Freaky, Fantastic and Feminist

MWFF 2019 Opening Night

ACMI, Thursday 21 February, 6:30pm


This session is restricted to persons over 15 years and older.

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Storytime (2006 / 9 mins)

Two adventurous Kimberley kids wander deep into the mangroves at sunset, only to find that the terrifying campfire stories of the Gooynbooyn Woman may not be a myth after all. Clerc’s award-winning Indigenous horror film is based on her experience of growing up in the Broome region of Western Australia, where she was regaled with stories of the spirit of a woman that lived in the mangroves and stole children. But to Clerc and her Nyul Nyul/Yawuru community, the Gooynbooyn Woman is not just a legend, but a very real creature.

Director – Jub Clerc

Writers – Sylvia Clarke, Jub Clerc

Producer – Belinda Kelsall


This Woman Is Not A Car (1982 / 23 mins)

A mother from an outer Adelaide suburb drives her children to a distant beach in a station wagon. When she pulls over at a rural service station, imagination and reality collide through a nightmarish assault by car fetishists. Interweaving fear and fantasy, This Woman Is Not A Car reaches an absurd conclusion that highlights the objectification of women and their role in Australian life. Part of a new wave of feminist funk art, Dodd’s film sits alongside her acclaimed ceramic art pieces of the same theme. Together, they form an audacious commentary on masculinity and violence as well as an exploration of femininity and maternity.

Writer / Director – Margaret Dodd

Producers – Jenny Jacobs, Vyner Gillespie


On Guard (1984 / 50 mins)

Four Sydney women team up to sabotage a supercomputer belonging to a disreputable biotechnology firm, while simultaneously making a documentary to send to television stations. Along the way, they must juggle their shared mission with the pressures of work, home, kids, and relationships. But when one of the conspirators loses her personal diary, their plans threaten to be derailed. Hailed as “dazzlingly unconventional” upon its original release, critics admired On Guard’s boldly feminist agenda and focus on the ethics of reproductive rights – a hugely topical subject in 1980s Australia, with increasing access to IVF technology.

Director – Susan Lambert

Writer – Sarah Gibson, Susan Lambert

Producer – Digby Duncan

The opening night screenings will be followed by an after party at the ACMI Café.

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Recommended for persons 15 years and older.

Recommended for persons 15 years and older.

The Well

(1997, 101 mins)

Palace Kino Cinemas, Friday 22nd February, 6:30pm

***SOLD OUT***

Based on the award-winning novel, The Well is a psychological drama that will keep audiences guessing at every twist and turn. Katherine, a girl with a mysterious past finds work on an isolated farm run by an older woman, Hester. But a tragic accident shifts the balance of power, and tensions rise as Hester goes to extreme measures to maintain control over her employee. With stellar performances from Pamela Rabe (Wentworth) and Miranda Otto (Lord of the Rings), The Well was nominated for the prestigious Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival. It won numerous honours worldwide, including three AFI Awards, and is a much-loved Australian classic.

Director Samantha Lang and producer Sandra Levy have painstakingly created this digital restoration of the original film, premiering in Victoria at MWFF.

Director – Samantha Lang

Writer - Elizabeth Jolley (novel), Laura Jones

Producer – Sandra Levy

The film is followed by a Q&A with Samantha Lang.


Playing With


Monster (2005 / 10 mins)

Before The Babadook, there was Monster. Susan Prior (All Saints) stars as an exhausted single mother on the verge of an emotional breakdown. As she battles her son's terror of a monster in the house, she soon discovers that the sinister presence he fears is real... Or is it? Monster was a breakout success for writer/director Jennifer Kent, screening at more than 50 short film festivals around the world and receiving widespread kudos. Screen Australia supported Kent to develop the short into a full-length screenplay which became horror sensation The Babadook.

Writer / Director – Jennifer Kent

Producer – Isabel Perez

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Late Night Screaming

Palace Kino Cinemas, Friday 22nd February, 10:30pm

Restricted to persons 15 years and older. Strong horror, violence, blood and gore.

Restricted to persons 15 years and older. Strong horror, violence, blood and gore.


Inner Demon (2014 / 84 mins)

In this claustrophobic and harrowing horror film, a teenage girl Sam is abducted by a deranged serial killer couple in rural South Australia. After managing to escape, she seeks refuge in an isolated farmhouse – only to discover that the cabin in the woods is home to even greater horrors in the form of a malevolent spirit. As Sam is forced to fight for survival, power dynamics shift and blur, until it’s no longer clear who is a villain and who is being forced to commit evil.

Loosely based on a series of real-life murders, Inner Demon debuted at A Night of Horror International Film Festival where it picked up the awards for Best Australian Feature, Best Australian Director and Best Female Performance.

Writer / Director – Ursula Dabrowsky

Producer – Sue Brown


Playing With


Blood Sisters (2017 / 10 mins)

When two friends attempt to dabble in amateur witchcraft, they are not prepared for the hilarious unintended consequences. This horror comedy follows the women’s misadventures as things quickly go from bad to bloody, putting their courage and their friendship to the test. Blood Sisters is the second short film for award-winning genre filmmaker Caitlin Koller. It has won a slew of awards worldwide, including Best Foreign Horror Comedy Short Award at the 2017 Atlanta Horror Film Festival.

