With the feature films now covered, it’s worthwhile taking a brief moment to mention some of the great Australian shorts that have played throughout the year.

            Cherry – director Claudia Bailey

A short about sexuality from the perspective of girls and women as they all engage with their own virginity stories. Beautiful,hilarious, and timely. Women’s sexuality shown from a woman’s perspective is rarely shown on screen, but with thanks to Claudia Bailey, it is done so brilliantly here.

            St Berniedirector Elise Tyson

14 year old Bernie lives in a heavily religious household,so much so that when her mother finds her ‘sex bible’, she is castigated from the house, her precious book of sex ed pamphlets and photos discarded in the trash. Bernie isn’t sex obsessed, she’s merely a young girl in need of some help and guidance, not knowing whether the feelings she’s having are right or not. Lara Robinson plays Bernie and alongside Bethany Whitmore, she is easily one of the great young actresses working in Australia today.

            Open Water: The Offering – director Erin Coates & Anna Nazzari

There’s no real plot to Open Water: The Offering other than a floating foot in the ocean. What occurs when the foot hits the ocean is the gradual breakdown of the foot, with all manner of gruesome and gory things occurring to it. While Open Water: The Offering feels like a tech demo, it is so well shot and so engaging that you can’t help but be transfixed by the plight of thi lonely foot in the water.

            Little Secret – director Sarah Bassiouni

This short goes for all of two minutes. It has a young boy coming out to his mum, and then his mum reveals her own secret. After the marriage equality decision finally came into effect in 2018, stories like this are essential in cinema.

            Mwah – director Nina Buxton

I challenge you to find a more tense film than Mwah. A simple story of a girl (the great Bethany Whitmore) riding home at night. She’d just spent the evening with her friend and left with the promise of talking about her future. On her way home, she has to wait at a traffic light. A car pulls up next to her. A guy leans out of the car and gives her an air kiss. She stares forward, and as soon as the light goes green, she takes off. He follows. No film puts you in the place of a woman just going about her business at night more than Mwah does. Everybody should see this.


Best Director:

Warwick Thornton – Sweet Country

Alina Lodkina – Strange Colours

Catherine Scott – Backtrack Boys

Leigh Whannell – Upgrade

Soda_Jerk – Terror Nullius


Best Actor:

Hamilton Morris – Sweet Country

Logan Marshall Green – Upgrade

Damian Hill – West of Sunshine

Sam Smith – Jirga

Lucas Hedges – Boy Erased


Best Actress:

Kate Cheel – Strange Colours

Clare Moore – Lost Gully Road

Geraldine Hakewill – The Pretend One

Deanna Ortuso – Just Between Us

Emily Barclay – Ellipsis


Best Supporting Actor:

Ben Spence – Breath

Justin Courtin – Strange Colours

Sam Neill – Sweet Country

Ewen Leslie – Sweet Country

Ty Perham – West of Sunshine


Best Supporting Actress:

Natassia Gorey Furber – Sweet Country

Asher Keddie – Swinging Safari

Susan Prior – Book Week

Joanne Nguyen – Just Between Us

Lynette Curran – Brothers’ Nest

Nicole Kidman – Boy Erased


Best Screenplay:

Sweet Country

Island of the Hungry Ghosts

Upgrade

Boy Erased

Brothers’ Nest