A RECORD crowd of movie lovers hit the Village Green Rosebud for the 2015 Peninsula Short Film Festival, on Saturday 7 February.
For the fourth year in a row this exciting and unique event continues to attract the cream of the crop in short film makers, celebrity judges, and growing crowds.
A far cry from its humble beginnings in 2011 at the Broadway Theatre when 450 locals packed into a makeshift theatre with a blow up screen, the 4000 strong crowd watched our up and coming filmmakers on a 30 square metre LED screen. This year the festival was even streamed to Fed Square in Melbourne.
Festival Director Steve Bastoni had the brilliant idea for a short film festival after starting his acting school on the peninsula, and wanting a medium for his students to be able to experience film making. Sitting at a cafe in Rosebud one day, he looked over and saw the wooden statue of Frank Whitaker, the original projectionist and operator of Rosebud Cinemas, and the idea for the short film festival was born.
This year patrons were treated to films from 12 finalists from around the country, three documentaries and three animations.
Films of the highest calibre were screened, some of the best short films in Australia making their national debut, with everything from drama to comedies and even a musical.
Three new categories were added this year with Best Documentary, Best Animation and Emerging Filmmaker Award, which was won by 16-year-old Liam Kelly for his six minute film Drawn.
A star-studded panel enjoyed the balmy February evening where even the weather was kind, with the rain coming down everywhere except Rosebud.
Celebrity judges included resident judge Lachy Hulme, Samuel Johnson, Michala Banas, Nadine Garner and Jane Hall. Prolific producer, Andrew Mason, with film credits including The Water Diviner, The Matrix, Dark City and Saving Mr Banks to name a few, made his inaugural appearance on the panel, later doing a Q & A session about making the transition into filmmaking.
Festival patron Fred Schepisi once again lent his time and support on the night, encouraging burgeoning filmmakers merely with his presence.
First prize went to Noddy, a six-minute comedy by Ben Plazzer and Ann Murison that had the audience in stitches. Second prize went to a musical film, Loving Myself by Kai Smythe, and Palindromes by Nicholas Colla took out third prize.
The festival is open to any filmmaker, amateur or professional, and continues to get bigger and better every year with the cream of Australian filmmakers pumping out the highest quality short films and blowing the audience and judges away.
In Fred Schepisi’s words, it’s “Foresight on the Foreshore” and we are lucky to have it.
The short films can be viewed until February 20 at Rosebud Plaza where they are playing in rotation at a pop-up cinema.
By MELISSA WALSH