Directors / Producers – Caitlin Koller, Lachlan Smith

Writer – Hannah White


The Five Provocations

(2019, 84 mins)

Kino Palace Cinemas, Saturday 23rd February, 7pm


This session is recommended for persons over 15 years.


The lives of four very different people intertwine in this performance-driven ensemble drama about dealing with loss and finding yourself. Marlena takes on a timid housemate, Bridget, while secretly dealing with the loss of her married lover, Rosie. Rosie’s husband Paul is also going through his own grief. Handyman Clinton grapples with parenting a teenage daughter and his own developing gender identity. Throughout the film these people will fall apart, but also come together and change each other’s lives. Woven into all these stories are the mysterious five provocations, played with mischievous charm by stars of Australian cabaret. The Five Provocations explores the different ways that people cope with grief and build connections with others to help them overcome their sense of loss.

Director Angie Black skilfully merges performance art from Melbourne’s vibrant theatre scene with a fictional narrative to create an immersive and unique cinema experience. The film premiered to great acclaim at the 2018 Melbourne Queer Film Festival.

Writer / Director – Angie Black

Producers – Angie Black, Atalanti Dionysus, Kelly Dingeldei, Kris Darmody

This screening will be followed by a Q&A with Angie Black.

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Restricted to persons over 15 years. Strong level sex scenes.

Restricted to persons over 15 years. Strong level sex scenes.

The Second

(2018, 94 mins)

Lido Cinemas, Sunday 24th February, 2:30pm


Q&A with The Second stars Rachael Blake and Susie Porter, and Jade of Death director and producer Erin Good and Taylor Litton-Strain.

The Second is a sexy thriller boasting strong female characters and an impressive ensemble cast including Rachael Blake (Lantana), Susie Porter (Wentworth) and Vince Colosimo (Chopper). Director Mairi Cameron’s stunning debut centres around the successful author of an erotic autobiography, played by Blake. But the façade of her seemingly-perfect life crumbles when a weekend in the country with her publisher boyfriend takes a dangerous turn. The surprise appearance of a childhood friend (Porter) forces the unnamed writer to confront her dark past – and its story of secrets, lies and betrayal.

A Stan Original film, The Second premiered at the Sydney Film Festival and was nominated for a prestigious AACTA Award. It marks the introduction of Mairi Cameron as a major new talent in the Australian cinema landscape.

Director – Mairi Cameron

Writer – Stephen Lance

Producer – Leanne Tonkes


Playing With

Jade of Death (Ep.1, 2018 / 10 mins)

Jade of Death is a supernatural Australian online series centres around a small-town girl with a powerful ability: she can hear when and how people are going to die. In this pilot episode, Jade runs away from her hometown, getting work at a seedy freak show carnival as the “Fortune-Teller of Death” – until she discovers that people are after her. There’s more to her past than she lets on, and there’s more to her abilities than she knows.

One of only ten projects worldwide selected to participate in the Berlinale Short Projects Lab, the series has been nominated for over 50 awards internationally, with multiple wins including Best Series at OUT Webfest 2018 and Best Direction at LA Webfest 2018. A second season is currently in development with ABC and Screen Australia. This screening will be followed by a Q&A with the director and producer.

Writer / Director – Erin Good

Producer – Taylor Litton-Strain


Stranger Than Fiction

RMIT Cinema, Saturday 23rd February, 1pm


This session is restricted to persons over 15 years. It contains themes and content relating to abortion and domestic violence.

Proving that real life is often stranger than fiction, these documentaries dig deep beneath the surface of Australian society, bringing to light the issues that often remain buried.


Heavy Haulage Girls (2016 / 18 mins)

“Truck driving is a lifestyle, not just a job.” Increasingly, it is a lifestyle that more women are choosing to pursue. Pilbara Heavy Haulage Girls’ is an organisation dedicated to training and finding opportunities for female truck drivers, operating the biggest trucks in the world – in the harsh conditions of northern Western Australia. Premiering at the St Kilda Film Festival in 2017, Heavy Haulage Girls focuses on women working in a traditionally male dominated industry, the obstacles they face, and the gender stereotypes they must challenge every day.

Director / Producer – Kristina Kraskov

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Unashamed (2016 / 6 mins)

One in three Australian women have an abortion – but few are able to talk about it. Unashamed gives a voice to Kathryn, a young woman who had a first trimester abortion at 19 years old. Through the recounting of this deeply personal story, Unashamed explores the wider issues women facing when taking control of their reproductive health: from shame and stigma, to misconceptions and myths spread by those who are opposed to abortion.

Writer / Director – Ana Carolina Lima

Producer – Annemaree Krane, Brooke Andrews


The Gladsome Centaur (2018 / 13 mins)

Lotte Lyle was Australia’s first film star, appearing in almost every major Australian film of the silent movie era. Although beloved by the public, her husband received much of the credit for Lotte’s innovations in the industry, with her career remaining hidden – until recently. Shining a spotlight on one of the pioneering women of the early days of cinema, The Gladsome Centaur deconstructs the inherent power structures and gender dynamics within the Australian film industry and society. It made its world premiere at the St Kilda Film Festival in 2018.

