The five shorts are the first films to be announced as part of the BIFF 2021 program, which will be fully unveiled in September this year.
Launched in partnership with SBS, Madman Entertainment and The Post Lounge, Screen Queensland’s RIDE Shorts initiative (RIDE standing for Respect, Inclusion, Diversity and Equality) called for Queensland filmmakers from underrepresented backgrounds to submit 15-minute short film concepts for the chance to receive up to $55,000 toward production and a premiere screening at BIFF — of which the screen agency is Founding and Principal Sponsor.
Screen Queensland Chief Creative Officer Jo Dillon said the aim of the initiative was to create an equitable opportunity to develop the careers of local filmmakers identifying as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, female, LGBTQIA+, culturally and linguistically diverse and people with a disability.
“Currently, these groups represent the minority of practitioners engaged in the Queensland and global screen industries, and Screen Queensland is committed, through initiatives like RIDE Shorts, to actively contributing to more diverse storytelling and increased equality, on and off screen,” Ms Dillon said.
“This partnership with the country’s top industry players—SBS, Madman Entertainment and The Post Lounge—in conjunction with a screening at the state’s largest film festival, offers these emerging and experienced filmmakers valuable access to visibility, support and networks, to take their careers to the next level.”
Since May this year, Executive Producers Meg O’Connell and Jackson Lapsley Scott of Unless Pictures have guided the five filmmaking teams through development and production, and continue to offer their expertise through post-production, delivery and distribution.
In addition to facilitating a series of intensive workshops for the recipients to refine their scripts, Unless Pictures also secured renowned industry mentors including Wayne Blair (Director, The Sapphires, Top End Wedding), Mirrah Foulkes (Director, Eden, Writer/Director Judy & Punch), Ben Hackworth (Writer/Director Celeste), Briar Grace-Smith (Writer/Director Cousins), Natalie Erika James (Director/writer, Relic).
BIFF Festival Director Emily Avila said inclusion of these short films in her inaugural program aligns with her vision to profile diverse, Queensland-made content at the Festival.
“With this new set of Queensland filmmaking talent, the RIDE shorts collection will give BIFF audiences a new way of thinking about the type of films that are made here,” said Ms Avila.
“By championing both diversity and the creative process, these five short films promise experiences that are both personal and powerful, and I am delighted to have them premiere at a gala screening at BIFF this October.
“It will be an unmissable event!”
BIFF will take place 21-31 October 2021. To be notified when tickets go on sale register for BIFF’s e-newsletter at www.biff.com.au. For more information about Screen Queensland initiatives visit www.screenqueensland.com.au
Dawg & The Stonefish
An Aboriginal fisherman on a secluded beach struggles to save himself and his sanity as he deals with pain and hallucinations after stepping on a Stonefish.
Writer – Bound Quakawoot
Director – Rhianna Malezer
Producer – Ljudan Michaelis-Thorpe
Thea Goes To Town
A married author in her 40s travels to the city for a literary prize while also hoping to consummate an affair with a fellow nominee.
Writer/Director – Georgia Temple
Producers – Isobel Jones & Morgan Hind
When The Sky Was Blue
One Sunday after church twelve-year-old Leah experiences a series of small but striking coming-of-age and intercultural moments as she wrestles with her conflicted relationship with her immigrant mother.
Writer/Director/Producer – Rachel Choi
Producer – Sheree Ramage
A distraught woman has a chance encounter at a cafe which changes her life.
Writer – Genevieve Clay-Smith
Co-Writers – Allycia Staples, Olivia Hargroder, Bobby Pate, Sacha (Biannca) Tonkin, Jacinta Settree
Director – Martha Goddard
Producers – Stephanie Dower, Genevieve Clay-Smith
The Moths Will Eat Them Up
What should have been a simple train ride home at night for a woman turns into a terrifying game of cat and mouse until an unforeseen force is summoned.
Writer/Co-Director – Tanya Modini
Co-Director/Producer – Luisa Martiri