Striking Film Festivals: A Night To Remember
As I rubbed shoulders with strangers on the crowded tram, dressed up in a blazer that was too tight and heels that already hurt my feet, I began wondering about what the night would entail.
All I knew about the event was that it was an opportunity for upcoming Melbourne filmmakers to showcase their work to a wider audience and for a panel of judges to determine the best films of the night that would be winning cash prizes to fund future endeavours.
The million-dollar question for me was if these films were actually going to be any good?
Reaching my destination at around 5.30pm, I immediately stopped caring. Swept way from the hustle and bustle of a typical Thursday evening, I found myself in another world entirely. A world where boisterous traffic was replaced by the smooth voices of a live band and the jarring glare of red at every intersection faded into the soft glow of well-placed fairy lights.
After taking in the whole scene from the silent auction happening in the corner to raise money for Melbourne City Mission, the posters lining the walls describing the various short films that will be screened and the red carpet-esque backdrop where groups of friends were taking selfies, I knew exactly where I was headed next.
With a sauvignon blanc in hand from the drinks station, I decided to settle into a table with a cheese platter to enjoy the pre-screening buzz. Before I even had time to pick up a cracker, various canapé-style dishes too fancy for me to know the names of started coming around. To say I was impressed by the quality of food and service available would be a gross understatement.
Thankfully, before I could drift into a blissful food coma, it was time for the main event and we were ushered into the screening room to watch thirteen short films in two blocks with a short interlude in the middle where we were provided with more food.
Approximately two hours later, my previous was answered. These films were good. Incredibly good.
To avoid writing essays on each of these masterpieces, I’ve decided to write my reviews i a sentence or two, matching the short films I had the pleasure of watching:
Peacekeeper: A powerful and moving short about the choices that need to be made and the way we reject those brave enough to make them. (5/5)
Wanker: Perfectly inappropriately & cheeky short that should be watched with no expectations whatsoever. There were moments where I probably shouldn’t have laughed but most definitely did. (5/5)
Night mail: Hilarious over the top foreign film about a bomb in a mailroom at Christmas filled jokes that weren’t lost in translation. (5/5)
Welcome to Dookie: A heart warming and funny story about community and trains that all ages would love. (5/5)
Spill: Family friendly story about how a young boy outsmarts a bully in the playground. (4.5/5)
Sissy boy: This reminded me of the book We need to talk about Kevin & the song Pumped up Kicks due to the disturbing psychological thriller vibe of the short. What happens when a victim decides to finally fight back? A cliched but powerful ending. (4.5/5)
The Tea Party: Funny and naughty modern day fairy tale with an unexpected twist. (4/5)
Charlie Floyd's Visionarium: Cheesy and sweet silent black & white love story but you wouldn’t want it any other way. (4/5)
Bring home Lakaya: Moving documentary of the unbreakable bond between a mother and a child. (4/5)
Curious: Mesmerising, edge of seat psychological short where something isn’t quite right with the camera. (4/5)
Yomi: Experimental, abstract & beautiful but needs to be watched more than once. Simultaneously about everything in the universe yet nothing at all. (3.5/5)
Arrival: A story about the human condition in a futuristic dystopia. (3/5)
Two guys one body and a golf club: But what do we do now after he’s dead? (3/5)
These films were utterly humbling. They provided me with a well needed reminder to get off my high horse and stop limiting myself by only watching popular & mainstream media. There are so many independent, local filmmakers creating work of equal calibre without the same financial freedom that we should be supporting!
These following creators were acknowledged at the end of the night:
Most Outstanding Film: Peacekeeper (Joshua Hoareau, Jay Mains, Oliver Quinn, Michael Sarlo & Rick Gryzyb)
Best Student Film: Night Mail (Camille van Wessem)
Best Film between $5,000 – $20,000: Welcome to Dookie (Justin Evans & Alta Truden)
Best Film Under $5,000: Peacekeeper (Joshua Hoareau, Jay Mains, Oliver Quinn, Michael Sarlo & Rick Gryzyb)
People’s Choice Award: Bringing Home Lakaya (Thomas Jordan)
Overall, I cannot speak more highly about the Striking Film Festival.
Not only was the entire experience spectacular from the moment I entered the venue to the closing credits of the last film screened, proceeds from ticket sales as well as the silent auction was donated to Melbourne city mission’s program to helping at-risk youth in Australia develop their creativity through working closely with a local artist.
I definitely recommend everyone that have the time to check out the films above, support the creators if they can and keep an eye out this time next year to experience this awesome event first hand.