Writer / Director – Madeline Wilmot

Producers – Anna Charalambous, Pia Harrington

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Hearing Silent Survivors (2017 / 8 mins)

A young female social worker gives her perspectives on the issues of family violence, based on her experiences working with women living in unsafe domestic environments – as well as how her work personally impacts on her daily life. Hearing Silent Survivors highlights patriarchal culture, challenging social attitudes and taboos around domestic violence, and creating a space for women to be empowered in speaking out about their experiences.

Writer / Director / Producer – Solveig Houzvic Franco

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The Clams (2018 / 14 mins)

The Clams explores the inner workings of the Melbourne Clams: a group of 30 women who transitioned from an ordinary book club to feminist synchronised swimming performers in order to combat the current stigma surrounding menstruation. Through the water ballet performances of the Clams themselves, this documentary presents the wondrous functions of the female body, while showcasing feminism and female friendships. Since premiering at the Paris Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, it has screened at the Byron Bay International Film Festival and Canberra Short Film Festival.

Writer / Director – Abbie Pobjoy

Producer – Hazal Alakus


Mama's Boy (2018 / 20 mins)

World Premiere

In April 2011, Toowoomba mother Samantha-Ann Brownlow, hatched a plan to kill her 60-year-old stepfather Robin Behrendorff believing she would receive his estate – and convinced her 19 year old son Corey Lovell to assist her. Mama’s Boy is a shocking true story that investigates what drives a mother and son to murder – with chilling and surprising discoveries along the way. First-time director Jay Jay Walsh draws on her personal connections with relatives and friends of the victim to create a compelling investigation into the crime and its repercussions in the small town where it took place.

Director – Jay Jay Walsh

Producers – Aven Yap, Joseph Wilkie

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Blazers (2017 / 13 mins)

Every year, 2500 people come together and camp for seven days at Blazing Swan, an event in rural Western Australia styled on Burning Man in the USA. Blazers meets the members of this radically inclusive community, revealing their values of self-reliance and cooperation. Filmed over a week of the festival in 2017, this powerful and heart-warming documentary shows how a community built upon self-expression can foster tolerance, acceptance and understanding. It premiered at the CinefestOZ Film Festival in WA.

Director / Producer – Michelle Vuaillat

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Sinister Shorts

RMIT Cinema, Saturday 23rd February, 4:30pm


This session is restricted to persons over 15 years. It contains sexual and horror themes, violence and content relating to suicide.

Darkness takes many forms and these short films will take you on a journey to the outer limits of the human imagination - from the bizarre and the sinister to personal stories that emerge from the shadows.

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The Body Corporate (2018 / 7 mins)

It is a casual Friday: instead of sipping margaritas Jennifer has to attend yet another tedious meeting with a sexist HR manager Douglas and her unruly employee Anne. Allegiances are tested and dark secrets are revealed – as the two women realize the only solution to stop sexual harassment is complete carnage. A darkly absurdist comedy strongly influenced by the Czechoslovakian New Wave, filmmaker Stepanka Cervinkova created The Body Corporate as a response to the sexual harassment she has experienced in the workplace.

Director – Stepanka Cervinkova

Writers – Stepanka Cervinkova, Nathaniel Moncrieff

Producers – Stepanka Cervinkova, Denisa Podraska, Michael Deurwaarder, Leah Hentry, Kelly Barrett, Yolantha Morrigan, Dunja Vojnovic

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Room 264 (2018 / 5 mins)

A woman arrives in a foreign environment and is alone in her motel room. Left to her own thoughts, she falls deeper into a state of unreality and she grapples with the moments that have led to her to this place. As she falls further into this state, the room around her comes to life and the line between reality and imagination blur. Largely improvised and without dialogue, Room 264 explores the expectations of womanhood and the conflicting struggle that can lie at the rejection of these ideas. The film evokes a reaching for a sense of self and familiarity in the midst of an unfamiliar terrain.

Writer / Director – Brodie May Rowlands

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The Big Appeal (2017 / 9 mins)

10 years old with a winning smile, Holly is the region’s top collector for the annual “Big Appeal” charity door knock. But this year, the national winner has moved into town, and he’s strutting his stuff all over Holly’s patch. There’s no doubt he started the fight: but can Holly finish it? The Big Appeal premiered at Canberra Short Film Festival 2017, where it was an official selection for the Canberra Local, Best Actor and Best Editing Awards.

Writer/ Director / Producer – Hana Tow

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Consent (2017 / 13 mins)

After meeting online, a woman allows a virtual stranger into her home to fulfil a rather unusual agreement. But as they begin the process, she starts to question whether she actually wants to go through with it. The debut short film from writer/director Clare Sladden, Consent has screened nationally and internationally, winning numerous awards – including an IndieFest Award of Excellence, a Gold Remi, and the WIFT Award at Freshflix/Vivid.

Directors – Clare Sladden, Jasmine Sladden

Writer / Producer – Clare Sladden


The Wallpaper (2018 / 7 mins)

Rose is prescribed a ‘rest cure’ to treat her depression, but the isolation and boredom soon triggers a descent into psychosis. When she discovers there is a woman living in her wallpaper, her behaviour becomes increasingly self-destructive, placing her marriage under growing strain. Initially conceived as a Tropfest film – for which it was shortlisted – The Wallpaper has gone on to screen across Australia and worldwide, including the Revelation Film Festival in Perth and Female Filmmakers Film Festival in Berlin.

