Five Winter Film Festivals in Five Minutes
While film festivals happen pretty much all year round, with the onset of the cooler months comes a spike in cinematic celebrations. The perfect activity to keep you both cosy and entertained, there’s always a bevy of features, shorts, docos and other celluloid goodies - the hardest part is choosing which films to see!
Lucky for you, we’ve compiled a handy guide of great film festivals happening in Melbourne and Sydney over the next few months, as well as some top picks to help you whittle down your film wishlist.
Human Rights Arts & Film Festival
Melbourne: May 15 - 27
Sydney: May 29 – June 1
Art is a medium that transcends language and cultural and ethnic differences, which is something the Human Rights Art and Film Festival aims to tap into. Running for 11 days in Melbourne and then over three weeks across the country, the festival will showcase contemporary films, fine art, music and discussion panels based around the topic of social change, all of which will get you talking about worldly issues way after the credits roll.
Look out for... Australian Shorts, a selection of eight home-grown short films, heartfelt Spanish animated feature Wrinkles, and a thought-provoking documentary on the plight of a drowning nation, The Island President (which includes a Q&A with former Maldives President Mohammed Nasheed in Melbourne).
St Kilda Film Festival
Melbourne: May 22 - 27
Short films are a quick way to get a culture fix, and Melbourne’s St Kilda Film Festival comes up with a cracking selection year after year. 2012 is no different, with Australia’s top 100 short films to be shown over 15 sessions at the stunning Astor Theatre. There’ll also be international offerings, events focused on music videos and forums for budding filmmakers, so you can learn to be handy with a camera from some of the best in the business.
Look out for... Australia’s Top 100 for competition entries from homegrown talents, Irish Shorts - Focus on Cork Film and SoundKILDA, the Australian music video competition featuring clips from Children Collide, Architecture in Helsinki and a certain vid involving Gotye, Kimbra and plenty of body paint (get on it, it’s going to be better than a late night Rage session).
Sydney Film Festival
Sydney: June 6 - 17
Stretching over 12 days and nights, the 59th Sydney Film Festival will treat both film fiends and casual cinema-goers, with screenings of over 150 international and homegrown cinematic offerings along with talks, forums and more.
FYI: many of the films haven’t been released in Australian cinemas yet, so you’ll be catching them a good few months before the rest of the country. Just don’t be that person who spoils the ending for everyone else.
Look out for... The Freak Me Out series. We love a good blood-and-guts flick, and there’s going to be plenty of that here (think vampire ballerinas, Texan drug dealers and giant snails). Also keep an eye out for Death of a Japanese Salesman, The Dreamers, Maori Boy Genius.
Melbourne International Animation Festival
Melbourne: June 17 - 24
Animation, even in its most crude form, has long been one of the most transcendent methods of storytelling (we’re talking way before The Simpsons came along). Based at ACMI, MIAF will demonstrate how animation today goes far beyond Saturday morning kids’ programming, with a selection of Australian and international artists showcasing iconic and contemporary works.
Look out for... Kick-ass contemporary works by local artists in The Australian Showcase, New Japanese Animation at a Glance for works by the creative powerhouse that is Japan’s animation industry and Late Night Bizarre, a collection of wonderfully weird cartoons (bad ass bears, dudes with a variety of willy problems and drunk puppets will feature, amongst other colourful characters).
Australian International Animation Festival
Wagga Wagga: May 18 - 20
Wagga Wagga will be dimming the lights and popping plenty of corn as they present some of the world’s best animated short films. Considering organisers received over 2,000 entries in 2012, it’s safe to say that there’ll be a pretty diverse program available to satisfy your cinematic cravings.
Look out for... While the film lineup is identical to Melbourne’s Animation Festival, make sure you don’t miss out on Animation 101 - a series of four short talks and screenings hosted by filmmakers and other special guests.
WORDS: Delima Shanti