Director Alana Hicks' comedy drama 'Chicken' won Australian Short Film Today's Virtual Audience Award following our program's first-ever virtual screening, with 'Wine Lake', directed by Platon Theodoris and starring Writer and Executive Producer Ailís Logan winning the Runner Up Award.

After the screening, there was a Q&A with the makers of three of the films conducted by Australian International Screen Forum Chairman Chris Beale.


One of the filmmakers was Hicks. She is an experienced digital series writer and producer. 'Chicken' is the first film she received a grant to make. Hicks was born in Papua New Guinea to a white Australian father and an indigenous PNG mother. She came to Australia when she was 6; her mother came to Australia more recently.


Hicks' film deals with racism, although it does so in a soft comedic way. She was asked why she made that choice and didn’t take a harder approach. She replied that she has a background in comedy and through comedy she wanted to tell the story of the excitable mother — a recent immigrant to Australia — and the calm and slightly exasperated daughter — a much earlier immigrant and now comfortable in Australia — who has to go to the rescue of a mother who can’t deal with many day to day situations. She confirmed that the characters are based on her and her mother.


Hicks was asked about an online story she wrote — Smoke and Fire — dealing with violence against women in Papua New Guinea, driven by superstition. She wrote about her mother’s brutal experience, and about Hick’s growing up as a mixed-raced kid, learning English from television in PNG. "Mum was afraid that knowing PNG customs and traditions would somehow affect how much of the white stuff I would pick up. She thought that the white stuff was the important stuff." She was asked about how that has driven her approach to her art.


She said it has been central to her mission to tell her mother’s story and of her mother’s suffering in PNG. "In many ways I understood fairly early on that I had it much easier than [my mother] did, as a light-skinned mixed-race person... I appreciated how difficult it was for her, and I resented how easy it was for me."


Another participant in the Q&A was Melissa Anastasia, the director of 'Sleepwalking.' She was asked what drew her to the tough subject of an abusive husband/stepfather and the impact the abuse had on his wife and her 11-year old son. She spoke about how she has focused on abusive relationships in her work and how hard it is for women to leave those relationships and how the abuse can become intergenerational.

'Wine Lake''s Platon Theodoris and Ailís Logan also participated in the Q&A, where they discussed, among other topics, the difficulty Logan had navigating the world while in costume as a homeless woman. This is the third award 'Wine Lake' has picked up as part of our 2020 program, having also won the Audience Award in St. Tropez as well as the Nicolas Baudin prize for best short film.

Our 2020 program, which is the 28th annual edition of Australian Short Film Today, was screened before a live audience in St Tropez on October 12, 2020 by Rencontres Internationales du Cinema des Antipodes, our hosting partner, which screens Australian and New Zealand feature films and short films.


'Wine Lake' won the Australian Short Film Today Audience Award in Saint Tropez. It also won the festival's Nicolas Baudin prize for best short film. 'Wine Lake' was directed and produced by Platon Theodoris. Ailis Logan was the writer, executive producer and the female lead. Platon’s short films have been shown at festivals in London, Cannes, Singapore and Vancouver, and Ailis won Best Actor for her role in 'Wine Lake' at the St. Kilda Film Festival in 2020.


In the film, an older homeless Irish Catholic woman and an Irish backpacking young man clash on a Sydney street. The backpacker becomes the focus of her anger after she makes a wrong assumption. But his innocence catches her off guard and they develop an unlikely connection over his art. She apprehensively shares one of her poems with him, and the pair make a surprise discovery.


The Australian Short Film Today Runner Up Award for Saint Tropez was tied between 'Jackrabbit' written and directed by Alex Feggans and 'Sleepwalking' written directed by Melissa Anastasi.


Alex started in film on feature film sets before transitioning to post production, commercial advertising editing, and now to directing. 'Jackrabbit' has been acquired by Canal + (France), Telephonica (Spain) and SVT (Sweden).


Melissa’s short films have screened at festivals around the world including Uppsala, Tampere, Cannes and Oldenburg. She won best short at Worldfest Houston for a prior short, and she was awarded an Australian Directors' Guild Award for a previous short. She is a graduate of AFTRS where she was awarded the Kenneth B. Myer Award for Exceptional Talent, and the European Union Film Award. She has studied screenwriting through the UCLA Professional Program. She is currently developing the feature films 'Bluebirds' and 'Soft Rain' which was accepted into the Binger Writer's Lab in Amsterdam.