Directors / Producers – Susie Conte, Jenny Crabb

Writer – Dawn Farnham

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Colony (2018 / 15 mins)

After global war has decimated the earth, two sisters are sent to a labour colony on a remote planet called “Heaven” where they are immediately put to work. When one of the girls becomes seriously ill, the other must go to increasingly desperate measures to get the medicine she needs. Set in a futuristic world that is both foreign and familiar, Colony is a timely reminder of the dangers of progress if humanity refuses to learn the lessons of the past. The film has screened to great acclaim at a number of genre festivals, including the Sydney Indie Film Festival, Monster Fest, and Women in Horror Film Festival.

Writer / Director – Catherine Bonny

Producers – Catherine Bonny, Ryan O'Gorman

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Theodore's Gift (2016 / 15 mins)

Iris and her sisters live on a remote farm in Tasmania, with few friends and little connection with the outside world. When Iris decides to leave, her father Theodore gives her a necklace to take on her travels. But Iris soon starts to realize that there is much more to this gift than meets the eye. Drawing on her own personal experiences of growing up in rural Tasmania, Theodore’s Gift is an exquisite coming-of-age tale about the mysterious connections that bind us to nature and to family.

Writer / Director / Producer – Elli Iliades

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The Island (2018 / 20 mins)

Christmas Island, off the coast of Australia: as 50 million crabs make their slow migration from the jungle to the ocean's edge, thousands of asylum seekers are indefinitely held in a high security detention facility. Seen through the eyes of a trauma counsellor working on the island, this documentary bears witness to the dramatic stories of those detained – and the enduring power of the human spirit.

Writer / Director – Gabrielle Brady

Producer – Alex Kelly

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Dolls (2018 / 6 mins)

A man’s taste for plastic dolls in his bedroom continues to end his romantic interactions – until the dolls decide that it’s time to break up with him. But as emotions rise, he is determined to hang onto the unconventional relationship, no matter what it takes. Dolls is a fiendish comedy from award-winning writer/director and Academy Nicholl Fellow Clare Sladden – as well as a wry commentary on the dynamics of power and intimidation within domestic relationships.

Directors – Clare Sladden, Jasmine Sladden

Writer / Producer – Clare Sladden

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Freshly Squeezed Shorts

RMIT Cinema, Sunday 24th February, 1pm


This session is restricted to persons over 15 years. It contains content relating to suicide. Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this session may contain images of people who have passed away.

An eclectic mix of short films in different genres and styles that push boundaries of gender, sexuality, culture, and identity - exploring the many facets of Australian life and society.

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Docked (2018 / 20 mins)

Victorian Premiere

A young South Sudanese aspiring actress works late nights at a bar, where she meets an older guy at a crisis point in his life. As they spend the night walking and talking around Melbourne, these two people from different worlds find an unlikely connection. Sundance Institute Fellow Amie Batalibasi is passionate about creating stories that explore universal feelings such as melancholy. Modelled after the “mumblecore” films of the 90s, Docked juxtaposes dynamic locations and diverse casting to push the storytelling into a place little explored in Australian cinema

Writer / Director – Amie Batalibasi

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Penny, You Did Just Fine (2018 / 3 mins)

Penny You Did Just Fine focuses on the all-too-fleeting moments between life and death. In this quiet and contemplative film, an older woman reflects on her relationship with a beloved pet, who has since passed away – and perhaps on her own mortality. Premiering at the 2018 Melbourne Underground Film Festival Director, Penny You Did Just Fine provides a powerful platform for women’s voices in a male-orientated industry.

Director / Producer – Madeleine Mytkowski

Writer - Zachary McDonald

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Sink (2018 / 7 mins)

When Jess, a young woman living in a rural community, falls in love for the first time, she is unable to reveal to her friends and family that it is with a woman. Her secret lover’s suicide drives Jess to grief and despair, culminating in a shocking act of self-harm to express her pent-up emotions. Featuring the talents of legendary actress Susie Porter (Wentworth), Sink is an intimate study of young love and intolerance in rural Australia – a reflection on the high LGBTQI youth mortality rates within Australian farming communities and the lesbian experience in regional areas.

Director – Cloudy Rhodes

Writer / Producer – Roger Joyce

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Ladies' Lounge (2018 / 8 mins)

In 1965 rural Victoria, a woman chains herself to the foot rail of her local pub to protest the gender segregation laws of the time. But Eleanor’s fight for liberation puts her domestic security at risk and threatens to ostracise her from the community. Based on an incredible true story and made by a mostly female and LGBTQ+ identifying crew, Ladies’ Lounge is the rare Australian film that centres around a gay female protagonist, offering a compelling story of local feminist history.

Writer / Director – Monique Bettello

Producer – Gokce Sel

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Single Man's Hut (2018 / 9 mins)

Inside a sandstone building, historically the living quarters provided for single men working on an estate, a woman dances alone. In Single Man’s Hut, dialogue is replaced by movement and music – breaking through our conditioned ideas of gender to explore the dual masculine and feminine natures that exist in all of us. Single Man’s Hut combines the photographer and dancer skills of its creators The Samaya Wives – who have received numerous awards for their talents around the world, including Winner of Best Dance On Film at the Australian Dance Awards in 2017.

