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 Bernie – director 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.
Warwick Thornton – Sweet Country
Alina Lodkina – Strange Colours
Catherine Scott – Backtrack Boys
Leigh Whannell – Upgrade
Soda_Jerk – Terror Nullius
Hamilton Morris – Sweet Country
Logan Marshall Green – Upgrade
Damian Hill – West of Sunshine
Sam Smith – Jirga
Lucas Hedges – Boy Erased
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
Island of the Hungry Ghosts