Strong field for Benalla Shorts

By Benalla Ensign

The 2019 Benalla Shorts Film Festival was one of the highlights of the Wall to Wall Weekend.

With winners announced in six categories, and a tie for the top prize, the field was strong this year.

Skippy star and Benalla Shorts Judge Tony Bonner AM said he was glad to finally have the opportunity to take part and he was not disappointed by the standard of the competition.

‘‘I was asked to come years ago, but every time it was getting close to the date I ended up on a film somewhere,’’ Mr Bonner said.

‘‘So this year I made a distinct effort and I said to my agent that unless I get the opportunity to work with Spielberg lock me into the Benalla Shorts Film Festival.’’

The 2019 Benalla Shorts Film Festival winners were:

●Best Film — The Shadow by Sean Hellend and Robbie and Rose by Joel Fleming.

●Local Encouragement Award — Grave Expectations by Andy Burkitt.

●Best Student Film — DINK by Thomas Bridges.

●People’s Choice — Sketchbook by David Musical.

●Best Performance — Jack Braddy in Grave Expectations.

●Youth Encouragement Award — Caleb Wildon Cole for Pigeon Games.

Mr Bonner said as the standard was so high judging was not easy.

‘‘I’ve done a lot of judging film festivals over the years, so I know the kinds of things to look at,’’ Mr Bonner said.

‘‘I see the opening credits and I get a feel for what the writer is trying to say. Things like that are important and the musical feeling as well.

‘‘I get that feel then I watch the development of the story and characters and I get a feeling about what the director is trying to do or say.

‘‘The Shadow being a kind of science fiction thriller with scary, creepy subject matter is always a difficult type of film to make.

‘‘Hitchcock did it better than anyone, so its enjoyable to see a filmmaker tackling those difficult elements of scary films, and he did a really good job considering his budget.

‘‘And Robbie and Rose I thought was a brave attempt at tackling what is becoming a more acceptable and understandable journey in life.

‘‘Some boys are born with certain feelings, some girls are born with certain feelings . So it’s a delicate subject to tackle and I think the young filmmaker did a really good job.

‘‘I though the two films were great, I also very much enjoyed ‘Dink’, It was a wonderful film.’’

With the projector still warm organisers have already set their sights on next year’s festival, which Mr Bonner said might be even bigger and better than previous years.

Organisers of the 5th National Benalla Short Film Festival asked to thank their sponsors Friends of BPACC, The Rotary Club of Benalla, Benalla Bowls Club, West End Post Office and AFI/AACTA.