Directors – Pippa Samaya, Tara Jade Samaya

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Salt in Wounds (2018 / 10 mins)

A Filipino-Australian teenager is enjoying a sweet romance with her boyfriend, when she discovers that his taste in porn in purely Caucasian. This realisation forces her to confront her identity and her social group, as she tries to work out where she fits in white Australian society – searching for a sense of belonging. First-time director Alison Adriano brings together a passionate team of young filmmakers who seek to contribute to the changing cultural and gender landscape of film – beyond traditional Anglo heterosexual representations of love.

Writer / Director – Alison Adriano

Producers – Elise Tyson, Harrison Leech


You, Me & Karen (2017 / 11 mins)

Set in a near-future world where technology has taken over the rituals of romance, a young woman is tired of the dates that the algorithm sets up for her. However, when she runs into an old flame without a dating app, she discovers a glimmer of genuine connection. You, Me & Karen is a sly social commentary on our ever-increasing addiction to technology and the way it dominates our communications – including our romantic interactions. This biting satire highlights the necessity of maintaining real human relationships.

Director – Karina Castan

Writer – Clare Toonen

Producer – Jamie Ross-Brown

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RIFT (2017 / 11 mins)

Two indigenous teenage girls find their friendship put to the test as external influences begin to pull them in different directions. When they skip dance class to hang out with some local boys, the girls are lured into an attempted robbery – causing them to question their different values and priorities. Made in collaboration with the WAAPA Aboriginal Theatre Course, Rift explores the subtle influence of indigenous culture, the pressure of choices and the rift that threatens a delicate young female friendship.

Director – Quentin Curzon

Writer – Clare Toonen

Producer – Hannah Ngo


Waterfall (2018 / 15 mins)

14 year old Zahra cannot come to terms with her Iranian mother’s new Australian fiancé, Peter. In an attempt to unite the family, Peter and Leila take Zahra on a road trip in search of a waterfall. Travelling deeper into the rainforest, Zahra’s growing tensions with Peter lead to an inevitable distance from the person she loves most. In Waterfall, Iranian-Australian filmmaker Nora Niasari draws on her personal experiences of straddling two cultures – juxtaposing a troubled family against the beautiful lush landscape, as their shared displacement and isolation reveals their true feelings about each other.

Writer / Director – Nora Niasari

Producer – Mary Minas

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Next Gen Shorts

RMIT Cinema, Sunday 24th February, 4pm


This session is restricted to persons over 15 years. It contains strong depictions and themes of violence against women, nudity and sex scenes.

From side-splitting comedy to heart-pounding horror and gut-wrenching true stories, this diverse range of films showcases the creativity and talents of Australia’s up-and-coming filmmakers.

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Ready for a Baby (2017 / 5 mins)

A woman in her thirties has everything in her life is under control, so now is the perfect time to have a baby with her partner. It should be an easy, natural and exciting process… but things don’t go according to plan. Ready For A Baby is an award-winning animation that has screened at over 60 festivals around the world. It was shortlisted for the prestigious British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Student Film Awards.

Writer / Director / Producer – Anastasia Dyakova

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Feast on the Young (2017 / 13 mins)

A teenage girl, Mina, reluctantly takes a trip to a secluded forest with her dysfunctional family. When she and her little sister Alice venture into the forest in search of a fairy, they unknowingly step straight into a trap – and Mina must find the courage to save her younger sister from the bloodthirsty fairy before she devours them both. A sumptuous fantasy-horror film in the style of Guillermo Del Toro, Feast On The Young won two awards at the 2017 VCA Film and Television Graduate Awards, including Best BFA (FTV) Production and the Sarah Watt Award, awarded to a female directing graduate.

Writer / Director – Katia Mancuso

Producers – Lucy Claire, CJ Welsh

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Ambulance (2018 / 4 mins)

On a seemingly ordinary day, a man suffers a heart attack alone in his apartment. His bereaved sister recalls the final moments of his life, as the ambulance struggles against the busy city traffic to reach him in time. Ambulance is a 3D animation film that explores the powerful and universal themes of loss and grief through a gripping personal story. It premiered at the 2018 St Kilda Film Festival and has screened at the Australian and Melbourne International Animation Film Festivals.

Writer / Director / Producer – Lylah D'Souza

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Cherry (2018 / 10 mins)

Cherry is a coming of age short film that gives insight into the innocent nature of sex through a series of loss-of-virginity stories – ranging from the intimate to the awkward, embarrassing and downright perverse. Conceived as an antidote to the typical glamourisation of sex on-screen, Cherry presents a universal human experience in a realistic way. It premiered at the Revelation Perth International Film Festival and won the People’s Choice Award at the Sydney Underground Film Festival.

Directors – Claudia Bailey, Evie Friedrich, Vanessa Bray

Writers – Claudia Bailey, Evie Friedrich

Producers – Claudia Bailey, Tegan Wick


Cloudy with a Chance of Rain (2017 / 7 mins)

A young woman descends into depression and anxiety, personified by the ever-lurking presence of a woman with a rainstick. As she reflects on how she reached this point, she decides that it’s time to take back control of her own feelings. Filmmaker Mieka Thorogood draws on her personal experiences, as well as those of her family and friends, to understand the headspace of someone suffering mental health issues. Part-doco, part experimental, Cloudy With A Chance Of Rain has spread its message of self-love at numerous festivals across Australia – including the Brisbane Short and Sweet Film Festival where it won the People’s Choice Award.

