Review: Shorts Session #2 at the Melbourne Women in Film Festival26 February 2018
My expectations for the Melbourne Women in Film Festival (MWFF) weren’t high because I had never been to a film festival before. I was (wrongly) expecting to see amateur student shorts but instead, saw real gems of work—gems that would remind me, as an aspiring filmmaker, what I would like to accomplish one day.
I attended a shorts session and saw an amazing diversity of films, and no, I’m not taking about race and gender, but rather ideas, genres and mediums. There were comedies, horrors, metaphors and romances. One focused purely on a single conversation, another was a visual montage and others told a story with a proper beginning, middle and end.
Creswick, written and directed by Natalie James, was a horror film that stood out. Despite the over-used premise of a house with a strange, supernatural creature which affects the human inhabitants of the house, it was the execution that was special. Rather than depending on exposition and jump scares, Natalie instead, builds a strong tone, eerie atmosphere and an increasing sense of dread through suspense. All without unnecessarily jarring music or ugly, distorted faces! The film is all about the implied unknown threat without ever explicitly telling us anything about the creature.
Other strong shorts were Losing It (Nikki Richardson), which centered around a single conversation between two high school friends. It was simple and entertaining throughout its seven-minute run-time. Blackbird (Amie Batalibasi), was a much more serious film that was a subjective telling of the Australian Pacific Islander sugar slaves. It showed the injustices, loss and homesickness that the slaves experienced. Lastly, Dance Card (Renee Crea) was a light-hearted story about a girl coming out to her gramps. Nothing too ambitious but it was a funny tale about the naivety some people have about lesbians.
After a one hour and 30-minute screening of short films, I can now say I have a newfound appreciation for watching shorts. They offer such unique stories and the potential for at least one story to really inspire you.
The Melbourne Women in Film Festival runs 22-25 February.