Making diversity great again
The VMC Film Festival is a short-film festival showcasing the stories of emerging filmmakers from diverse cultural backgrounds across Victoria and Australia.
The third annual VMC Film Festival will bring stories of everyday multiculturalism to the big screen that contribute to ‘making diversity great again’.
Efforts to promote cultural diversity and inclusion have been under threat for some time now, with fear and division on the rise around the globe. To help roll back this tide, this unique collection of films explores the positive side of cultural diversity and potential barriers to social inclusion.
Join us for the one-night-only 2019 VMC Film Festival at ACMI, Fed Square on Thursday 23 May.
My Cousin’s Wedding and Other Life Lessons
Written, Directed and Produced by William He
A journey of self-discovery as a first-generation Chinese Australian.
Growing up in Townsville, Queensland, William found it difficult to fit in – being not-quite Chinese and yet not-quite Australian. With this film, he shares a part of his journey to find out where he belongs.
One of the Good Ones
Directed by Leah Oliveria
Produced by Mairin Angel
Against the backdrop of a proud multicultural country, Marvin and Ciang explore ingrained and subtle racism through their stories as outsiders, striving to be understood and accepted in a nation that has already made up its mind.
Producer Mairin is Australian-born of Irish and Scottish heritage, and Director Leah is an Australian-born Filipino.
Written by Kerry Van Den Berg
Directed and Produced by Sara Glaoua
Matios is a young Ethiopian refugee living in Tasmania with dreams of becoming a professional soccer player.
An independent filmmaker based in Tasmania and born in Morocco, Sara arrived in Australia six years ago after studying marketing and theatre in Paris.
Written, Directed and Produced by Natalia Ortiz Ceberio
A short documentary about the fragility of who we are, our identity and our culture.
Natalia was born in Spain and arrived in Australia 25 years ago. She is the Founder and former Director of the Spanish Film Festival in Australia, holds a PdD in creative arts and works as a university lecturer on Spanish popular culture and Latin America cinema. She recently founded Spanish Cultural Heritage Association of Australia (SCHAA) and his working on her next film.
Written, Directed and Produced by Ivan Farkas
An animated documentary about the inhabitants of planet Earth.
At just 11 years old, Ivan is our youngest filmmaker this year and a fan of stop-motion films. Born in Croatia, his third film Homo Sapiens is about the importance of diversity and draws inspiration from his own group of culturally diverse friends.
Written, Directed and Produced by Rachel Chen
A short drama which centres around the protagonist Maddy, a shy and introverted first generation migrant who wants to pursue her passion for AFL.
Rachel Chen, born in Carlton, Victoria is a first-generation Australian. Her parents migrated from China in the 90s, bringing with them a wealth of Chinese culture. As a filmmaker, Rachel is interested in developing stories which are unconventional, unexpected yet grounded in familiar themes.
Written and Directed by Christian Haddad, Mirna Kasouha, Souzana Kasouha and Christine Samaan
Produced by Youthworx
“If we leave you Syria, how can we take you with us?” A hybrid short documentary that explores the injury of distance and the hope of new memories yet made.
Christian, Mirna, Souzana and Christine all recently arrived in Melbourne from Syria. Their first film, Stay Strong, was produced by the social enterprise Youthworx as part of their 2018 Our Voices program for young refugees and newly-arrived migrants.
Written and Directed by Harriet McKern
Produced by Harriet McKern and Fran Tinley
A heart-warming exploration of photographer Tawfik Elgazzar's community art project, Flash Hub, celebrating individuality, cultural diversity and the joy of a photographer seeing his subjects smile.
Harriet is an independent Director working in documentary and drama and a migrant from the UK. She recently graduated as a mature age student from the International Film School Sydney.
Written and Directed by Lara Köse
Produced by Stephanie Westwood
In a remote Turkish village, an ostracised orphan girl seeks out the forbidden Alevi in her quest for faith.
Lara is an Australian-Turkish-Alevi with a Masters in Directing from the Victorian College of the Arts. The only child of two migrants, her work as a filmmaker reflects her confusing yet empowering identity. With Kaya, Lara seeks to help preserve the Alevi identity – Turkey’s largest religious minority, with a deep history of persecution and discrimination.
