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St Kilda Film Festival celebrates its 40th year 


Mick Pacholli
Mick Pachollihttps://tagg.com.au
Mick created TAGG - The Alternative Gig Guide in 1979 with Helmut Katterl, the world's first real Street Magazine. He had been involved with his father's publishing business, Toorak Times and associated publications since 1972.  Mick was also involved in Melbourne's music scene for a number of years opening venues, discovering and managing bands and providing information and support for the industry.        

st kilda film festival celebrates its 40th year 

St Kilda Film Festival (SKFF) has today announced the full 2024 program including Australia’s top short films.

Presented by City of Port Phillip the program features more than 150 films to be shown over 52 screening sessions at venues across St Kilda and South Melbourne. The famous opening night event will be held at The Astor Theatre on Thursday 6 June featuring a superb selection of Australian short films that will amaze, amuse, and astound.

Drawn from a call for entries from hundreds of new, short films from around the country, this year’s red-carpet opening night gala event features a sensational program of comedies, powerful drama, animation, horror and fantasy, emceed by Brian Nankervis. The screening will be followed by an after party for a chance to rub shoulders with the filmmakers for a spectacular celebration of Australian short films.

This year’s program will take audiences on an incredible journey through some of Port Phillip’s iconic theatres including The Alex Theatre and The Astor Theatre, in addition to some unexpected venues such as South Melbourne Market. In 2024 SKFF has received record entries from First Nations filmmakers and the Festival is very privileged to be able to screen the work of these Australian filmmakers and showcase so many stories. Program highlights include:

A Robot’s Dreamdirector Morteza Halimi. In this animation, two robots, equipped with Artificial Intelligence, roam the post-apocalyptic world looking for humans to give them their purposes.

Blame The Rabbitdirector Elena Carapetis. After surviving a horrific assault by her husband, Helen uses the time of his incarceration to painstakingly rebuild herself into the entity that will have the most power over him: a beautiful woman. A modern take on the Gorgon myth about what happens when you disrespect the Divine Feminine.

Distant Spacedirector Rohan Jones (Australian premiere) In this sci-fi thriller, Robbie Scott is working for a commercial mining company on Mars. The vicissitudes of the alien Martian world and the commercial space base have dissolved his sense of humanity. He is morally and physically lost. Through an apparition of his daughter, his sense of humanity is restored, and he can be hopeful of rescue and redemption.

Edie and Audrey (pictured left)director Alexandra Millen (Australian premiere). An older sister takes her younger sister out of the house for a day of movies, arcade games and bowling as a distraction to a more ominous situation unravelling at home.

Esperance to Fremantledirector William Sebastian Turner. Not having seen his father since he was an infant, wayward teenager Rob searches for him in Fremantle, Western Australia. Tracking his father to a pub, Rob resolves to approach him as if he were a stranger, in order to discover who he really is and his reasons for leaving.

Finding Addisondirector Francisca Braithwaite. In the vibrant and carefree 90s, two best friends, Isabelle and Lucy are inseparable, the epitome of teenage adventure. When Lucy and Isabelle’s crushes, Steve and John, invite the girls to ‘hang out’, the carefree days of innocent laughter and flirtatious glances take an unexpected turn. Fast forward 31 years, and the past, once thought well hidden, finally comes knocking at the door. Finding Addison interweaves the lives and timelines of five women: Isabelle, Lucy, Addison, Lynnie and Jewel. The story transitions between the past and present, leaving an undeniable mark on those involved.

A highlight event as part of the First Nations program will be held at The Espy on Saturday 15 June: Through the Lens of Protest and Resistance. In this very special session – MC’d by Tasha James, Manager of Indigenous Collection and Archives for ABC – SKFF presents a snapshot of First Peoples’ fight for justice and equality through the moving image. The session includes No Way to Forget, directed by Richard Frankland, ASIO Makes a Movie, directed by Dr Alec Morgan and Babakiueriadirected by Don Featherstone. Musician, singer and songwriter, Jungaji will perform live with his band and he, with Richard Frankland will share their personal journeys.

This year SKFF has partnered with Dogmilk Collective to present a program of alternative and ambitious screen works. Dogmilk is an independent filmmaking collective dedicated to the promotion and production of alternative and ambitious cinema. The two-part program will be a multi-sensory, immersive experience that challenges the very notion of what cinema can be.

Other new sessions for 2024 include:  

First Nations in Conversation features bold storytelling that runs the cinematic gamut, from deeply personal tales of gender to poetic political statements and provocative social commentary. While these films by First Nations filmmakers can also be seen throughout the entire Festival program, this session brings them all together into the one session.

The Edge of Seventeen, where coming of age tales of love, juvenile delinquency, rebellion, identity, longing and more make up this emotional and moving program.

Ageing (Dis)gracefully presents the cream of the crop of stories about ageing, along with some excellent iPhone produced short films, detailing incredible moments in the lives of older people.

International Perspectives showcases stories with a great international eye. These are big-screen stories bursting with ambition and style.

Experiments in Film comprises two sessions of daring cinema that pushes itself to the edge of the form and beyond, filled with stylistic flourishes and laser-focused vision. Utilising a mix of analogue and digital techniques, they tackle dance, mysterious spaces, gender, and animation in ways equally striking and innovative.

