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Refreshing as a theme and yet almost nostalgic as a concept, this year’s mantra for entries in the Manly ScreenWorks short film festival is Protest! – and the exclamation mark is official. Andrew L. Urban – who is also the Festival’s Patron - previews this year’s event.

The age of socio-political protest is over, one might have thought, but of course in the context of Manly ScreenWorks, filmmakers can interpret Protest! in any sense they can imagine. And there are 20 entries already registered: “We found ourselves in the right place at the right time when we chose the theme Protest!” says festival director Boyd Attewell. Its no exaggeration to say that the new century has seen a groundswell of people all over the world who are willing to speak out – alone or in their thousands. Everything from individual protests to the stolen generation. Why have filmmakers taken to the theme? – That’s easy, filmmakers need a motive to create anything exceptional. Ask any scriptwriter. Even a comedy needs impetus to drive its plot and its characters - jokes alone certainly don’t make a comedy. What better motivation than Protest?”

Attewell is thrilled with the quality of entries to date. “There are films that cover issues of youth, race, gender and politics,” he says. “There are comedies, dramas, docos and animations, as well as two multi-media works. There are films that explore the concept of protest on a global scale, and others that focus on the personal protests of one person against another.”

Other short film festivals have themes or items (eg Tropfest entries this year have to include ‘match’ in some interpretation) but Manly ScreenWorks is unique in having social discussion themes. In the past, these have included the environment and Being Australian.

Screenworks is a non-profit Festival, now under the directorship of Boyd Attewell, who runs on enthusiasm and dedication. “ScreenWorks conducts a film festival that encourages and promotes new and established independent film makers,” he says. “This is achieved by providing filmmakers with a forum to present works that are new, challenging and incisive. Creators of these works deserve recognition and assistance to further their craft. Our festival audiences should be entertained, informed and challenged.”

An Australian fantasy/comedy called Slipper, written and directed by Glenn Fraser. Conceived and featuring Ineke Rapp as Miranda. Miranda is a modern day princess with old fashioned values. She’s also a sexual being who can’t seem to nail down her perfect mate. Lacking the voice to ask what she wants she undertakes a unique quest. She emerges as a very modern kind of woman!

Inna Dreemin’ is a documentary that deals with the issues of identity, tolerance and heritage among young indigenous Australians. The film is by
Paula Mailman and was produced as part of Metroscreen’s Indigenous Mentor program.

Dare to Dream is a drama fantasy by Adrian Wills. It also came out of Metroscreen’s Mentor program. The performances, effects and mise en scene are striking.

Street Talk – an entry from New Zealand by Tessa Hoffe. A comedy where nothing is sacred - not protesters, not ministers of state, and certainly not cream pies!

Comfort Zones is a drama by Reuben Field. Reuben is only 19 but has already had his work selected for screening at the Art Gallery of NSW and on SBS. This film looks at the agonising choices of conformity versus rebellion. Reuben wrote, directed, produced, shot and edited the film. He is a resident of Manly.

Kyoto Now by Jonathan Cohen. This is the comedy that a television network commissioned but decided it was too hot to handle. It’s a cutting commentary on Australia’s acquiescence to the US withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol. Undue influence? You be the judge.

Causes, a short animation by Joseph Brumm. A beautiful and whimsical animation that connects a butterfly, a fast food chain and….we won’t spoil the ending.

A Plantation is Not a Forest by Tim Cadman. This is an animation that is the combined work of forest activists in Northern NSW and Brazil.

4 Boys and a Baby – a personal account of the birth of a child. What’s the protest? If you’re in labour and your partner is pointing a video camera at you, you’ll know!

For a Living by Melissa Anastasi. Dramatic cinematography. A cold hard look at your 9 to 5 routine.

Published August 9, 2001

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Street Talk

Festival Dates:
October 22 – 27, 2001
North Steyne Surf Pavilion, Manly
Tickets: $10 per session, $8 concession, including the special finalists’ session.A full Festival ticket is $45, a saving of $25. (all incl GST)
Ticket enquiries: boydatt@bigpond.com

total value over $10,000
(and includes a showcase of the winners on Urban Cinefile)
Films up to 16 minutes, any genre; international entries also eligible;
Entries close September 21, 2001
See the website

Background briefing:
In 1997, Candy Dische of Candy’s Café in Manly (and arts patron) conceived a short film festival: it was called Short Black. With a new direction, new committee and eyes on a larger horizon, the festival this year is re-christened ScreenWorks, and has the support of the local community, Manly Council, NSW FTO, several sponsors - and operates with the help of a Board of Advisors. It is an incorporated associqation owned by its members: membership is open to anyone.

Major sponsors include:
Spectrum Films
Dendy Cinemas
Easynet Web Services
If Magazine
Australian Video Camera Magazine
Manly Council
NSW Film & Television Office
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