Writer / Director – Mieka Thorogood

Producer – Matt Keen

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How to Write A Screenplay (2018 / 7 mins)

How To Write A Screenplay offers a hilarious step-by-step guide to the writing process, from brainstorming ideas through to writing and re-drafting – with plenty of coffee and procrastination along the way. Filmed in just two-days with over 100 scenes to create a quirky montage style, How To Write A Screenplay uses slapstick humour to deliver a crucial message to aspiring creatives: hard work is worth it in the end. The film was selected as Best Diploma Thesis Film at Sydney Film School in 2017.

Writer / Director / Producer – Cat Sole

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The Stare (2018 / 8 mins) While catching the last train home, a young woman notices a homeless man staring at her from the far end of the carriage. When the train empties out, she is forced to confront her silent tormentor – embarking on a discovery of her inner psyche and sanity as she faces her deepest fears. With a surreal quality that captures the nostalgia of the old Melbourne train line, The Stare tells an unconventional horror story. Centred around the very real issue of domestic violence, it brings a fresh perspective to the way that women can feel suffocated within their own environment.

Director – Louisa Weichmann

Writers – Louisa Weichmann, Kelly Webster

Producer – Orit Novak

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We Vanish (2018 / 23 mins) In a society where violence against women has been normalised, a woman struggles to keep her rebellious teenage daughter safe. When the girl is brutally murdered, her mother puts her own life in danger in order to bring the killers to justice. Filmed in Mexico in Spanish language, We Vanish is an emotional portrayal of the perils women face in their everyday lives – and their strength and resilience in continuing to fight for own empowerment.

Director – Astrid Dominguez

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An Act of Love (2018 / 12 mins) Identical twin sisters share everything: from the clothes they wear to their future dreams of marrying twin brothers. But when one of the twins rebels against their sense of one-ness, their close bond is put to the test. Using a naturalistic style and documentary-feel, An Act Of Love follows an adolescent girl’s struggle to form a sense of identity, navigating her path as an individual amid strong familial bonds.

Writer / Director – Lucy Knox

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Closing Night

Black Panther Woman + Shorts Awards

Palace Kino Cinemas, Sunday 24th February, 7pm

This session is recommended for persons over 15 years.

This session is recommended for persons over 15 years.

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this session may contain images of people who have passed away.

Black Panther Woman (2014 / 52 mins)

In 1972, Marlene Cummins joined the Australian Black Panther Party and fell in love with charismatic leader Denis Walker – before spiralling into a cycle of addiction that left her on the streets. Forty years later, Marlene faces her demons in this unflinching documentary, exposing the abuse within the protest movement and ultimately reconciling with her past. Cummins’ highly personal story culminates in a gathering of international Black Panthers in New York, where she reunites with other Black Panther women from across the world. Directed by the multi-award winning filmmaker Rachel Perkins (Bran Nue Dae, Radiance), Black Panther Woman was a hit with audiences and critics alike at the Sydney and Melbourne Festivals. The film has gone on to tour the globe, including the Pan African Film Festival and New Voices in Black Cinema Festival in the US.

Director – Rachel Perkins

Writer – Rochelle Oshlack

Producer – Rochelle Oshlack

6 MARLENE CUMMINS © Blackfella Films 2014. Photo by Alina Gozin’a.jpg

The closing night screening will be followed by an awards presentation and screening of this year's winning short films – then join us for our final party!

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Leading the Way: Empowering Women's Leadership in the Screen Industries

Public Forum with Film Victoria and Monash University

ACMI, Thursday 21st February, 3pm (120 mins)

Partnering with Film Victoria and Monash University, "Leading the Way: Empowering Women's Leadership in the Screen Industries” engages with the Melbourne Women in Film Festival 2019’s theme of empowerment through storytelling, career building and … leading the way. Research has suggested that women in positions of leadership in the screen industry not only redresses the current gender imbalance, but also broadens the diversity of screen stories. Yet, why is the industry not seeing a significant advancement of women in these positions?

This free public forum brings together screen experts and industry leaders for a timely discussion of this complex issue. What are the broad issues concerning leadership development for women across different areas of the industry? What are the development pathways for women towards positions of leadership? This forum aims to consider these questions and more.

Registration required.

Panellists announced soon.

Proudly supported by


Delightfully Dark

Panel (60 mins)

ACMI, Saturday 23rd February, 12:30pm

Attendees please be advised that this panel may delve into controversial topics and themes.

The world can be a dangerous place, yet women filmmakers rarely shy away from dark themes. From fantasy to realism, women have a long tradition of weird, transgressive and powerful cinema. Following the Melbourne Women in Film Festival’s Dark Delights program, this panel will explore how women filmmakers engage with darkness—from horror and fantasy to explorations of real-life. Featuring a panel of esteemed filmmakers and critics, we ask: what does the dark side look like for women creatives? And can it be empowering to depict darkness onscreen?

Main image: Jade of Death


Image: James Green for the Sydney Theatre Company

Image: James Green for the Sydney Theatre Company

Susie Porter

Susie Porter is an award-winning Australian film and television actress. She has appeared in films such as Don’t Tell (2017), The Caterpillar Wish (2006) and The Monkey’s Mask (2000), as well as TV series including Wentworth (2018-19), Puberty Blues (2012-14) and East West 101 (2007-11). Her films The Second (2018) and Sink (2018) are screening at MWFF.

