Prove your humanity

After the fantastic debut of West Australia’s only student-run film festival in November, one can only stop to wonder: who are the up-and-coming film-stars from lil’ ol’ Perth and who are the crème de la crème of WA’s burgeoning student filmmakers?

We all know someone who claims a deep and storied connection to Health Ledger, surely.

With a whole slew of varied and captivating short films featuring fresh new storytellers and promising young talent, The Uni Goonies Film Festival is a testament to unearthed potential in WA that we have just waiting to shine on the big screen (or on a streaming service near you). From the experimental and provocative, to the heartwarming and celebratory, I thoroughly enjoyed the range of creative expression and the professional quality of the films shown.

I’m eagerly anticipating what’s to come for the 2019 Uni Goonies and, in a broader sense, the progression and growth that film in WA will undergo in the years to come. I’m also dying to know if I unknowingly shared a canapé with Hollywood’s next hottest star, but for the time being … let’s rave about some of the films that blew me away!


When Harri Met Salma, directed by Corey Booth from the WA Screen Academy

A tale of queer love and youth, When Harri Met Salma opens with a tender, stolen moment between two lovers in bed. In fact, the film features many different slices of life that we can perhaps all see a glimpse of ourselves in, ranging from the assertion of your independent identity, to the hotly anticipated introduction of your paramour to your friends. There are some brilliant queer moments shot in vivid colour and with a vibrant energy, undercut with tense confrontations that feel distinctly bare or devoid of such colour. These contrasts, in conjunction with the nuanced performances from the leading actresses make When Harri Met Salma a joy to watch. 

Richie’s Shift, directed by Stefan Ainley from Curtin University

Darkly funny and unconventional, Richie’s Shift is reminiscent of the classic films of the ’80s and ’90s—of the mismatched duos and zany scenarios  we watched over and over again with delight. A rough-and-tumble mystery bloke with an injury crosses paths with the hapless young Richie at the quiet servo where he works. Without giving too much away, there’s a strange camaraderie that just works—the relationship dynamic shifts throughout and it’s difficult to not be captivated by the skittish youngster and the larrikin fugitive. The excellent performances from the cast will leave you feeling a sense of endearment for Richie and his newfound friend/mentor/accomplice, while still delivering a good laugh from the absurdity of the whole situation. Difficult to accomplish, but done almost effortlessly—come for the Clerks/Pulp Fiction inspired vibe, but stick around for what’s to come …

Filch, directed by Rachel Fitzgerald from the WA Screen Academy

It’s a bank heist film, within a bank heist film—what could possibly go wrong? Before you answer that question, this slick and stylish short manages to capture a great deal of action with just the right amount of surprise. The characterisation of the ensemble cast is witty and occasionally predictable, but whether you enjoy filmmaking/bank heist tropes or not, this sharp and fast paced rollercoaster of the perfect plan gone wrong is undoubtedly enjoyable for all. Bust out the popcorn for this one!

Memories, directed by Cassandra Lionetto-Civa from Curtin University

The idea of our memories being wiped, re-lived and enjoyed in secret by someone else … Did you feel a slight chill or were you deeply intrigued? Memories delves into a creepy potential reality: what would it be like when your Netflix binge is someone else’s unfortunate existence? This surely Black Mirror or Twilight Zone influenced narrative (pick your preferred sci-fi reference) appeals to the schadenfreude-loving voyeur within us all. It’s a tempting thought, particularly for those who enjoy gossip or reality TV—the difference is that you can’t switch off when things are unfolding right in front of you. As a serial binge-watcher myself, seeing the main character bear witness to this unfortunate experiment has definitely lingered on my mind … but on a lighter note, as a Curtin student, a special mention goes out to set design/the location scout for their ingenuity!

For more information about the films, the festival and the team behind it all, visit The Uni Goonies website!

And you can read our Q&A with Festival Director Luisa Mitchell here.