Written and Directed by Manar Al Ayoub and Karmen Kasouha
Produced by Youthworx
We travelled around the world, to a land we didn’t know. And when we got here, Australia wasn’t what we expected. Being different doesn’t have to be a bad thing... A humorous look at the gap between expectations and reality, and what it means to be different.
First-time filmmakers Manar and Karmen both recently arrived in Melbourne from Syria. Different was produced by the social enterprise Youthworx as part of its 2018 Our Voices program for young refugees and newly-arrived migrants.
Written by Mark Samual Bonanno
Directed by Max Miller
Produced by Jessica Galea
A lonely widow is pulled from her grief when a lonelier, more determined widow forces her to realise that even in death, it’s important to win!
Director Max is a first-generation Greek Australian and screenwriter Mark is of Sicilian heritage. The creative duo drew inspiration for the film from their shared cultural experience and they also work together as part of comedy group Aunty Donna.
A Phone Call to Heaven (致电天堂)
Written, Directed and Produced by Yurou (Selina) Zhang
A heart-warming short film about six-year old Ethan who receives a mysterious phone call at night after leaving several messages for his deceased grandfather.
Born in Guangxi, China, Yurou (Selina) moved to Melbourne in 2013 to study a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film and Television, specialising in Directing, at the Victorian College of the Arts.
VMC Film Festival is proudly presented by the Victorian Multicultural Commission in partnership with Swinburne University of Technology as an offshoot of Cultural Diversity Week. VMC Film Festival would not be possible without the support of our sponsors.
Past entries to VMC Film Festival
Winner of the People's Choice, 'You Know What? I Love You' is a tale of family, tradition, cultural identity and the migrant journey, inspired by filmmaker Natalie Cunningham's conversations with her grandmother, Giannoula Panagiotopoulos. On a sunny afternoon, the two women reflect on life, from the cheekiness of childhood mischief to the sadness of losing those we most love.
This is an excerpt version of the original film screened at VMC Film Festival 2018.
Under 25 winner
Under 25 winner, 'Frizz', is a documentary by Kenyan-born, Australian-raised writer/director/producer Ivy Mutuku. Sparked by the worldwide Natural Hair Movement, this short documentary introduces us to five young Afro-textured haired individuals living in Australia. Despite the pressure to 'relax' or straighten their hair we witness how they are responding to and redefining the typical Australian beauty standards.
Over 25 winner
Over 25 winner, 'Brotherboy', is the work of writer/director/producer Charlotte de la Fuente. Growing up in an Aboriginal community, Kai Clancy's culture has always been a big part of his identity. In recent years, something has changed in his life. Kai, who grew up as a girl, has transitioned into a man. This documentary explores the implications for Kai's relationship with his culture.
Winner of the Judges' Award, this short documentary is the work of director Aydin Bozkurt and writer/producer Tiffanie-Jowie Liew. The story explores the lack of Asian and minority representation within today's media by following Jean Tong and the cast of her lesbian pop musical, 'Romeo is Not The Only Fruit'.
Winner of the Encouragement Award, 'Outcasting' is directed by Natalia Chernaya and Vanessa Crouch, written by Natalia Chernaya and Christine Gjelstrup and produced by Natalia Chernaya, Katherine Graham and Christine Gjelstrup. As the conversation about diversity on screens moves to the forefront of audiences' attention, 'Outcasting' looks at the issue from a different angle: that of the actors. How do industry's practices affect culturally and linguistically diverse performers? Will they ever stop being cast as token sidekicks?
Shortlisted at the 2018 VMC Film Festival, 'John's Story' is a documentary of one Australian's journey from refugee to community leader, by writer/director Jenny Hodge and producers Jenny Hodge and Rodney Dekker.
John Gulzari came to Australia as a refugee from Aghanistan in 1999. Since then, he has seldom stayed still - volunteering, studying, starting a business, and running for state parliament. For John, Australia's great strength is its multiculturalism, which allows its citizens to be whoever and whatever they want.