A series of neat little gifts are coming your way this November.
SBS Film

4 Nov 2010 - 5:07 PM  UPDATED 26 Feb 2014 - 4:08 PM

As part of our 30th birthday celebrations, Shorts on Screen is turning back the clock this month with an Australian short film retrospective. A mix of old and new masters will come together in November to showcase the evolution of Australian short cinema, from the work of esteemed auteurs such as Jane Campion to up-and-comers like Julius Avery.

In conjunction to bringing world cinema to Australian loungerooms, SBS has long provided a loving home for the best of worldwide short filmmaking and emerging local talent. SOS commenced on SBS ONE in 2005, taking over from the long-running Eat Carpet, to provide quality content to our loyal audience of short film lovers. Every year SOS present over 20 hours of first run shorts from over 50 countries, including the cream of the crop from local and international festivals in Venice, Berlin, Cannes and Clermont Ferrand, as well as its fair share of Oscar winners and nominees.

Shorts are often a glimpse into what's in store for a director, so in this special retrospective season, keep an eye out for early incarnations of themes that later became successful feature films. Adam Elliot's Uncle (pictured) is a lovely precursor to his touching and idiosyncratic debut feature, Mary and Max. Crossbow, from David Michôd, lays bare the raw talent of the writer/director in 14 tense, moody minutes, which, as in Animal Kingdom, examines a kid clinging to the edge of an emotional whirlpool not of his making. Rowan Woods' Tran the Man stars David Wenham and mines similar territory to his features, Little Fish and The Boys, detailing characters in the lower half of the socio-economic spectrum that struggle to get out from under, only to become their own worst enemy in the process. Cate Shortland's Joy paved the way to her revered feature Somersault. It follows a 15-year girl loose on late-night shopping night, getting into mischief and mucking around with boys. As she did with Somersault's Heidi, Shortland examines a young girl on the cusp of womanhood with no idea how to handle it.

The retrospective includes a selection of fine first efforts that garnered immediate attention, such as Glendyn Ivin's Cracker Bag. The Last Ride director's story of a little girl and her love of firecrackers earned the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Short Film, two AFI awards and an honourable mention from the Berlin International Film Festival. Jane Campion's Peel, about a bickering bunch of redheads on a Sunday drive through the country, won the Best Short Film prize at Cannes. And Shirley Barrett's only short film, Cherith, won the AFI Award for Best Short; she never looked back, leaping into television and later film, with her first feature Love Serenade winning the Cannes Film Festival's Caméra d'Or for best first feature .

This November. SOS proudly presents this superb collection of films that took risks, pushed boundaries and justifiably blew away the competition at festivals, award shows and in audience polls. Oh, and don't fret if you miss any of the films – we'll be streaming all of the films at SBS Film throughout November.

Full details below.


• PEEL (1982) 9'
Dir: Jane Campion (Bright Star, The Piano)
On a hot Australian summer's day, a recalcitrant, freckled, red-headed family of three go on a Sunday drive in the country. Their outing results in an intrigue of awesome belligerence.

• TWO/OUT (1998) 13'
Directed by Kriv Stenders (Lucky Country)
Jack and Tom share a cramped prison cell and idle away their days playing cards and talking colourfully about sex. When Jack's growing affection for a plastic bag filled with hot water is mocked by Tom, the growing tension between the pair boils over into a violent confrontation.

• CRACKER BAG (2003) 14'
Directed by Glendyn Ivin (Last Ride)
Eddie spends her pocket money obsessively hoarding fireworks and carefully planning for cracker night. When it finally arrives Eddie and her family head to the local football oval. In the frosty air Eddie lights the fuse of her first cracker and experiences a pivotal moment; one of the seemingly small experiences of childhood that affects us for the rest of our lives.

• JERRYCAN (2008) 14'
Directed by Julius Avery
While attending a party, five bored kids decide to blow something up. A childhood game seals the fate of Nathan, who risks everything after he is bullied, and is forced to make a life and death decision.


Directed by Tracey Moffatt
Three Aboriginal women cruise through Kings Cross and pick up a 'captain' (a drunken white man). They encourage him to spend his money on them and to drink until incapacitated while they steal his wallet and race off to catch a cab, self-satisfied.

• PALACE CAFÉ (1992) 5'
Directed by Andrew Lancaster (Accidents Happen)
Musical: A lonely man searches for coffee and romance in a late night diner.

• JOY (2000) 10'
Directed by Cate Shortland (Somersault)
|It's Thursday night, late night shopping, and 15-year-old Joy wants to have fun. A wild night at the mall of friends, shoplifting, kissing boys and getting into fights ensues before she heads back to her unhappy home.

• BIRTHDAY BOY (2004) 9'
Directed by Sejong Park
Animation: Korean War, 1951. Little Manuk is playing on the streets of his village and dreaming of life at the front where his father is a soldier. He returns home to find a parcel on the doorstep and, thinking it is a birthday present, he opens it. But its contents will change his life.

• SPIDER (2007) 9'
Directed by Nash Edgerton (The Square)
Jack and Jill have a lover's tiff while driving along a city road. It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye.


• CHERITH (1987) 17'
Directed by Shirley Barrett (South Solitary, Love Serenade)
Cherith is the awkward teenage daughter of an evangelist preacher. Unlike the rest of the flock, she hasn't mastered the art of speaking in tongues, and secretly spends her spare time writing poems about boys. A wry and comical look at Christian fundamentalism.

• UNCLE (1996) 6'
Directed by Adam Elliot (Mary and Max, Harvie Krumpet)
Animation: A nephew recalls the sometimes-lonely and often-eccentric life of his beloved uncle.

• TEARS (1998) 15'
Directed by Ivan Sen (Beneath Clouds)
Two teenagers walk from the certainty of life on the 'mish' to a bus stop and enter uncertain dreams of a life somewhere else. At the bus stop both of them have to make a decision.

• CROSSBOW (2007) 14'
Directed by David Michôd (Animal Kingdom)
A kid. His mum and dad. The sex and drugs. And the boy next door who watched the whole thing unravel.


• SWIMMING (1990) 11'
Directed by Belinda Chayko (Lou)
A 12-year-old girl decides to make an autobiographical video. But she cannot write her own life.

• TRAN THE MAN (1994) 18'
Directed by Rowan Woods (Little Fish, The Boys)
Ray Moss has been nicknamed 'Tran' by his Asian workmates in his job as a security guard at a shopping centre in suburban Cabramatta. For Ray, the heat is on. His brother Donny and Uncle Jack have had their heroin business undercut by Asian-controlled competition in Cabramatta and Donny and Jack want Ray as their go-between.

• THE SAVIOUR (2005) 17'
Directed by Peter Templeman
A young Church elder struggles with his faith when the married woman he has been seeing breaks off their relationship.

• NANA (2007) 5'
Directed by Warwick Thornton (Samson and Delilah)
Nana's granddaughter thinks Nana's pretty special. She loves her Nana because she helps the old people, she's a good painter and other people love her too. Nana's got everyone under control.