In recent decades, Australia has become a steady source of originality and inspiration for Hollywood. Directors like Peter Weir, Jane Campion, Baz Luhrman and Peter Jackson as well as actors Nicole Kidman and Russell Crow have had a significant impact on contemporary cinema. If we have to specify what we associate with Australian film today, we have to say it is a strange understanding of secrets and rituals, a fascination with the wild and elusive natural world, the human character, a sense of humor, and a general sense of wackiness merged with visual perfection. These ingredients are found in the unique films coming from this mysterious continent and its distinctive culture, history, and geography. It is probably this unique view – backed by an exceptional environment, state institutions and small production projects – that has boosted the success of Australia’s and New Zealand’s short films, which have been snapping up awards wherever they are shown. And it appears an entirely new generation of interesting filmmakers, as diverse as the continent itself, will soon emerge from this part of the south Pacific. With 14 films in two sections, we will be presenting a selection of the best shorts made in Australia and New Zealand over the last two years. Australian films appearing in other sections further attest to the strength of filmmaking in the region.
Cracker Bag (Glendyn Ivin / Australia / 2003 / 15min.)
Eddie spends her pocket money to obsessively hoard fireworks and carefully plans for a big night. When she finally lights the fuse of her first firecracker, she experiences one of the seemingly unimportant events in childhood that can change the rest of your life.
Deluge (Flordeliz Bonifacio / Australia / 2003 / 7min.)
A father and his two sons undertake the task of winter maintenance at the local swimming pool complex. The vast array of empty pools hints at the loneliness familiar to the eldest boy. His younger brother, powerless to change the situation, immerses himself in his imagination. Special Jury Prize at Clermont-Ferrand.
Nothing Special (Helena Brooks / New Zealand / 2005 / 11min.)
A neurotic young man desperately tries to be normal, nothing special. But can he escape his most ardent admirer, his mother, who believes he is Jesus reincarnate? Selected for competition in Cannes, 2005, Nothing Special is a hilarious black comedy that questions our concept of what is normal.
Green Bush (Warwick Thornton / Australia / 2005 / 27min.)
Over a long night hosting the “Green Bush” show at his Aboriginal community radio station, DJ Kenny realizes his job is about more than just playing music.
Heartworm (Ben Chessell / Australia / 2003 / 15min.)
Daniel's crush on a girl has taken over his life. In the end it’s not her ex-boyfriend rock-star, her singing dog, or Daniel’s housemates that will help him make sense of it all.
Tama Tū (Taika Waititi / New Zealand / 2005 / 18min.)
Six Maori soldiers wait for nightfall in a ruined house. Though forced into silence, the boys amuse themselves. But as they try to ignore the reminders of the war, a sign pulls them back to the violent world around them. They pray to unite their spirits before they head back into the darkness.
Smith & Ashcroft (Fin Edquist / Australia / 2005 / 10min.)
Chris, a disaffected cleaner, reflects on the yearlong breakdown in the marriage of her favorite clients: Smith & Ashcroft, an enigmatic, wealthy young couple. Alone for hours in their stately home, she gradually unravels the dark mystery.