A curated collection of the best Australian films from the past year will screen in every city where Australia is set to play in the FIFA World Cup, to inspire audiences to get behind the Socceroos. The program has been curated by Greg Dolgopolov (Vision Splendid, Russian Resurrection Film Festival and Short+Sweet artistic director) from the thousands of shorts that he has seen over the past twelve months.
“After a rigorous selection process working with the Australian Embassy in Moscow to ensure diverse image of Australia, a wonderfully representative collection of recent films has made the cut for this first ever festival of soft diplomacy, but films that do not shy away from some tough themes,” said Dolgopolov as he prepared for the Russian trip.
The films include Miro by Victoria Wharfe McIntyre, a dynamic Indigenous revenge Western set on a station in the aftermath of WWII. When Miro (Mark Coles Smith) returns home at the end of WWII he finds his land taken, his daughter stolen, his people relocated and his service record treated with contempt. But the New Guinea battlefield has taught him how to fight and he sets out to reunite his family, waging his own form of justice.
“It is worth noting that Russian cinema has had its own surge of award winning First Nation cinema that has taken out awards at film festivals across the country,” says Dolgopolov. “Yakut Cinema (from Russia’s resource rich far northern regions) has strong connections with the recent all-conquering Australian Indigenous cinema and this should prove especially interesting to Russian audiences.”
A number of the films have emerged out of the new Short+Sweet Film Festival in Sydney and Melbourne that include The Mistress of the Forest by Nicholas Hiatt, Slingshot by David Hansen and Nathan Loves Ricky Martin by Steven Arriagada and starring Russian expat actor Albert Goikhman and is the only film that didn’t need subtitles.
A certain highlight will be The Eleven O’Clock by Derin Seale and written and performed by Josh Lawson. The film won an AACTA for Best Short Fiction Film and was nominated for an Oscar, having started life 13 years ago as a play at a Sydney season of Short+Sweet.
Other films include Alyssa McLelland’s dark comedy Second Best about the power of identical twin sisters and the unbreakable bond that binds them, Genevieve Clay-Smith’s The Kill Off – about a woman with an intellectual disability who forms an unlikely friendship with a Sudanese refugee through their mutual love of Krump and sassy talk.
Rounding out the program is another ACTAA Award winning short, this time for animation, Daniel Agdag’s Lost Property Office. A beautifully hand–crafted stop-motion animation set in a stylish art deco, post–industrial cardboard world. The entire film was fashioned from over 2,500 sheets of recycled cardboard, patiently hand-cut over 18 months giving the film a warm other-worldly glow.
“There is a staggering amount of short films produced in Australia, but rarely will a curated program of short films travel to another country to be presented as a cultural vuvuzela to make noise in support of the Green and Gold,” says Dolgopolov proudly. “It is hoped that the diverse program of films will provide Russian audiences and World Cup fans a small window in to the Australian soul.”
The program of Australian short films will screen from June 13, 2018 in Moscow, Kazan, Samara and Sochi before all of the Socceroo games.