Australian Screen

Australia’s audiovisual heritage online

All short films

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1900s

La Poule aux Oeufs d’Or 1905

A fable of wealth and greed leads to disaster for a farmer and his wife. The Corrick family entertainers incorporated this early French film into their touring show.

The Hand of the Artist 1906

The artist’s hand gives a young man and woman a number of options for romance. This English short film was used by the Corrick family entertainers in their performances.

1920s

Snippy is an Artful Dodger c1925

This charming example of an early Australian cartoon superimposes cell animation over freeze-frames of live action to create Snooks’s dream world.

1930s

Magical Powers 1936

The idea behind Magical Powers was to show the audience some of the illusions and simple tricks that can be created with a moving image camera.

1950s

The Felt Hat 1951

Arguably the first real attempt at film drama made in South Australia, The Felt Hat draws on 1940s crime fiction and Hollywood film noir to good effect.

The Workman’s Nightmare 1951

In the first short film from amateur filmmakers the Straford Brothers, a young man falls asleep on his work break and dreams that his ladder attacks him.

The New Car 1953

An ambitious amateur production, most of which is set in the early 1900s, the film was shot on location at an historic homestead in Morphettville, South Australia.

A World to Conquer 1956

In this amateur science-fiction short, an alien surveillance camera lands in a man’s backyard, but his wife does not believe him.

1960s

The Piano Tuner 1960

Amateur filmmakers the Straford Brothers started making this comedy short to test their newly purchased 16mm Bolex camera.

1970s

Peter Nicholson Animations – Fraser’s Leadership Challenge 1974

An animated political cartoon by Peter Nicholson featuring Billy Snedden and Malcolm Fraser.

Peter Nicholson Animations – Gough’s World Tour 1974

An animated political cartoon by Peter Nicholson featuring Gough Whitlam, Joh Bjelke-Petersen and Bob Hawke.

We Aim to Please 1976

We Aim to Please incorporated experimental and feminist ideas and was a bold break away from the narrative films and factual documentaries of the time.

Hot to Trot 1977

A cartoon adventure featuring Captain Goodvibes, the pig of steel, and his sidekick Astro.

Letters From Poland 1978

While the plight of migrant women was a pillar issue for 1970s and 1980s Australian feminism, this film’s approach to the issue is very much focused on the individual.

1980s

An Exercise in Discipline: Peel 1982

In Jane Campion’s Palme d’Or winning student short, a bickering red-headed family on a weekend road trip reach a standoff by the side of a country road.

This Woman is Not a Car 1982

An imaginative examination of sexual violence, This Woman is Not a Car turns the suburban dream of marriage and conformity into a nightmare.

A Girl’s Own Story 1983

In this short film by Jane Campion about changes afoot in 1960s society, teenage girls get in trouble for acting out Beatles concerts in the playground.

Ned Wethered 1983

Lee Whitmore’s first animated film is a memoir of a frequent visitor to her home when she was growing up in the 1950s.

Passionless Moments 1983

Jane Campion’s student short film delivers funny, fragmentary tales with an unsentimental whimsy.

Pianoforte 1984

A young woman who yearns to become a concert pianist is rescued from a sleazy cabaret by a mysterious cat burglar with whom she falls in love.

Babakiueria 1986

A mockumentary surveying the culture and customs of the white native people of the land of ‘Babakiueria’, from the perspective of the country’s black colonisers.

Camera Natura 1986

This montage film is about the spirit of the land: charting the contours of myth, geography and landscape.

Crust 1987

Surreal antics over dinner are the subject of this animated short film by John 'Hobart’ Hughes.

Nice Coloured Girls 1987

The tongue-in-cheek title of Tracey Moffatt’s first film positions Aboriginal women as naïve and 'nice’ but these are merely roles played by the women.

Pleasure Domes 1987

The first Australian animation to compete at Cannes, Pleasure Domes is a reflection on the inevitability of attaching associations to perceptions of landscape.

Tiga 1987

This animated short film is an homage to an extinct Australian species.

Shadowland 1988

In Anthony Lucas’s animated student film, humanity evolves in a savage landscape.

The Maitland and Morpeth String Quartet 1989

A whimsical, animated tale of music and romance, narrated by Ruth Cracknell and set amidst the Great Maitland Flood of 1955.

Night Cries: A Rural Tragedy 1989

Tracey Moffatt continues to challenge the social construction of Aboriginality and how it is viewed nationally and internationally. Night Cries is a possible sequel to Jedda.

One Man’s Instrument 1989

In this animated short film, a man finds his paradise is literally lost.

Shadow Panic 1989

An experiment in structure, Shadow Panic reflects the influence at the time of French screen theorists on Australian feminist filmmaking.

1990s

Union Street 1990

An ordinary city street is revealed as a ‘street of many colours’.

From Sand to Celluloid – Round Up 1995

Round Up is a lighthearted short drama that deals with the cultural clash between a white stockman and an Indigenous stockman.

Hayride to Hell 1995

This short film featuring Kylie Minogue is part rock’n'roll moment, part homage to the mysteries and mood of film noir.

Redback 1995

In this playful animated short, a redback spider wreaks the ultimate humiliation on his male tormentor.

Small Treasures 1995

In this animated short, a pregnant woman imagines the worst domestic disasters befalling her unborn child.

Swinger 1995

A story of changing luck told through messages on an answering machine and a messy apartment.

From Sand to Celluloid – Black Man Down 1996

This short experimental drama offers a spiritual alternative to fighting the system. To overcome injustice, return to your spiritual roots for healing to take place.

From Sand to Celluloid – No Way to Forget 1996

Writer-director Richard J Frankland drew on his experience as a field officer for the Royal Commission into Deaths in Custody to compose this story.

From Sand to Celluloid – Payback 1996

Payback, a black-and-white short about the Western and Indigenous legal systems, is one of Warwick Thornton’s earliest dramatic works.

From Sand to Celluloid – Two Bob Mermaid 1996

In this visually stunning short film set in the 1950s, a fair-skinned Aboriginal girl gains access to the local swimming pool where Aboriginal people are legally denied access.

Uncle 1996

The biography of a humble man, his lemon tree, chihuahua and crumpets.

Desert Tracks 1997

Desert Tracks – a business established without government funding – is a community’s attempt to sustain itself culturally and an important initiative for self-determination.

The Picture Woman 1997

Over a series of seemingly unrelated images, a woman speaks in voice-over of taking a photo of herself every other day.

Shifting Sands – Promise 1997

This is essentially a love story told in the absence of the love interest – grandfather – that resonates as one of those moments that are a cherished memory.

Shifting Sands – Tears 1997

Tears introduces the two main characters from Ivan Sen’s feature film Beneath Clouds, and also presents the elements that shape his later feature.

Cheap Blonde 1998

A humorous experimental word game which examines gender representation and authorship in the cinema.

Cousin 1998

The biography of a cousin, his special arm, pet rocks and shopping trolley.

Fetch 1998

This short film is a comic escalation of mishaps with a double-barrelled payoff. It was selected to compete at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival.

Has Beans 1998

In this animated short film, bullying and revenge lead to annihilation.

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