Women in Film: Focus on Cannes

By Nathania Gilson Every year, thousands of young and emerging filmmakers alike submit their short films to Cannes in the hope of being picked out from the masses and given the opportunity for exposure, recognition and development towards a fruitful path in turning their lifelong passion into a sustainable career.

Whilst there are many categories within the festival program, the ones I find the most intriguing to pour over are the Cinéfondation and Short Film Competition selections which nominate over 10-15 short films respectively from student filmmakers across 300-odd countries from various film schools (Cinéfondation) and promising filmmakers who have crafted exceptional stories with a distinct personal vision (Short Film Competition).

These are my picks for ones to watch in 2012, focussing specifically on women directors and Australian short film.

Behind Me Olive Trees (Derrière moi les oliviers)

Competing in: Cinéfondation | Country of origin: Lebanon | Directed by: Pascale Abou Jarma | Duration: 20 mins

After 10 years in Israel, Mariam and her brother return to the South of Lebanon to live in their native country. But they still feel rejected by the local community because they are the children of an agent in the army of "Lahd", who cooperated with the Israeli army before the release of Southern Lebanon in 2000.

Watch the trailer here.

(First-time entry from a Lebanese film school in the Cinéfondation category)

Doroga Na (The Road To)

Competing in: Cinéfondation | Country of origin: Russia | Directed by: Tasia Igumentsava | Duration: 32 mins

 Sergey works as a vendor in the unusual goods section. His life is like a million other lives, till night covers the city.


Competing in: Cinéfondation | Country of origin: Belgium | Directed by: Leni Huyghe | Duration: 18 mins

‘For me, it’s not black or white. It’s really grey, I leave it open.’ Leni Huyghe

Alice and Nico move to the countryside with their ten-year-old son Mateo. While they are busy renovating the house, the parents do not notice that the boy is changing. When they realize there is something wrong, it is already too late.

Watch the trailer here.


Competing in: Short Film Competition | Country of origin: Belgium | Directed by: Emilie Verhamme | Duration: 13 mins

'I don't want people to think: "What a cocky person! In your second year, you send your movie to Cannes!" I just sent it to a lot of festivals and then totally forgot about it. But why not try?' - Emilie Verhamme 

A Ukrainian father and his two sons travel from Kiev to Brussels in the hope to find a better life. Once there, they are confronted with a harsh reality and become the victims of exploitation and degradation.

View the press kit here.

Night Shift

Competing in: Short Film Competition | Country of origin: New Zealand| Directed by: Zia Mandviwalla | Duration: 14 mins

“Human emotion transcends culture - we all know and understand love, loneliness or separation, regardless of what language we speak or what food we cook at home.  For me, the authenticity lies in bringing truthful experiences to the screen,” - Zia Mandviwalla

Salote, an airport cleaner starts another long night shift. She keeps her head down, does her job and gleans her survival from what others leave behind. No one would usually spare her a second glance.

Resen (Dog Leash)

Competing in: Short Film Competition | Country of origin: Israel | Directed by: Eti Tsicko | Duration: 26 mins

Cracks are starting to burst in Marina’s frozen life, forcing a search. The journey will take her beyond traditional boundaries, but also lead to more dangerous places.

Chef de Meute (Herd Leader)

Competing in: Short Film Competition | Country of origin: Canada | Directed by: Chloe Robichaud | Duration: 13 mins

Clara's overwhelming family can't understand her solitary life, wishing she would find someone to grow old with. Following her aunt's sudden death, Clara is put in charge of her pet. Little does she know that these are the first steps to an unlikely, but empowering, friendship.

The Ballad of Finn + Yeti

Competing in: Cinéfondation | Country of origin: U.S.A. | Directed by: Meryl O’Connor | Duration: 18 mins

A street musician goes dumpster diving and finds herself transported into a wild trash forest populated by a mischievous Yeti that forces her to confront her animal nature.

Yard Bird

Competing in: Short Film Competition | Country of origin: Australia | Directed by: Michael Spiccia | Duration: 13 mins

A young girl who lives in a remote wrecking yard takes on the local bullies when they travel out to torment her father.

View the press kit here.

Yardbird is also showing as part of the Dendy Awards for Australian Short Film program at Sydney Film Festival, so be sure to make the screening if you're in town for the night.

I hope these previews leave you feeling inspired and motivated to tell your own stories! You never know until you try.

Nathania Gilson is a young filmmaker living in Melbourne, Australia. She has spent the last three years working on a number of short films, music videos and documentaries. Her side projects involve curating content for independent publications, adventuring and maintaining the ability to function on minimal sleep. She is excited about the future.