Arts and Culture

Review: Fleurieu Film Festival

Posted on: Mon 18 Feb 2019

By Julie Cavanagh.

Last weekend I was lucky enough to get to the Fleurieu Film Festival, held on a cool, but clear, night at the S.C. Pannell Winery in McLaren Vale, as an early starter for the Fringe.

This is the fourth year of the festival and the volunteer committee is showing increasing confidence in the organisation of the event, featuring a full evening of entertainment to keep the capacity crowd amused. Lucy and Harry and a delightfully crazy band, The Young and the Wrestlers, were definite hits with the early arrivals taking advantage of the food trucks and bar, or dining in the on-site restaurant.

As night fell, it was time for the serious stuff – 12 short films of no more than 8 minutes, with this year’s theme being Climate Change – Hot Topic, Kool Films. However, we were first subjected to the obligatory speeches – the essential thank you to sponsors, well presented as a short movie, a rambling welcome from the Mayor, then an unfortunate tirade from a member of the Wilderness Society, who missed an opportunity to make some significant statements about climate change by turning it into an overlong political rant.

Once the films commenced, they were greeted with great enthusiasm by the audience, young and old alike. A welcome new innovation this year was the introduction of the Inspirational Young Filmmaker Award, for 18-24 year olds, and the award went to Brodie Winning, for his well thought out and produced offering Harvest.

Some of the finalists chose to make only a token nod to climate change, but the majority addressed the topic in a thought provoking and confronting manner, with some standout photography and editing. It was good to see international entries being sought and the award for this category went to Sil van der Woerd & Jorik Dozy from the Netherlands, for Birthplace.

Lotte Sweeney got the nod for Best Cinematographer, for some great work on Wind Giants and this one also took out overall Best Film for its director, Nick Thomson.

The presence of many younger film makers bodes well for the future and really demonstrates the value of this local festival in the encouragement it gives to aspiring film makers, writers, actors, editors and cinematographers.

The Fleurieu Film Festival is an annual one-night event, usually held in February, at McLaren Vale on the Fleurieu Peninsula – check out the website at for details of next year’s festival.

Julie Cavanagh

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