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Australia has a rich history in both short and feature films - especially with drama as these films testify. These are four of my favourite Aussie shorts!


Checkpoint by Ben Phelps (2006) (Australia) (11m) 15 Certificate

Written and directed by Ben Phelps, who also made Nice Shootin' Cowboy, Checkpoint makes use of the vastness of the Australian outback. A husband and wife are driving along a deserted road with their teenage daughter when they are stopped by three soldiers. They have entered a restricted zone and the soldiers - threatening and racist - are unwilling to let them turn around. As with thrillers such as The Hills Have Eyes the seclusion is part of the problem.

Signs by Patrick Hughes (2008) (Australia) (12m)

A fine example of a romantic short film, Signs was brought to the screen by Australian filmmaker Patrick Hughes with writing credits including Karl Fleet and Nick Worthington. It is a universal story (universally liked) about a guy and a girl working in opposite office blocks and therefore relient on signs to pursue their coy courtship. Hughes' next project was the 2010 feature film Red Hill.


Miracle Fish by Luke Doolan 15 Certificate(2009) (Australia) (17m)

Miracle Fish, written and directed by Luke Doolan, was nominated for an Academy Award. It is something of a slow-burner but worth the patience. We follow schoolboy Joe on his 8th birthday. After suffering at the hands of the playground bullies, Joe sneaks off to the sick bay, wishing that everyone would go away. He soon finds that his miracle fish may have turned his wish into bloody reality...

Miracle Fish

Sexy Thing

Sexy Thing by Denie Pentecost (2006) (Australia) (14m) * 15 Certificate

A slightly misleading title - do not expect to be titilated! - this is a beautifully made drama short from Denie Pentecost that was nominated for a Palme d'Or. Sexy Thing is the story of a young boy who escapes his reality by immersing himself in a watery version of the world. With no dialogue apart from an opening line heavy with subtext, it is also an example of how one can tell a story through images alone. The subject matter is not suitable for under 15s.

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