So the 19th SFS Festival has come and gone; and what a festival it was – culminating in an awards night of scarcely believable quality. Congratulations to all of the students!
As with every festival, it’s left to the Maestro – SFS Artistic Director – Ben Ferris to spot the underlying theme of the three days of screenings (One of these days there’ll be a festival so diverse as to beguile any attempt at identifying a unifying theme – but this was obviously not one.)
The theme this time around was the challenging of the traditional patriarchal voice with which stories are told. Here’s what the Maestro had to say:
It strikes me, judging by the quality of the films on display – and this sentiment is not restricted to the aforementioned films – that the weight of this expectation does not weigh heavily on the talents of this particular group, but rather serves as encouragement in the form of high praise from a man who, along with Kathryn Myliss, Leslie Oliver and all of the seasoned SFS teachers, has shepherded innumerable students through such festivals. Personally, I think this collective slate of films may have been the best SFS has yet produced.
Writing this blog affords me certain indulgences. One I have been particularly excited about is the BLOGIES. My pick of the festival’s talking points.
So it is my pleasure to present the Inaugural Blogies; 2013:
The Tarantino Award for Most Tonal Shifts Per Second (TSPS):
“Adam and Eve Get Kicked Out Of The Garden Of Eden” by Jaeson Iskandar
This is one of those films that oscillates between light handling of heavy subject matter and serious contemplation; stopping at every junction in between. I’ll leave it to the audience to decide whether or not it works, but there were obviously some very brave decisions taken along the way.
The Raging Bull Award for Most Romantic Portrayal of Violence in Black and White:
“Move” by Colin Jones
There was an ethereal quality to this film, and I haven’t been able to decide exactly what gives me that feeling. What I do know is that it takes a high proficiency in visual composition to be able to evade my delicate sensibilities when, at a high frame-rate, a hammer blow of a kick is dealt and shockwaves ripple through a man’s body. When normally I would cringe with empathy, the best I could muster on this occasion was: ‘beautiful’.
The Gangnam Style Award for Most Likely to Succeed on the Internet:
“Dogs on Red” by Filip Persson
Filip’s superlative thesis film delivers exactly what it says on the tin – Dogs, shot on a Red. Unsurprisingly, the audience on the day received the film extremely well, as the innocence of the second most popular pet on the Internet (I would’ve equally enjoyed “Cats on Red”) is captured in vibrant colour and clarity in slow motion.
The Aaron Sorkin Award for Best Line of Dialogue
“The Hunger” by Clifford McBride
I suspect that this is one of those films, which, in its formative stages, was meant to be a psychological drama about principled characters pushed to the extreme, until one day, somebody pointed out its immense comedic potential. A potential, I might add, which is largely realized, and on that basis alone, it deserves Blogie. It might also have won for its creative and provocative use of stock footage; rotting carcasses and murderous wombats.
It’s finest moment, in my opinion, is delivered by SFS’s own Jessie Munnings. After watching his friend play a game of ‘stop hitting yourself’ with a recently deceased buddy, he half-heartedly declares: “What you’re doing is extremely wrong!” (Intentional or no, it’s understated enough to be side-splittingly funny).
The 8mm Award for Murder-Porn
“The Gesture” by Arnold Perez
With only one on-screen fatality, ‘The Gesture’ is pretty far away from having the highest body count. It is, however, quite sexually charged right the way through, laying just the right number of hints along the way – I got the feeling there would either be a murder or a passionate sex scene at the end.
Ultimately, I was disappointed not to get the sex scene, but credit anyway to Kate Houston, who was convincing as a psychotic killer (what experiences did she draw on? I wonder…), and Eric Ung, for his cinematography work on the unsettling scene pictured above.
The Jack The Ripper Award for Gleeful Violence
“REVOLUTION” by Jackson Frazer
What a hoot this film was.
- 8 minutes long
- 16 shots fired
- 6 hits
- 4 violent deaths (3 on screen)
- 1 murder by van
- 1 murder by pitchfork
The Buzz Lightyear Award for Taking Me To Infinity and Beyond
“Apollo” by Mitchell Earnshaw
The things you love in any film are reflections of yourself, and so I hope I wasn’t alone in falling in love with the idea of space exploration all over again whilst watching this film.
From the naivety portrayed in audacious early cinematic efforts such as George Melies’ “Le Voyage dans la Lune” to the Apollo 11 mission which completed mankinds’ “giant leap” – with plenty in between – “Apollo” is an apt reminder of what mankind is capable of achieving when we dare to dream.
The “It’s Not A Fish, It’s A Mammal” Award for Not Being A Fish
“Fish in a Tank” by Marco Boriani
The gentle, understated voiceover would be a soulful, introspective reflection on something deeply personal to the filmmaker. Would be: if Marco were a fish.
The Golden Blogie for Best Moment of the Festival
Bianca Malcolm sings “Bohemian Rhapsody”
For those of you who missed it, let this serve as a warning not to miss sessions at future SFS festivals. When facing technical issues with the projector during the first session of day 3, the audience was left waiting for issues to be ironed out by our hard-working team in the projection room. Up stepped the Maestro to lay down the gauntlet: “who among you will step forth and entertain?” (or at least, I think that’s what he said).
Cometh the moment, cometh the woman. Up stepped Bianca to lead the room in an impromptu rendition of Queen’s greatest hit. Not only did she display unencumbered vocal prowess, she also displayed good deal of intestinal fortitude (which is also on display in her films “Metaverse” and “I.C.U.”).
Credit must go also to Sarah Wilson for being a good sport when her film, “Loss of Love”, was interrupted by the glitch.