end of the world by trapping themselves inside a moshari (mosquito net) – within which the real, blood-curdling apocalypse might be one of the sibling kind.
Award for Best Documentary Short Film – Will You Look at Me.
Shot with evocative detail on super-8 film, this intimate, autobiographical docu-fiction hybrid follows filmmaker Shuli Huang, who also narrates, as he returns to his hometown in search of himself. Will You Look at Me is a reckoning with his past as a queer youth in China and explores his complex relationship with his mother.
Award for Best Animation Short Film – Ice Merchants.
Every day, a father and his son parachute from their clifftop house and into the local village, where they sell the ice they produce to local customers. Gonzalez’s wonderful short uses impressively vertiginous angles, a striking colour palette and immersive sound design to tell a story that will make your heart skip a beat – and send you soaring.
Award for Best Experimental Short Film – Nazarbazi.
An affecting history of glances and hidden intimacies, this acclaimed short from talented Iranian filmmaker Maryam Tafakory (I Have Sinned a Rapturous Sin, MIFF 2018) deftly stitches together archival movie footage to create an experience that is emotional, sensory and intellectually rapturous.
For those of you who might be a bit time poor during this year’s festival, the short films are just for you. A short 10 minutes here or a short 30 minutes there there’s something for everyone. For those that want to see all the winners you can find them in the MIFF Shorts Package in the cinema. Otherwise, head online to MIFF Play to watch many more, all for free.
MIFF Play is available to stream Australia-wide 11-28 August at play.miff.com.au
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