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Small films, big talent!

Updated: Mar 26, 2022

David Black reviews the 82nd Filmonik open screen short film night

Some cities have thriving indie film communities and Melbourne is one of the blessed ones.

The driving force behind this is the enthusiasts that volunteer their time to organise outlets for filmmakers such as short film nights. Filmonik Melbourne is one such event and I recently attended their 82nd monthly screening!

Special guest host, Saara Lamberg, interviews David Black

Filmonik is part of the international Kino movement which started in Montreal in 1999.

The binding philosophy of all the Kino/ Filmonik night's world wide is the belief in filmmaking with minimum resources in a collaborative environment.

What these people lack in resources, they more than make up for in talent!

Another packed night at Filmonik Melbourne. Pic by BJ Hill

I brought along my short 2 minute lockdown film, Karmic Beacon, on a USB stick so that I could participate in the fun. I wasn't disappointed.

There were a dozen short films jammed into the night. I got mine to the projectionist, Glyn Francis, who was racing to get them all onto the hard drive so that they could start rolling at 8:30.

Glyn Francis getting all the films organised on the hard drive and ready to go!

The night was packed out and BJ Hill was taking pictures of all the filmmakers, actors, crew and fans, as they shmoozed and boozed in eager anticipation of the nights visual offerings. He even had a film of his own on the agenda.

BJ Hill with camera at the ready

Saara Lamberg was the guest mc, taking over from the regular host, Iphigenie Frey who recently became a mother and had to miss this one. Iphigenie and her partner, Olivier Bonenfant have been integral to Filmonik Melbourne.

I asked Olivier about his work here and was given the following, informative answer.

"Filmonik was founded in 2013 and I started contributing as a filmmaker in 2014. With my partner Iphigenie we've started to really get involved in running Filmonik late 2015 after the founders moved to Sydney. In Canada for Kino Montreal I was director of the monthly screening between 2010 and 2013. We'd often pull an audience of over 200 each month in an historic theatre."

Olivier Bonenfant manning the door. This is just one of his many jobs for Filmonik

The films were shown in 2 sections. There was an interesting variety and some were absolutely mind blowing.

The night started out with a music video, co-directed by Robert Spence and Jessica Rae. It took influence from Joaquin Phoenix's Joker, with Rod Lara doing an amazing performance as a mime that slowly goes insane. Rod said that he has a love of playing dark characters, and he certainly brought something special to this one.

Murray Enders (director) and Garrett Anderson (dop) brought us a very clever, secret agent type film called "The Set Up." It showed that a great script and brilliant acting will get you around having no budget every time.

The final film of the night was a crowd favourite. Snake Lab 27, directed by Gareth Eckerson, paid homage to the old B&W horror movies. A great use of camera angles helped convey the sheer size of a snake, which I am told was actually made out of yoga mats. Stylised deaths and simple props made this film all the more enjoyable.

A film maker Q&A session

Each filmmaker got to take the stage for a question and answer session after their showing. I found that to be one of the highlights of the night as I learned all the secrets of how the magic was created. Yes, I realise that you are dying to know, but I won't tell you. You will just have to show up to the next Filmonik to discover how the magician does his tricks.

I have to thank the tireless, volunteer organisers for hosting another successful night and helping make the Melbourne indie film scene thrive. I also have to thank Grace Liu for taking many of the photos I've used, while I jotted down notes.

David Black with note pad and pen, with Grace Liu, who took most of the pics here. This one was taken by Lily Qian.

For those that would like to know more about Filmonik, here is their FB page -

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