Donna McRae

Donna McRae’s particular interrogations of ghosts, 19th century gender roles and post-punk rock‘n’roll offer a surprising and powerful potential. After the VCA Donna made several successful shorts before her micro-budget feature Johnny Ghost (2012) won multiple awards. Her second feature, Lost Gully Road (2017), is distributed by Umbrella and Wildeye Releasing (USA) while her feature documentary Cobby: The Other Side of Cute (2017) has just premiered in San Francisco. Her next project, a ‘ghost’ western, is in development with Acme Film Company, she is part of a female horror anthology with Unicorn Pictures, and her video installations have screened internationally. Donna works at Deakin University.


Emma Westwood

Emma Westwood is a film writer and commentator who was once arts editor for the Melbourne weekly street mag, Inpress. She has written about cinema and the arts for publications such as The Age, Metro, Screen Education, Empire, Diabolique and Senses of Cinema. She is the author of two books on cinema – Monster Movies (a compendium book) and The Fly (a monograph on David Cronenberg’s 1986 remake), and she is currently working on another monograph about James Whale's 1935 classic, Bride of Frankenstein. She has lent her voice to DVD and bluray commentaries for the likes of Kino Lorber, Indicator and Umbrella. She can also be heard as a co-host on Triple R radio's weekly film criticism show, Plato’s Cave.

Alison Adriano

Alison Adriano is a Melbourne based Actress and Filmmaker.  Alison is a graduate of the 16th Street Actors Studio Part-Time Program and is also a graduate of a Bachelor of Film/Television at Swinburne University. As an actor her credits include House Husbands, TVCS, music videos, independent short films and web series.  Alison’s directorial debut Salt in Wounds, which she also wrote, edited and acted in, has gone on to screen at festivals including Melbourne Women Film Festival, New Renaissance Film Festival Amsterdam, San Francisco Indie Fest, Femme Frontera Festival Texas and London Short Film Festival. Ultimately Alison is a multidisciplinary Actress/Creative, who is passionate about diverse storytelling with accurate representation.  


Janice Loreck - Moderator

Janice Loreck is a lecturer in Screen Arts and Cultural Studies at Curtin University. She is the author of Violent Women in Contemporary Cinema (2016), contributor to the upcoming collection Women Make Horror (2020), and is Festival Coordinator for the Melbourne Women in Film Festival. She also works as a film critic for The Conversation, 6PR and RTR FM. Her forthcoming research considers the work of female provocateurs in global art cinema.

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Taking the Leap: From Shorts to Features

Panel (60 mins)

ACMI, Saturday 23rd February, 2:30pm


Women are great at making short films, but what happens when they want to make a feature? Success in shorts does not always translate to a career in full-length cinema... Run free of charge, this panel offers MWFF audiences some practical advice on taking the leap towards feature filmmaking. Featuring filmmakers and industry workers, our panel asks: what are the barriers in transitioning from shorts to features? And how can women channel their hard earned skills toward larger projects?

Registrations required.



Angie Black

Angie Black is a multiple award-winning director and independent filmmaker who supports the promotion and visibility of women on and behind the screen through her production-company Black Eye Films. Her debut feature film The Five Provocations (2018), along with an extensive body of short films, including disnature (2012) and Birthday Girl (2008), have screened at festivals around the globe. She is a recipient of the ‘Film Victoria’s Independent Filmmaker Fund’ in which she directed Bowl Me Over (2000), winner best comedy St Kilda Film Festival and distributed by Palace films. Black has directed television commercials, both locally and abroad and is a lecturer in screen production at La Trobe University.

Jessica Leski

Jessica Leski’s debut feature I Used to be Normal: A Boyband Fangirl story had its World Premiere at Hot Docs in 2018 and has been screening at festivals around the world since, including London Film Festival, Sydney Film Festival and Rotterdam Film Festival. I Used to be Normal was released in Australian cinemas in November 2018 by Madman Entertainment and will be released for home entertainment in March 2019.  Jessica directed and co-produced The Ball with Princess Pictures for ABC TV. The Ball was nominated for an AACTA in 2012 for Best Documentary under an hour. 


Alena Lodkina

Alena Lodkina is a filmmaker based in Melbourne. She has made fiction and documentary short films that have been screened around the world, and her debut feature Strange Colours premiered at Venice Film Festival 2017.

Jub Clerc

Jub Clerc is a Nyul Nyul/Yawuru director from the Kimberley. In the arts since the age of fourteen, she has worked on multiple film productions and has directed short films such as StorytimeMusic MenMin Min Light and Abbreviation – a chapter of the acclaimed The Turning. Her short Storytime is an Opening Night film at MWFF.

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Dr Radha O’Meara - Moderator

Dr Radha O’Meara is lecturer in Screenwriting in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Melbourne. She combines creative practice in screenwriting with research into screen cultures, screen industries and screen aesthetics. Her research focuses on serial narrative in contemporary film and television. She has published on soap operas, superheroes and cat videos.

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Critics Lab

ACMI, Saturday 23rd February, 10am

Closed Workshop

Are you a film critic in the making?