Moving Portraits showcases portrait-based documentary that allows for an intimate glimpse into people’s lives. This collection brings to the screen films that explore art, music, other cultures and First Nations’ stories.

Captioned MixTape, in which all films are subtitled to help make SKFF accessible to all audiences, will feature films from across the full program and offer a fantastic tasting plate of short films for those seeking a little taste of everything.

Short to Feature matches the first short with the first feature of a range of well-known filmmakers including Jane Campion (Sweetie), Robert Connelly (The Bank), Tony Ayres (Sadness) and Richard Lowenstein (Strikebound).

All the familiar favourite showcases and programs are back for 2024 to take audiences on a diverse journey through the medium of short film, including:  

Australian Comedy Showcase is back, with three big sessions that will each get people laughing out loud at short films that take audiences on intergalactic journeys, face-to-face with alien life, and hurtling through themes a little closer to home, from motherhood, to crime, death, disaster, bogans, self-awareness, and more.

Pride Without Prejudice will return to the Victorian Pride Centre to showcase the LGBTIQA+ programAlways a sold-out program, audiences can expect absurd animations, even more absurd relationship comedies, fearless sexuality and a deeply moving documentary, plus complimentary post screening drinks.

Dark Matters is a must-see for those who like their cinema dark and dangerous. This program of thrillers and chillers journeys into deep space, body horror, the downside of technology, and the downright nasty.

International Family Animation Explosion features brand new family animations from the four corners of the globe, perfect for all ages and a fabulous introduction to the world of animated stories.

Australian Documentary Showcase is brimming with important stories, spread over two separate sessions. With a dash of social justice, a sprinkle of analogue love, dark gender politics, and hugely entertaining comedy, the Documentary Showcase has a special place in the SKFF Director’s heart.

Australian Crime Stories ranges from period pieces to action-packed throwdowns to films that reveal something of a tender side.

Brave New Worlds gives audiences the opportunity to experience works from daring filmmakers whose work provides a glimpse at the future of high-risk Australian filmmaking, presented over three separate sessions. From dynamic dance pieces to beautifully told international stories filled with detail, extraordinary First Nations stories, tender tales of buried emotion and more, this program sparkles with experimentation, ambition and purpose.

Australian Drama Showcase presents a diverse program of films capturing the issues and struggles that touch us all. Featuring powerful films that run the gamut from urgent social commentary to borderline horror to pitch-black comedy, alongside period pieces, relationship stories, misuse of technology and more, over five separate sessions.

Shifting the Gaze is a stunning body of work from the women and gender-diverse practitioners making waves in the Australian screen industry, presented by Women in Film and Television Victoria (WIFT Vic). Watch the best of female-led stories from across the nation, followed by a post-screening Q&A with many of these talented filmmakers.

Animation Showcase features several titles that are already garnering significant acclaim abroad, some that will bring a tear to the eye, some that will take audiences to other worlds and others that are deliciously crude. This session is guaranteed to please and is a great example of the strength and quality of animated filmmaking in this country.

Under the Radar is a SKFF competition showcasing the 11 best short films from young filmmakers across Australia, assessed, judged and organised by the City of Port Phillip’s FReeZA committee, who themselves are talented young creatives. The winner receives $1,000 prize money and the encouragement to keep creating and honing their craft. Under the Radar aims to support and elevate young people interested in pursuing careers in the arts.

Tales of Mystery and Imagination is presented over three separate sessions, jam-packed with sci-fi, fantasy, magical realism, and tall tales. Each of these stories is packed with enough ideas to power several features.

Tandem Tales is packed full of great performances and lean scripts that focus stories and audiences, with dynamic stories that anchored by only two lead performers. This surprising collection of two-handers has comedy, tender social realism, post-apocalyptic worlds and more.

Made in Victoria session #1 and #2 (presented by VicScreen) features films that encompass action, comedy, magical realism, poetic animation, period drama, teenage angst, tightly wound relationship drama and off-world animation. This is an evening not to be missed on the local screen calendar, and coupled with the Awards Ceremony hosted by Zoe Coombs-Marr and After Party on 16 June, is the perfect way to close out the 2024 program.

Cr Heather Cunsolo, Mayor of Port Phillip said: “We’re delighted that St Kilda Film Festival is back bigger and bolder than ever for its milestone 40th anniversary. We are proudly presenting a record number of short films over 10 jam-packed days at venues across St Kilda and South Melbourne and can’t wait to get the party started with opening night at the amazing Astor Theatre.”

Richard Sowada, SKFF Director said: “This program is the biggest the festival has ever mounted and it’s hardly surprising given the 40th anniversary celebration.

“In curating the program, I had the pleasure to be able to select from a record number of entries and although tough to do, what we’re delivering to audiences is a rare glimpse into the future of Australian cinema. It’s incredibly thrilling to experience and be a part of,” he said.

Caroline Pitcher, VicScreen CEO said“The 2024 St Kilda Film Festival program embraces the talent, diversity and cinematic excellence on display across Australia, whilst nurturing the next generation of film visionaries. As the country’s largest and longest running short film festival, VicScreen is proud to back this event as it celebrates four decades on Melbourne’s cultural calendar.”

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