The directors of these films will be eligible for free passes to next four-day industry event of Australian International Screen Forum


Oscar-eligible 'Judas Collar' won the Australian Short Film Today Audience Award for Austin, Texas at a screening hosted by Austin Film Society on January 15, 2020.


The film won four 2019 Australian Short Film Today Audience Awards - in Los Angeles, Berlin, St Tropez and Austin - as well as two Runner Up Awards - in Paris and London.

The Founder of Austin Film Society, iconic American indie director Richard Linklater, was present at the Austin screening.


In the film, set in outback Australia, a feral camel is fitted with a tracking device known as a Judas collar that brings with it betrayal of the rest of the herd with which it travels. 


'Judas Collar'  won the  Jury Award for Best Narrative Short Film at the Austin Film Festival (unrelated to Austin Film Society) in 2018 and won Best Film and Best Director at the St Kilda Film Festival in 2019. Each of these wins made 'Judas Collar' eligible for the Academy Awards in 2020.

The film was written and directed by Alison James of Perth, Western Australia and produced by Brooke Tia Silcox, also from Perth. After ten years in documentary filmmaking for Australian television, Alison has transitioned to narrative filmmaking. This is her third narrative film.


At the Q&A at the Los Angeles screening in October 2019, Ali and Brooke said they were "just two girls from Perth." Somehow we don't think so.

From left: Alison James (writer/director) and Brooke Tia Silcox (producer) from JUDAS COLLAR, Chris Beale from Australian Short Film Today, and Brenden Dannaher (writer/director) and Nicole Shostak (lead actress) from A QUICK LOVE STORY at the Los Angeles screening of AUSTRALIAN SHORT FILM TODAY hosted by Australians in Film at Raleigh Studios       


The animated comedy/drama 'Fire in Cardboard City' by a ringer from New Zealand, Phil Brough, won the 2019 Australian Short Film Today Audience Award at the Asia Society in New York on May 14, 2019. We focus on Australian films and don't often screen films from other countries, but after we saw 'Fire in Cardboard City' we liked it so much we felt we had to screen it. Solidarity with our Kiwi mates! Except in Rugby.

The film also won the Audience Award in London on January 25, 2020 and the Runner Up Award in Austin on January 15, 2020.


The city in the animated film looks an awful lot like New York. This "free-wheeling disaster movie ... feels like a joy ride," said The New Yorker magazine after the film had its U.S. debut at the Tribeca Film Festival.  

Brough confirmed to us that the city portrayed in the short is based on New York City, and says it also includes some iconic New Zealand buildings.

Pier2 Bright.jpg
The 2019 Australian Short Film Today Audience Award for Paris went to ‘A Quick Love Story’, a comedy written and directed by Brenden Dannaher of Sydney. He was in attendance at the Paris screening on November 20, 2109 along with Dominique Fusy, the film's editor, who lives in Paris. This win follows the film’s 2019 Runner Up Awards in Los Angeles and New York, where the film had its global premiere at Australian Short Film Today in May 2019 at the Asia Society.
Dannaher is from Sydney where he works at SBS (the public Special Broadcasting Service) and has a background in educational films. It is clear from the subject matter of his comedy that he has experienced one online survey too many. This short seems to be his revenge.
In the cleverly written film, a young man, who has been rejected by the woman to whom he has proposed, finally meets a woman who is fascinated by him and wants to know his opinions. The only problem? She's an online survey.
The 2019 Runner Up Award in Saint Tropez went to 'Nursery Rhymes', directed by Tom Noakes, a graduate of AFTRS, who is based in Sydney. It opens with a continuous 4 minute shot with a metalhead standing in a field singing a nursery rhyme, with a ten second shot to finish.


The film "disorientates its audience initially via a surreal, contextless opening. Confusion gives way to a slowly unfolding puzzle however, serving up revelations all the way through to its emotional close, when it delivers." - Celine Roustan, Short of the Week.  

The 2019 Runner Up Audience Award in Berlin went to 'High School Lover', a poignant drama about a young man composing a text message to his former high school girlfriend. The film is directed by Cielo Croci from the Blue Mountains in New South Wales.


Cielo is studying for his masters of film and television at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne. It is remarkable that a film by a young filmmaker, himself only recently at high school, could touch so many audience members, some of whom are long removed from their high school love.


