The 12th annual Scone Short Film Festival made its return, after a three year COVID-induced hiatus, in what turned out to be a celebration of Australian film talent and a sign of return to post-pandemic life.
The event featured short films that had screened at top class festivals such as Flickerfest and CinefestOZ and starring established actors such as Harry Greenwood, Fiona Press, Steve Bisley, Stephen Curry and Jackson Tozer.
The event's popularity proved to be stronger than ever, selling out before the premier. Nick Dixon, Production Assistant on the short film The Bus To Birra Birra said grassroots support for the Australian film industry was vital to its survival after the damaging effects of the pandemic.
"The short films are desperate for support. You provide a vital service. I love your passion for Australian short film. Thanks for organising it. I thoroughly enjoyed [the evening] it was very good," he said.
The People's Choice Award of the festival went to the inclusive story of We Have Me, produced by Liam Heyen and Jodine Holli Wolman, and directed by Jacob Melamed. Local Jenny Hick's thought provoking film The Stranger, shot at Pickering Homestead Denman, came second.
Steven Rees, producer of the dramatic and emotional short film, Giants, filmed at Narrabri, praised the efforts of organisers in bringing cultural events back to regional spaces.
"This was a great thing here. You guys must work big time to get this off the ground, and it was beautifully organised," he said.
"It was a really lovely, well run, community event, with so many people helping. I think you are really lucky to have such good films and sell out."
Having won Best Australian Short at this year's Flickerfest, Giants is now eligible for Oscar nomination.
Audiences were just as favourable in their review of the event with Scone's Bettina Cummings finding it hard to choose a favourite but ultimately choosing We Have Me.
"I liked the way it was put together and had a good laugh," she said.
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