Flickerfest 20th Anniversary DVD (2010)

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Released 2-Mar-2011

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Short Films None
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2010
Running Time 263:00
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Various
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Various
Case Amaray-Transparent-Dual
RPI $24.95 Music Various


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio Varies
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Varies Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    Many years ago a short film would precede a feature film playing in a cinema. This provided aspiring filmmakers with an accessible outlet for their product. Unfortunately, this practice is now long passed and these days the only forums for short films are film festivals and specialty media. Australia hosts many popular short film festivals including Tropfest, InTheBin and The Bondi Short Film Festival, to name just a few. But generally speaking, short films tend to be under-appreciated, especially by mainstream audiences. They are however, an aspect of cinema which provides young filmmakers in particular, with the foundation to hone their skills and establish a career. For this reason alone, they deserve broader attention.

One of the premier supporters of the medium is Flickerfest. Flickerfest is a highly respected Australian short film festival, providing an arena for local and international content. The festival began in 1991 as a small local event at Balmain High School. Over the last twenty years, it has developed into an international forum for the exhibition and competition of short films. Flickerfest is also the only short film festival in Australia to be recognised by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Academy Awards) and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA's).

    This year marks the 20th anniversary of the festival and to celebrate this milestone, Madman has released this wonderful two-disc edition, showcasing twenty-three outstanding Australian short films. All of these films have been in competition at Flickerfest and all have been recognised at other major international film festivals. This collection includes films by some well-known Aussie identities and many exciting talents in the Australian film industry. It's also a well balanced collection, with a nice mix of animated films enhancing the set. If you're an admirer of short films or cinema in general, this two-disc edition is an essential addition to your collection.

    Each film is listed below in presented order, with a brief (spoiler free) synopsis.

   Disc One: 

    Nana - Directed by Warwick Thornton, 2007 (5:50) Aspect ratio 1.87:1

    This charming little film could easily be a prequel to the story of Delilah in Warwick Thornton's brilliant feature debut, Samson & Delilah. Nana features a lovely performance from Mitjili Napanangka Gibson, who also plays the role of Nana in Samson & Delilah. Incidentally, this short film is included on the DVD and Blu-ray editions of Samson & Delilah.

    The Mechanicals - Directed by Leon Ford, 2005 (8:21) Aspect ratio 1.85:1

    Have you ever heard strange noises coming from inside your walls? Has your radio ever kept playing after you've switched it off? This very original and funny film will make you think twice every time you flick a light switch or turn a water tap in your house.

    Standing Room Only - Directed by Deborra-Lee Furness, 2004 (11:45) Aspect ratio 1.87:1

    Deborra-Lee's film is a light-hearted story of a small group of people who have queued to purchase a limited number of theatre tickets - standing room only. The film is dedicated to Hugh and Oscar, so it's only natural that her husband, Hugh Jackman plays one of the patrons. Standing Room Only boasts other well-known performers including Michael Gambon, Andy Serkis, Mary-Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Joanna Lumley.

    Miracle Fish - Directed by Luke Doolan, 2009 (17:46) Aspect ratio 2.38:1

    Apart from the fact that it's his 8th Birthday, it's just another day at school for young Joe. His mum has packed his favorite sandwiches and he has a small gift from his father - a plastic miracle fish. After falling asleep in the sick bay, Joe suddenly realises that he is all alone in the school. Has the entire school been abducted by aliens or is there something even more sinister happening.

    Car Pool - Directed by Martha Goddard, 2007 (8:45) Aspect ratio 1.75:1

    I'm sure most of us have been embarrassed by our parents at some point in our lives. Kerry Armstrong shines in this very funny film about a young man's adolescent urges and the mother who is only too willing to give away all his little secrets.

    Chicken Of God - Directed by Frank Woodley, 2008 (8:41) Aspect ratio 1.78:1

    Written and directed by Frank Woodley, this animated film tells the tale of a chicken saved from the dinner table by being falsely proclaimed the "Chicken of God". Strangely enough, this chicken actually begins to change the fortunes of the poor farmer and his wife - that is, until they get too greedy.

    Ward 13 - Directed by Peter Cornwell, 2003 (14:37) Aspect ratio 1.38:1

    A stop-motion animation about a hospital patient, who uncovers some sinister events going on in Ward 13. A film with a nice combination of thriller and action elements. The action scenes late in the film are quite well staged.

    Celestial Avenue - Directed by Colin & Cameron Cairnes, 2009 (19:54) Aspect ratio 2.52:1

    A woman meets her blind date at a Chinese restaurant. Needing a break, she retreats alone outside into the laneway. Here she sees and hears a kitchen-hand singing in the quiet of the evening. She is mesmerized by this man and suddenly loses all interest in her date.

    Crossbow - Directed by David Michôd, 2007 (14:10) Aspect ratio 1.78:1 

     In many ways, Crossbow has relevance to Michôd's 2010 feature debut, Animal Kingdom. Apart from some familiar cast and crew members, Crossbow displays a comparable visual style. The profound and confronting narrative also heralds a prelude to something much bigger. Crossbow is also presented as an extra on the Madman DVD and Blu-ray editions of Animal Kingdom.

    Dance Like Your Old Man - Directed by Gideon Obarzanek & Edwina Throsby, 2006 (10:16) Aspect ratio 1.78:1

    A group of young women discuss their individual relationship with their fathers. They also show off the style of dance, which best fits their father's personality.

    Franswa Sharl - Directed by Hannah Hilliard, 2009 (13:54) Aspect ratio 1.85:1

    When two families go on holiday in Fiji, the father's become very competitive with their children. When the resort announces they are staging a Miss Fiji contest, the eldest son of one of the families has an idea.

