‘An Ostrich Told Me the World Is Fake and I Think I Believe It’, ‘Tremor’ take home MIFF Shorts Awards

'An Ostrich Told Me the World Is Fake and I Think I Believe It'

A stop-motion animation story about a young telemarketer who receives a disconcerting revelation from a flightless bird won Best Australian Short Film at the MIFF Shorts Awards on Thursday.

Lachlan Pendragon’s An Ostrich Told Me the World is Fake and I Think I Believe It took home the $11,000 prize at the in-person ceremony, which recognised seven of the 78 films in the program.

A jury consisting of filmmaker Tiriki Onus, director James Vaughan, and film writer Jourdain Searles said the Brisbane filmmaker’s “dryly funny” debut had shown “so much promise”.

“With its playfully long title and vintage stop-motion animation, An Ostrich Told Me the World Is Fake and I Think I Believe It is a subtle delight,” they said in a statement.

“In a cinematic landscape full of increasingly generic computer animation, it’s
refreshing to see the care put into this little film.”

The other local winner on the night was Rudolf Fitzgerald-Leonard, who received the Emerging Australian Filmmaker Award for Tremor, a Cannes Directors Fortnight selection that follows a young disabled man whose life is disrupted after an incident during water therapy for his spasms.

In its statement, the jury said the Berlin-based filmmaker had created an “expertly paced and wonderfully composed” film that explored the “silences and in-between moments in which painful events are often most intensely felt”.

Tremor is a powerfully taut and understated examination of frustration, desire and humiliation that, in its deft ellipses, stirs the emotional waters in which these sensations are mingled. Led by a brilliant performance from Luis Brandt, the film modulates our distance from the protagonist’s inner experience; we both intimately feel and distantly observe Leon’s pain, sitting with him during wordless close-ups, and reflecting on his world more coolly during the film’s beautifully contemplative interstices and carefully spaced flashbacks.”

In the remaining categories Indian short Murmurs of the Jungle, directed and produced by Sohil Vaidya, took home Best Short Film; Nuhash Humayun’s Moshari was crowned Best Fiction Short Film; Shuli Huang’s Will You Look At Me received Best Documentary Short Film; João Gonzalez’s Ice Merchants was named Best Animation Short Film; and Maryam Tafakory’s Nazarbazi took home Best Experimental Short Film.

MIFF Shorts co-programmer Mia Falstein-Rush said the quality of contenders was “incredibly strong” for 2022.

“It’s a real testament to the future of cinema, and I can’t wait to see what’s next for these filmmakers,” she said.

Co-programmer Liam Carter said it was also pleased to see different modes of filmmaking recognised in some of the major awards this year.

“To have so many young filmmakers at the helm of these remarkable projects is encouraging,” he said.

The 2022 winners of the Best Short Film, Best Australian Short Film, Best Documentary
Short Film and Best Animation Short Film awards are eligible to submit their films for the 95th Academy Awards in 2023. MIFF runs until August 21.

2022 Winners

City of Melbourne Grand Prix for Best Short Film
Murmurs of the Jungle (India) Dir. Sohil Vaidya

Film Victoria Erwin Rado Award for Best Australian Short Film
An Ostrich Told Me the World is Fake and I Think I Believe It (Australia) Dir. Lachlan Pendragon

Award for Emerging Australian Filmmaker
Dir. Rudolf Fitzgerald-Leonard Tremor (Germany)

Award for Best Fiction Short Film
Moshari (Bangladesh) Dir. Nuhash Humayun

Award for Best Documentary Short Film
Will You Look at Me (China) Dir. Shuli Huang

Award for Best Animation Short Film
Ice Merchants (Portugal, UK, France) Dir. João Gonzalez

Award for Best Experimental Short Film
Nazarbaz (UK, Iran) Dir. Maryam Tafakory