VMC Film Festival 2019 - ‘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.
Now in its third year, VMC Film Festival 2019 invited emerging and established filmmakers from diverse cultural backgrounds across Victoria and Australia to share stories that contribute to ‘making diversity great again’.
With efforts to promote cultural diversity and inclusion under threat for some time now, and fear and division on the rise around the globe, the 2019 theme called on films that highlight the positive side of cultural diversity and potential barriers to social inclusion.
More than 150 inspiring entries were received and the festival showed 12 shortlisted stories of everyday multiculturalism on the big screen as part of a special evening at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) on Thursday 23 May.
Explore the winning entries
People's Choice Award
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
The 2019 People’s Choice Award prize was provided by our sponsors Artificial Studios, Immigration Museum, SBS and Melbourne International Film Festival.
Under 25 Award
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.
The 2019 Under 25 Award prize was provided by our sponsors Mushroom Group, Immigration Museum, SBS and Melbourne International Film Festival.
Over 25 Award
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.
The 2019 Over 25 Award prize was provided by our sponsors Melbourne International Film Festival, Immigration Museum and SBS.
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.
The 2019 Judges’ Award prize was provided by our sponsors Commonwealth Bank, Immigration Museum, SBS and Melbourne International Film Festival.
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.
The 2019 Encouragement Award prize was provided by our sponsors Cinespace Inc., Immigration Museum, SBS and Melbourne International Film Festival.
See the night as it happened
All events and award presentation photography by Jorge de Araujo, Artificial Studios
Watch the winning entries
See the winning films on exhibition every hour throughout the weekend of 15 - 16 June 2019 in the Theatrette at the Immigration Museum, 400 Flinders Street, Melbourne.
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.