The MWFF Critics Lab is an initiative to support the next generation of Australian women-identified critics and to help them develop their skills in a festival setting. The MWFF Critics Lab aims to facilitate critical discussion, celebrate established critics and mentor emerging talent.

As part of the MWFF Critics Lab, participants will be involved in mentoring sessions with established Australian critics and will produce a range of content for publication before, during and after the festival. MWFF Critics Lab participants will be granted access to films, publicity materials, guests and networking opportunities throughout the festival.

Meet our mentors



 Annabel is a writer from Melbourne. She is a founding editor of the film magazine Fireflies, film editor at The Big Issue, and a former editor at The Lifted Brow. Her film writing has appeared in publications such as SFMOMA’s Open Space, MUBI Notebook, Senses of Cinema, 4:3, Kill Your Darlings and more. In 2018, she was a mentor for the MIFF Critics' Campus and the Next Wave Arts Writing Mentorship Program. She was a participant in RMIT non/fictionLab’s Women Writers in the City project in 2017, and in the Locarno Critics Campus 2016. 



Eloise has a PhD from La Trobe University specialising in Classical Hollywood sound studies, and lectures in undergraduate studies at Swinburne University. She is co-curator of the Melbourne Cinémathèque and a member of the Australian Film Critics Association. In 2018, Eloise was on the AFCA jury at the Czech and Slovak Film Festival of Australia, and co-hosts the podcasts Cultural Capital and Senses of Cinema. She has widely published work in scholarly journals and other avenues including Screening the Past, Senses of Cinema, Kill Your Darlings, Metro Magazine, and Screen Education, and has chapters in the books Fearing Our Darkness: Manifestations of Fear, Horror and Terror, and Urban Noir: New York and Los Angeles in Shadow and Light. 


Visualise Your Voice

Saturday 23rd February, 11am

SAE Creative Media Institute

Visualise Your Voice is a practical workshop aimed at culturally and linguistically diverse young women aged 15-19 who aspire to create their own films. This day long workshop focuses on building knowledge of the different pathways for working as a screen practitioner through the creation of self-devised short films. Participants will be mentored by professional screen industry practitioners and educators, having the opportunity to experience different creative roles on a film shoot, using industry-standard equipment to translate their stories to the screen.

Maximum participants is 12 and registrations are required.

As 2019 is the first year we are piloting the Visualise Your Voice Filmmaking workshop, we are undertaking some research to help us determine broad background and contextual information from potential participants and other young people interested in filmmaking. Data collected here will help us shape this year's and future workshops so please consider taking our survey here. We want to hear from you!

Proudly supported by

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Image: Behind the scenes of short film Blackwood (2018). Photo by Ivy Mutuku.

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Building Your Creative Toolkit

Saturday 23rd February, 11am (2.5hrs)

SAE Creative Media Institute

***SOLD OUT***

You can still add your name to the waitlist via Eventbrite and we will contact you if a spot becomes available.

There are some essential skills that help you get films made, like being able to network, pitch, collaborate, and generate ideas. As a filmmaker it’s invaluable to build a creative toolkit packed full of techniques and tactics that can enhance your career.

In this hands-on workshop you’ll practice these skills with a small group of fellow filmmakers. You’ll also learn ways to get early feedback, quickly redraft ideas, embrace constraints, be more confident and experience the creative benefits of starting before you’re ready. It will be fast, fun and mind-bending - in a good way!

Your enthusiastic facilitator is independent writer/director/producer, Kylie Eddy. She’s coached hundreds of filmmakers in these techniques and developed the Lean Filmmaking method - a new way to make films with creativity at its heart.

This workshop is open to all, including writers, directors, actors, editors, cinematographers and any other crew looking to supercharge their creativity. Emerging filmmakers also welcome. Spaces are limited to 24, so book now!

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About your facilitator

Kylie Eddy wrote/directed/produced an independent feature film, was a marketer for Walt Disney Home Entertainment and general manager of Melbourne Queer Film Festival. Kylie’s currently the Co-Founder of Lean Filmmaking where she's developed a new way to make films with creativity at its heart. She’s also a self-proclaimed minimalist and YouTube junkie.

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The Ins and Outs of Mentoring

Panel and Networking

ACMI, Friday 22nd February


Calling all women in screen!

Join the Melbourne Women in Film Festival and WIFT Victoria for a special conversation and networking event as part of MWFF 2019, focusing on the 'ins and outs’ of mentoring.

If you have been wondering about finding or being a mentor, this session looks at the process from the perspective of recent mentoring teams. The conversation and Q&A is a mixer to continue the discussion.

Who knows? Maybe you will meet your future mentor or mentee?

MWFF 2019 filmmakers and WIFT Vic members – free (registration required)

All other tickets - $10

Presented with


Future Creatives Initiative

Pitching Day

RMIT, Sunday 24th February, 10am

Closed Workshop

In partnership with Taival films, Future Creatives Initiative is aimed at mentoring the next generation of filmmakers. For 2019, the focus is on mentoring screenwriters. Scripts for this program have already been submitted to the folks at Taival, who are working through them to shortlist writers for a pitching day held during the MWFF program.

Three writers and their scripts will be chosen for the mentoring program with one final script being green lit for production and screened at MWFF 2020.

Meet the Mentors

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Presented with

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