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Most Exciting Directors Coming Out Of Flickerfest 2019

Seven of the most intriguing in-competition short filmmakers (and their films) at Australia’s biggest short film festival.

Della Mortika: Carousal of Shame — Dir. Marisa Martin

Having its Australian premiere at the opening night of Flickerfest, Della Mortika is perhaps one of the most ambitious projects on the list, both in its world-building and its relationship to a companion animated TV program and book series.

Birdie — Dir. Shelly Lauman

Before becoming a short filmmaker, Shelly spent several years in Australia’s theater world. She first came at the craft of directing as a classically-trained actress, but just from her Master’s thesis film (she went to AFI) you can tell she’s a natural. Though Lauman has many shorts in her filmography, we think her abilities only get better with each one.

Ritual — Dir. Robert Linsley

We now go from a short film veteran to someone directing their debut short. Linsley is a native Australian who trained to become a director in New York City. At the New York Film Academy, he honed his craft. But he didn’t keep it there. Instead, he returned to Sydney and has been working for several years on the film now premiering at Flickerfest. As can be seen on the DP’s (Joel Froome) website, Ritual is both an epic and an intimate tale. The preview’s dark and eerie tone evokes the best of religious horror, while the large, sweeping canvases (shot on Arri Alexa XT) put this film’s production value and sense of scope up there with Hollywood productions.

Drum Wave — Dir. Natalie Erika James

Could this be our next Jennifer Kent? Some directors dabble in psychological horror, but Natalie Erika James never leaves it. And we’re happy about that. Most popular among her terrific shorts is Crestwick, a mood piece with a bone-chilling ending. This Vimeo Staff Pick put her on the map for many, but we think Drum Wave has the potential to attract an even bigger audience.

Blood Orange — Dir. M.P. Wills

This film has one of the most exhilarating trailers of the whole bunch. Most surprising about it thought is its overall departure from the director’s previous short film, Smile, Lisa. That one was a touching (and highly naturalistic) look at a young couple dealing with a significant change in their lives. The film is incredibly heartfelt and sincere, but certain moments (especially the opening scene) suggest a director who is interested in capturing more idiosyncratic characters.

The Projectionist —Dir. Marcus McKenzie

This short film is considered a “proof of concept” for a much larger project, but we couldn’t help but be so moved by the trailer that we included it here. It’s the story of a recently widowed man who transports himself into the world of his Super 8 home movie projections. We love the film’s commitment to grit and texture, certainly a nod to the Super 8 film stock the main character is so transfixed by. But we also admire the ambition of making this premise fit a short film (at least for its trial run).

Sherbert Rozencrantz, You’re Beautiful —Dir. Natalie van den Dungen

Natalie van den Dungen is a film festival pro by now. She’s had films screened at over 100 festivals worldwide. On top of her award-winning shorts, she’s also crafted short docs, music videos and TV spots. What’s most amazing? When you see all her work side by side, both commerical and personal, it all feels of one piece.

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