In its 25th year, the Canberra Short Film Festival has received a record-breaking number of entries, almost 700 films across the nine available categories.
Of the 700 entrants, 216 films will be screened at the festival, which has been split into two parts, running nine screening events between Friday, 20 November and Monday, 30 November this year, and again in March 2021 for a further 12 screenings.
The first Schools Screening, which will showcase the work of students from Canberra and around the world, will be held on Friday, 20 November at Dendy Cinema.
Next year, the Festival will stage their Red Carpet Opening and their Awards Night along with further screenings.
Festival Director John Frohlich said the Festival will be screening at two venues, Dendy Cinemas, and Smiths Alternative Bookshop.
“Cinemas are only seating 40 per cent of capacity at the moment,” said Mr Frohlich, “but Dendy and Smiths have been very good to us. We’re doing our best to work with Dendy to do two screenings a night.
“We’re delighted to introduce the School Screening on Friday afternoon to showcase the work of students from Canberra and around the world. We’re delighted to introduce this because we’ve been wanting the Canberra schools to engage, and see who can take out an award. We hope it will build interest with young filmmakers.”
The Festival will run sessions around emerging themes this year, running a horror and thriller film screening, an ‘Our Planet, Our Home’ screening for films with an environmental message, ‘What Makes us Who We Are’ – films about culture and identity, and one based around the year 2020, COVID-19, bushfires and Black Lives Matter.
“It’s so interesting to see the films, even the European films, the films from France, Germany and Spain are so distinctive in their social realism,” said Mr Frohlich.
“Hollywood isn’t subtle. It’s refreshing to see different forms of filmmaking.
“There’s a lot of violence in Hollywood films, every other culture’s storytelling is looking at what it is to be human, the little battles we all fight, relationships, things that resonate with your own life. That’s what makes short films so interesting, you see the humanity.
“I thought we’d have fewer films but it’s gone through the roof,” said Mr Frohlich.
“We’ve got a music video night at Smiths, with a lot of Canberra musicians. We’ve got an animations night – puppetry, 3D, 2D, and an Iranian night and then two nights on either weekend, we’ll have a night on each weekend with good examples of the nine categories,” said Mr Frohlich.
“There will be a fright night theme, horror films, some of them aren’t obvious but will still put you on the edge of your seat!”
Seventy Iranian films were submitted this year, and they’ll be showcased with an Iranian film night.
“They’re incredible,” Mr Frohlich explained.
“It’s a culture hidden behind a mystique, but it’s one of the oldest storytelling cultures in the world. Some of the greatest directors in the world at the moment are Iranian. These films are really interesting because they tell you so much about gender politics, war, a lot of pretty heavy-duty subjects but they’re really quite unique. You don’t see films like this from anywhere else. It’s intellectual, poetic, and the way the films are made is exceptional.
“We chose around 30 Iranian films. They’re in a league of their own. They’re amazing.”
The Festival will be at Dendy and Smiths’ Alternative, and next March the screenings will be held across the region.