QUT is home to over a hundred clubs and societies that create fun events for entertainment and networking purposes all year round. And the QUT Film Club is one of them. As a non-film student (aka, an imposter) I stumbled upon their film festival, Shorties, and was amazed by the quality of the productions.
I had many a question, mainly why had I never heard of this before? So, I had a chat with Jo San Martin, the club president, to get them answered.
What is Shorties?
“Shorties is an annual short film festival run by QUT Film Club. A film festival for the ‘reel’ world. Its main goal is to highlight student works and create a space where they feel comfortable with expression through cinema arts. It’s traditionally held at the beginning of the year, and works range from first year through to Alumni shorts.”
How can students participate?
They can participate every year during Semester One when it’s traditionally held. We usually announce through socials, like Instagram, and with posters around uni. And students are able to submit works they’ve recently completed or are proud of and want to showcase. Ranging from narrative, factual, music video, animation and experimental. Students have a chance to submit regardless of whether they study in the Creative Industries or Film. Anyone across the university community can submit! They just have to be 30 seconds to 12 minutes long, attend or be a past student of QUT, and hit submit!
What is your favourite part of the event?
Definitely the viewing the day of. Watching it all come together after planning for two months is certainly a big part of it. The payoff is always great. And seeing the students have the chance to see their work on a bigger screen than a laptop or monitor is a great experience. Everyone in that room is there because they love creating or watching stories, so it’s really special when you see your own work up there.
What prizes do you have and how do you choose the winners?
We have the Shorties Awards at the end of the night. The winners are chosen by the audience in attendance live on the night. They get to vote for best cinematography, editing, director, performance, sound, and execs choice. This year awards went bananas (if you know, you know).
Can students access the videos after the show?
As a club-run film festival, we don’t distribute the content submitted after the festival finishes. All works screened can be accessed through the creatives’ profiles on socials, video platforms like Vimeo or YouTube or simply walking up to the people and demanding they show you their short films (please don’t do that, just opt for a good stalk).
Are there any Shorties success stories? Films that went on to win prizes at film festivals or notable filmmakers.
Shorties submissions have certainly run both local and national festival circuits under the people’s own volition. Shorties is a good space where students can experiment with a first viewing of their works in progress or start locally at a university film festival level and use us as a springboard to greater things. More than anything Shorties is about sharing and networking with the backing of safety that a university context offers. For example, people have crewed productions from people they met through the festival. Having something to submit to Shorties is a success in itself because producing a short film, however long it may be, takes time and care. A currency uni students and creative industries students in particular juggle with.
Students and Alumni have nothing but kind words for the festival. The following are some quotes from previous winners.
“I was not expecting to win in those categories at all, especially sound as I had never done any sound design before this film. But it was really nice to be recognised for those parts and definitely encouraged me to consider submitting to other festivals. I think the Shorties Awards are a great way to celebrate and share the work of students. I watched many unique films at the screening, it makes you excited to see what this generation will do in the future.” — Muraya Moore
Muraya Moore’s short film Lemons won Best Sound and Best Cinematography in 2021. Lemons has also played at the St Kilda Film Festival (Under the Radar section), West End Film Festival, and Sydney Underground film festival.
“My film won Best Director, Best Film, and Best Performer at Shorties. I submitted my film to several Australian and international film competitions through Film Freeway. The film was selected for six festivals. It didn’t win any of these competitions but was a semi-finalist at the Changing Faces International Film Festival and finalist at Screen It International Film Festival.
“The film’s success at Shorties was really inspiring. It was the first time a work of mine was seen by a large audience, and seeing the positive reaction was so exciting. It motivated me to start work on my next project. I’ve made two more short films since that I entered into festivals to similar results. As of now I’ve mostly moved away from the film space and am working as a videographer and photographer. I hope I’m able to find the time and resources to make another film sometime in the future though.” — Quinn Murphy
This year the festival line-up included 25 films, ranging from experimental, narrative, music videos, and others. The Shorties 2023 award winners were:
Best Music Video: One Dolla – Rutherford Jazz Trio
Executive’s Choice: The Nine Gates
Best Narrative: Bananas
Best Director: Bananas
Best Cinematography: Bananas
Best Sound: Bananas
Best Performance: Bananas
Best Experimental: Pagan Virtues
Best Editing: Pagan Virtues
You can watch the music video One Dolla here.
You can watch the narrative film The Nine Gates here.
You can’t stream Bananas quite just yet. The film is being sent to festivals that require premiere rights. But, if you’d like to follow their journey, you can find their Instagram here.
You can watch the experimental film Pagan Virtues here. (CW: blood, organs, hypnotic editing).
QUT Film Club, also known as QFC, is all about watching films, talking about films and loving (or hating) films! They host events like free screenings on campus, trivia nights at Grove bar, and more! Become a member and follow them on Instagram to keep up to date with upcoming events.