Short Session 6 was seen as part of the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival

Time for another batch of documentary shorts from the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival, because they’re there and we can totally do this. This time, it’s session 6 that we’re going to go through. The same setup as before, roughly a paragraph on every short so let’s get into it.

Angel (Directed by Charlotte White) plays like a grand introduction to singer/songwriter India Angel, and boy what an introduction she gets. Promoting her debut single Move On, the short talks with members of her family and India about where her love of singing comes from and what inspired the single. If you’ve never heard of India before, the 10 minutes spent with this short will make you an obsessive fan just captivated by her incredible voice and boundless charm. Truly makes its audience excited to hear more music from its fascinating subject.

Nanna Power: The Story of the Gloucester Knitting Nannas (Directed by Anne Keen & Pete White) tells the story of the utterly iconic Knitting Nannas, specifically the Gloucester division who stood up to a major gas company (AGL) who were trying to frack the local land in order to start collecting coal seam gas. AGL clearly didn’t know about the Knitting Nannas, incredible women who chained themselves to fences with signs and their knitting demanding that AGL not do what they were intending to do. Through a series of interviews with the Knitting Nannas, we get to hear about their incredible protests and just how effective they are. These women are utter heroes and this short documentary makes that crystal clear. A powerful tribute to some true environmental saviours, turns out that Nanna Power is so much stronger than anyone could’ve possibly realised.

Lost Contact (Directed by Jaina Kalifa & Amelia Paxman) follows Aldo, an autistic man with a speech impediment that makes it hard for him to connect with other people. Told through a combination of interviews, footage of Aldo’s daily life, recreations and even some incredible puppetry, Lost Contact ends up as something of an ode to anyone who has felt like an outcast. The story of Aldo trying to find somewhere to belong is incredibly relatable and just so damn charming… plus, did I mention the incredible puppeteering? It might be the best visual metaphor I’ve seen to show how someone can feel like an alien in their own home, a wonderfully creative way of getting the message across.

2020: A Covid Odyssey Short Image
2020: A Covid Space Odyssey

2020: A Covid Space Odyssey (Directed by Alina Manolache & Vladimir Potop) takes us on a trip with Jessica Mier, an astronaut working on the International Space Station. Her work there is meant to last for 7 months, starting in September 2019 and ending around April of 2020… so, yeah, she was not even on the planet when the Covid pandemic began. Most of the film is simply just following the day to day activities of the people on board the ship, which will always be fascinating and incredible, witnessing gorgeous shots of people floating around in zero gravity. What gives the short its power is the realisation of just how much the planet changed in the time Jessica was gone. This is one of those short films I wish was longer purely because I want to know how Jessica handled the intense changes that she met upon returning to Earth but even without that, what’s here is a fascinating glimpse at the lives of the only people who got to live without worrying about Covid for a few months. A genuinely beautiful film that I would gleefully watch so much more of.

The Mesdames of Mayhem (Directed by Cat Mills) lets the audience sit in on a very special meeting between some very wonderfully weird women. Every few years a group of murder mystery authors known as The Mesdames of Mayhem team up to write an anthology of short stories set to send shivers up your spine. The documentary interviews four of the Mesdames about what made them fall in love with this genre and why they continue to write it and it’s one of the most glorious dark comedies you’ll see in documentary form. Everyone in this group seems to have a gallows sense of humour and are fully aware of how weird it is to come up with different methods of murder (apparently one of them did it with a zucchini!) but the pure joy that comes through as they talk about their craft makes for a captivating short. Not only should this make you run to buy their books, but it will also make you crave the chance to just sit quietly in a room and listen to these fascinating women talk about anything because it is bound to be incredible. 

On Falling (Directed by Josephine Anderson) takes on the topic of professional mountain bikers and interviews three women who partake in the sport. Combining go pro footage from the riders and some glorious cinematography, there’s a beautiful tranquil feeling that goes through this short… that’s all about how many times these mountain bikers have fallen and done some form of serious damage to their bodies. We learn about all the bones they broke, surgeries they’ve needed or organs they’ve harmed while taking part in something they clearly love and it’s hard not to get on board with their intense enthusiasm. In seconds you are completely in awe of the pure athleticism of these women and how determined they are to keep doing this sport no matter what. Throw in some of the most gorgeous cycling shots you’ve ever seen (seriously, the cinematography in this one is just gorgeous) and you have a brilliant final short for this session.

And that’s all of session 6. Who knows what’s next, probably not 7 because why do things in order like rational people?

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