From left: Damon Herriman and Josh Lawson       

This Academy Award nominated film swept the Australian Short Film Today Audience Awards in each of the 8 cities globally where we screened the 2018 traveling program. It was directed by Derin Seale, and starred Damon Herriman and John Lawson, who also wrote the film.
In the cleverly written comedy with complex wordplay, a delusional patient of a psychiatrist believes he is actually the psychiatrist.
The versatile Daniel Herriman attended the Australian International Screen Forum in Lincoln Center, New York, in May 2019 for the New York premiere of 'The Nightingale' by Jennifer Kent in which he plays a brutal soldier. Also in 2019, he appeared as mass murderer Charles Manson in two films.
VIRTUAL           Chicken directed by Alana Hicks
(Oct 2020)         Runner up: Wine Lake directed by Platon Theodoris
ST TROPEZ       Wine Lake directed by Platon Theodoris
(Oct 2020)          Runner up: a tie between 
Jackrabbit directed by Alex Feggans and                                                                        Sleepwalking 
directed by Melissa Anastasi.
LONDON           Fire in Cardboard City directed by Phil Brough
(Jan 2020)         Runner up: Judas Collar directed by Alison James
AUSTIN             Judas Collar directed by Alison James
(Jan 2020)         Runner up: Fire in Cardboard City directed by Phil Brough
PARIS                 A Quick Love Story directed by Brenden Dannaher
(Nov 2019)         Runner up: Judas Collar directed by Alison James
LOS ANGELES Judas Collar directed by Alison James

(Oct 2019)        Runner up: A Quick Love Story directed by Brenden Dannaher

ST TROPEZ       Judas Collar directed by Alison James

(Oct 2019)        Runner up: Nursery Rhymes directed by Tom Noakes

BERLIN              Judas Collar directed by Alison James

(Sep 2019)        Runner up: High School Lover directed by Cielo Croci

NEW YORK       Fire in Cardboard City directed by Phil Brough

(May 2019)        Runner up: A Quick Love Story directed by Brendan Dannaher


LONDON          The Eleven O'clock directed by Derin Seale

(Jan 2019)         Runner up: Adele directed by Mirene Igwabi

AUSTIN              The Eleven O'clock directed by Derin Seale

(Oct 2018)         Runner up: a tie between Kill Off directed by Genevieve Clay-Smith and Lost Property                                      Office directed by Daniel Agdad

HOUSTON         The Eleven O'clock directed by Derin Seale

(Oct 2018)         Runner up: Adele directed by Mirene Igwabi


Clockwise from top left: LOST PROPERTY OFFICE, ADELE, KILL OFF and LIBRARY OF LOVE       

ST TROPEZ       The Eleven O'clock directed by Derin Seale

(Oct 2018)         Runner up: a tie between Kill Off directed by Genevieve Clay-Smith and Lost Property                                      Office directed by Daniel Agdad

BOSTON           The Eleven O'clock directed by Derin Seale

(Oct 2018)         Runner up: a tie between Adele directed by Mirene Igwabi and Lost Property                                                    Office directed by Daniel Agdad

ST TROPEZ       The Eleven O'clock directed by Derin Seale

(Oct 2018)         Runner up: Adele directed by Mirene Igwabi

BERLIN             The Eleven O'clock directed by Derin Seale

(Sept 2018)       Runner up: Adele directed by Mirene Igwabi

PARIS                The Eleven O'clock directed by Derin Seale

(June 2018)       Runner up: Kill Off directed by Genevieve Clay-Smith

NEW YORK        The Eleven O'clock directed by Derin Seale

(May 2018)         Runner up: Library of Love directed by Khrob and Miranda Edmonds

THE DAM     

AUSTIN                Bluey directed by Darlene Johnson

(Apr 2018)          


LONDON            The Dam directed by Brendon McDonall

(Jan 2018)          


HOUSTON          Deighties directed by Mason Fleming

(Nov 2017)          


ST TROPEZ         Meat and Potatoes directed by Ellenor Argyropoulous and Arielle Thomas

(Oct 2017)           

BOSTON               Bluey directed by Darlene Johnson

(Sept 2017)         

PARIS                     The Mother Situation directed by Matt Day

(June 2017)        

NEW YORK           Deighties directed by Mason Fleming

(May 2017)