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St Kilda Film Festival returns to the big screen with special events, workshops and premieres

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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 returns to the big screen with special events, workshops and premieres

St Kilda Film Festival (SKFF) returns on Thursday 1 June for 12 days, presenting a jam-packed series of films, workshops, panels, special events and premieres from filmmakers across Australia. Presented by City of Port Phillip, upcoming highlights include:

The ever-popular FREE Filmmaker Development Day: The Big Picture will continue to help budding creatives hone their craft at JMC Academy’s Park Street Campus. Audiences can upskill with a unique series of hands-on workshops, forums, panels, exhibitions, screenings and Q&As on a diverse range of filmmaking topics with some of Australia’s top emerging and established film talents. Saturday 3 June

A person sitting on a couchDescription automatically generatedHighlights of the Filmmaker Development Day include: Danger is my Business: Working with Practical FX. Whether it’s working with explosives and pyrotechnics, stunts, sharps, armoury or swords, the filmmaking environment can be as fraught as it is exhilarating. Featuring panellist Philli Anderson (one of the few female stunt-people working in Australia), Firearm safety for Actors is a rare opportunity to learn about firearm safety and is a must for anyone intending to work with firearms on a production. This fantastic in-depth and hands-on workshop is designed to literally give filmmakers a feel for the firearms, get an understanding of how they work and what is needed to ensure safety and best practice.

“What I’m loving about this year’s program is the sheer volume and diversity of content – it’s flowered beautifully post COVID” says Festival Director Richard Sowada. “Every corner of the program is packed and I’m especially proud of the opportunities we can provide to new and emerging filmmakers not just through the quality of the screening program, but through the high-level professional development programs that explore every corner of the screen sector.”

This year’s program is stacked with special events and screenings. Expect to laugh out loud with the Australian Comedy Showcase, from surreal mindbenders, absurdist masterpieces, friendly banter, arthouse hysterics and catastrophic slapstick. Friday 2 June, The Astor Theatre. Comedy highlights include:

The premiere of The Outside Dunny (Director Walter Smithers) – the history of Australia’s iconic outside dunny is explored through the lifespan of one alfresco loo and the tenants who’ve used it.

Also premiering at SKFF, Butter: A Love Story (Director Anita Lee) tells the story of an artificial, margarine-obsessed world, where lonely Agatha Green has her world turned upside down when she finds love in butter (pictured above).

Another premiere, Just Alright (Director Gregory Kelly) follows Dan who is desperate for a fresh start, but when his former housemate, Scott, moves into his new unit uninvited and befriends a dead salmon he dubs ‘Craig’, solitude seems like an impossible dream.

The Australian Documentary Showcase is a festival favourite with a diverse range of topics to uncover. Sunday 4 June, The Astor Theatre. Highlights include:

SKFF premiere, Requiem (Directors Rowena Potts) imagines the last remaining astronauts onboard the International Space Station (ISS) bidding farewell to their vessel before it is deorbited and crashes into the remote Pacific Ocean (an event scheduled to take place by the end of 2030).

The premiere of Helicopter Tjungurrayi (Director Ankit Mishra) tells the 1957 story of chopper pilot Jim Ferguson landing in the isolated area of Natawalu. An indigenous family approached him with their desperately ill 10-year-old son Tjungurrayi, who after receiving urgent medical care, went on to become an acclaimed artist.

The Australian premiere of Melbourne on Dylan (Director Chris Franklin) explores Bob Dylan’s relationship with Melbourne, featuring Brian Nankervis, Rebecca Barnard, Alicia Sometimes, Billy Pinnell and more.

Under the Radar (presented by the Unsigned FReeZA Crew) celebrates 10 of the best films from Australia’s next generation of filmmakers Thursday 8 June, The Astor Theatre. Under the Radar highlights include:

Bloody Brilliant (Director Giulia Assenza) sees 14-year-old Evie who can read minds when she’s on her period. She uses her strange and wonderful gift to help those around her, but maybe not everyone wants her help.

Otter & Fox (Director Benjamin Rohan) sees a fanciful goofball and a logical perfectionist pull off the biggest heist in Brisbane’s history. But their quest for sustenance turns stale when they bump into an unforeseeable obstacle.

The Adults Are Talking (Director Pollyanna Hepzibah Carveth) tells the story of Martha, a daydreaming six-year-old forced into a dinner party with adults when an eruption of anxiety overpowers the night.

Pride Without Prejudice is back again after selling out instantly at last year’s SKFF, with a wonderful showcase of LGBTQIA+ short films full of heart, strength and vitality. Screening within the walls of the stunning Victorian Pride Centre, audiences will catch some of the top short films of 2023 with a chance to mingle with the filmmakers and grab post show drinks. Sunday 11 June, Victorian Pride Centre. Highlights include:

Two men standing on top of suitcasesDescription automatically generated with medium confidenceTarneit (Director John Sheedy) Tyrone lives with his distressed mother and her boyfriend, a lowlife who despises immigrants and homosexuals. Tyrone’s best friend Clinton, a refugee, lives with his overworked mother and older brother, who also has firm ideas about race and sex. Despite these obstacles, Tyrone and Clinton are deeply bonded, partly because they’re both deaf, but mostly because they share a dream of one day escaping the harsh violence that swirls around them (pictured right).

Tuī Ná (Director William Duan) sees a 17-year-old boy struggle to reconcile his burgeoning queer identity with his filial duties and the expectations of his Chinese immigrant mother.

Fearless: Jazmin Theodora (Director Nicole Sullivan) Jazmin is a psychic and tarot card reader. All her life she has tried to stay true to herself, paying no mind to those who wanted to tear her down. At 83, she plays an active part in her community, and her psychic abilities attract people from all around Australia.

A South Melbourne program highlight is the Australian Animation Showcase, which celebrates the enormously important cinematic history of animation in Victoria. Head to the much-loved South Melbourne Market for this special screening, featuring a DJ, special guests, food and wine. Wednesday 7 June, South Melbourne Market. Highlights include:

101 Days of Lockdown (Director Jelena Sinik) is an experimental exploration into the mundane and domestic moments of aloneness that made up the human experience of the 2021 Australian pandemic lockdowns.

Famished Shell (Director Idan Kotzen) A warrior and his thankless master explore a mystical forest in search of their next meal and find themselves faced with a mysterious caged creature and the hostile forces that guard it.

Black Wing (Director Tim Main) In rich Australian bushland, we find a cormorant bird. She stands statuesque drying her wings and begins to guide us through her poetic journey.

For more information on all screenings and bookings, visit: stkildafilmfestival.com.au

Now in its 39th year, St Kilda Film Festival (SKFF) returns to the big screen across Thursday 1 June – Monday 12 June 2023. SKFF is Australia’s longest-running short film festival, recognising the genre of short film, including music videos, gaming and immersive forms, celebrating some of Australia’s best local short filmmakers and screen artists.

SKFF is supported by major government partners Screen Australia and VicScreen.
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