Disc Two:

    Mutt - Directed by Glen Hunwick, 2008 (7:07) Aspect ratio 1.77:1

    A well written, outstanding stop-motion animation about a lovable farm dog and his best friend - a rubber ball.

    Tomorrow - Directed by Simon Portus, 2008 (14:59) Aspect ratio 1.98:1 

    A moving film about a troubled fifteen-year-old girl, hitchhiking her way to Tweed Heads with the hope of a fresh start in life. The film features beautiful performances from the two leads, young Laura Davies and Leah Purcell.

    In Search of Mike - Directed by Andrew Lancaster, 2000 (7:54) Aspect ratio 2.12:1

    A funny film about the relationship of Brian and his mother. Brian's mother is full of colourful and sarcastic comments. One day young Brian asked his mother if she knew the whereabouts of his scary Halloween doll. Her response set about his search for Mike.

    The Girl Who Swallowed Bees - Directed by Paul McDermott, 2007 (8:51) Aspect ratio 1.75:1

    A nice combination of live-action and animation. This fable, written and directed by Paul McDermott of Good News Week fame, tells the story of a young suicidal girl whose life is suddenly transformed by a hive of bees.

    My Rabit Hoppy - Directed by Anthony Lucas, 2008 (3:12) Aspect ratio 1.26:1

    Young Henry and his sister, Peggy show off their pet rabbit, Hoppy. But things aren't quite what they seem in this backyard.

    Spider - Directed by Nash Edgerton, 2007 (9:24) Aspect ratio 2.37:1

    Co-written by Nash Edgerton and Animal Kingdom's, David Michôd, this superb short film has a very moral message about practical jokes. Let me just say, nothing will prepare you for the amazing climax to this film. Spider is also available as an extra on the two-disc DVD edition of Nash Edgerton's only feature film (to date), The Square. This year, Nash made a sequel to Spider - an eleven minute film titled, Bear. That film brings his short film tally to an impressive nine.

    Zero - Directed by Christopher Kezelos, 2009 (12:33) Aspect ratio 1.79:1

    Everyone is born with a number. The higher the number, the higher the prestige in life. This charming little animation follows the lowest in society - a Zero. But even a Zero is capable of achieving greatness.

    Cracker Bag - Directed by Glendyn Ivin, 2003 (14:26) Aspect ratio 1.85:1

    This nostalgic film is sure to bring back memories for anyone who can remember "cracker nights" and more importantly, the anticipation leading up to the night. Young Eddie has been collecting and sorting her stash of fireworks for sometime. Finally, her big night arrives. Together with her mother and brother, Eddie carries her full cracker bag onto the vacant oval.

    Jacob - Directed by Dena Curtis, 2009 (11:56) Aspect ratio 1.77:1

    This beautifully poignant film is set in Central Australia in 1940. On a remote cattle station, Max can't wait to return home to see his newborn son. But his homecoming isn't at all what Max expected or hoped for.

    Joy - Directed by Cate Shortland, 2000 (9:49) Aspect ratio 1.81:1

    A group of teenage girls hit the local shopping centre in search of a fun night out. The night of booze, brawls, boy's and shoplifting comes to an end when Joy returns home to unhappy parents.

    Advantage - Directed by Sean Byrne, 2007 (10:50) Aspect ratio 2.35:1

    While strolling home late one night, an amorous young couple notices that the local tennis courts are unlocked. They enter through the open gate onto the dark courts. But as things begin to heat up on the umpire's chair, the courts suddenly light up and strange noises come from the speaker system. This film also features as an extra on the DVD and Blu-ray editions of The Loved Ones.

    The Saviour - Directed by Peter Templeman, 2005 (17:30) Aspect ratio 1.91:1

    Together with his team of church elder's, young  Malcolm knocks on doors preaching the word of God. While his objective is to enrich lives, he manages to change the lives of Carmel and Tony in ways he never imagined.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    As noted above, this collection is presented in a wide range of aspect ratios - all relevant to the particular short film. Were it is applicable, the transfers are 16x9 enhanced.

    Considering the various film sources used in the production of these films, the entire collection has been transferred to DVD incredibly well. The transfer is sharp and clear throughout. Blacks were clean and shadow detail was generally excellent.

    There were no significant issues with colour. Each film was well balanced and appeared to accurately reflect its source material.

    There were no MPEG artefacts in the transfer. Film-to-video artefacts were not problematic and film artefacts were virtually non-existent.

    Unfortunately, there are no subtitles available with any of the films.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There is only one audio track available, English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s), which is surround encoded.

    I had no problems hearing and comprehending any of the dialogue and audio sync appeared accurate throughout.

     With the use of Pro Logic, the surround channels and subwoofer were quite active across the majority of films.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    

Menu

    The main menu is static, 16x9 enhanced and features a sample of music from one of the films.

    There are no extras on this edition.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    At the time of writing this review, there is no other DVD edition of this collection of short films.

Summary

    This two-disc edition of the Flickerfest 20th Anniversary DVD showcases twenty-three award winning Australian short films. This edition is an essential investment for anyone with a genuine passion for short films or cinema in general. Here's hoping Madman release further short film anthologies in the near future.

    The video and audio transfers are excellent.

    There are no extras on this edition - the films speak for themselves.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Steve Crawford (Tip toe through my bio)
Saturday, July 02, 2011
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DMP-BD35 Blu Ray Player, using HDMI output
DisplayHitachi 106cm Plasma Display 42PD5000MA (1024x1024). Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationPanasonic SA-HE70 80W Dolby Digital and DTS
SpeakersFronts: Jensen SPX7 Rears: Jensen SPX4 Centre: Jensen SPX13 Subwoofer: Jensen SPX17

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