Film Countries Archives: Australia

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Sights and Sounds: Australian Short Films

  Noora Niasari, Kitty Green, Sari Braithwaite, and Shannon Murphy

  Australia      2018-2023    


A casting call peers past fiction and reminds us of the human cost of war in The Face of Ukraine: Casting Oksana Baiul. In Waterfall, a family road trip deteriorates when 14-year-old Zahra cannot come to terms with her mother’s new fiance. In a remote forest, an actress immerses herself in the world of the mythical ‘Yowie’ (a mythical creature in Australian folklore) in an attempt to scare thrillseekers in Eaglehawk. Paper Trails lovingly documents the life and work of Anne Deveson, writer, activist, mental health advocate, and the first female on-screen broadcaster in Australia.

Screenings & Events

In-person Screening

Wed, Sep 4 @ 6:30pm CDT

at Chicago Cultural Center

Tickets available Monday, August 26.



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CineYouth Program

Friday Night Frights

  Australia, China, Ireland, Philippines, United States     5 shorts | 60 minutes


An array of frights await in this assortment of horror films. These shorts from around the world tap into our most primal fears and darkest secrets in unique, uncanny, and inventive ways.

Please note: Films in this program contain themes, images, and language that may not be suitable for all ages.


Claymation title card shows the words 'Artist on the go' on a painter's palette.

Artist on the Go! (DS Advanced Unreleased Gameplay)

Nathan William Frost | Montgomery, Illinois | Age 17

A surreal, nightmarish game in which the player (or the viewer) is confronted with abstract and frightening tasks to complete.

A stark black and white photo of a person's knees are shown from behind.

The Body

Justine Borlagdan | Philippines | Age 20

An abstract tone poem, which uses the human body as a landscape for a variety of sensations and processes.

A young Irish boy is holding a dead rat against a lush green environment in Ireland

Rat King

Róisín Leavy-Sahin | Ireland | Age 18

A young boy’s affinity for a dead rat brings dire consequences to himself and his local community.

A young religious woman places her hand on her heart.

The Veiling of a Heart

Jess Nipperess | Australia | Age 18

Devout Catholic Miriam is forced to choose between forbidden romance and religious obligation.

A silhouette of a person posing to the left of a blood stain and to the right of a drum set


Charlie Li | China | Age 23

An obsessive workaholic pits his wits against a loud drummer in a battle for peace and quiet.

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CineYouth Program

Thinking Funny: Comedy

  Australia, Spain, United States     6 shorts | 62 minutes


Navigating life and tragedy, these hilarious stories showcase characters in absurdist situations of all kinds. Thrown into the trenches of the human experience, our characters rise victorious holding the holy grail of humor in their hands.

Please note: Films in this program contain themes, images, and language that may not be suitable for all ages.


A lonesome turtle rides down a parking lot on a skateboard.

Goodbye Herman

Ryan Santia | California | Age 18

As Ryan shares the news of his departure, Herman comes to terms with this unexpected change in their friendship.

An animated character's heart beats aggressively as she lounges on a live action counter top riddled with records and CD's.


Sruchi Patel | California | Age 22

In a twist of the classic Cinderella story, Saloni seeks out the boy with the flyest Nikes having never seen his face.

The profile of a young woman's face is backlit by a soft purple light

first date?

Kylie Ramirez | Chicago | Age 21

Dropped in the throes of Gen Z dating culture, Sammy and Kari explore the different facets of romantic relationships through their scintillating discussion.

A concerned younger woman comforts an stressed older man as he caresses his own hand in a nice and neat kitchen.

Contagious Swagger

Calvin Callins Jr. | Florida | Age 21

While Jeffrey tries to make the best impression on his girlfriend’s parents, his shoes prove to be an unexpected ally in the situation.

A robed altar boy turns away from a frightened young man, who stands in the doorway. An older priest stands by a cross.

Body of Christ (Mi primera comunión)

Ángel Villahermosa | Spain | Age 22

As Pablo falls in love with the altar boy Sebastián, he finds that God has become an obstacle to their relationship in more ways than one.

A woman holding a sign labeled "Don't Listen To Him" stands next to a well dressed man in a theater.

The Murder

Alex Dymalovski | Australia | Age 20

About eight minutes before her murder, a woman takes us on a journey to confront her killer’s arduous masculinity.

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CineYouth Program

Pen, Pencil, Pixel: Animation

  Australia, Spain, United States     10 shorts | 47 minutes


Across these eleven shorts, you’ll find no single genre, theme, or medium, but you will find fantastical worlds, disarming emotional honesty, and vibrant displays of creativity. Whether drawn by hand, sculpted with clay, or animated digitally, these inventive shorts are sure to entertain and inspire.

Please note: Films in this program contain themes, images, and language that may not be suitable for all ages.


A lego-animated hooded figure in a black cloak stands in front of a broken glass case.

Kaine Interception

Johnny White & Harry White | Colorado | Ages 16 & 14

In this Lego stop-motion actioner, secret agent Kaine and his mysterious new partner April race to interrupt a jewel heist.

An AI generated image of two white horses in a forest, bathed in an eerie glow staring in the distance

La infancia

Jesús García Nuño de la Rosa & Emiliano Reyes | Spain | Age 22

A man in a dark house is surrounded by an ethereal forest. Animals wander, children play, and fires burn. Is any of this real?

A black and white drawing of a spotlight shining on a plant, which is being rained on.


Patrick Jang | California | Age 16

Teenagers share stories of adversity, resilience, and personal transformation in vulnerable interviews supported by vivid animation.

A zombie clay person stands impaled on pencil with another man, surrounded by paper houses.

Attack of the Living Clay

Jackson Milott | New York | Age 16

In a tiny household world, a clay man improvises ingenious, violent methods to fight off a horde of zombies.

A distorted, shadowy image of a large statue of a cross towering over a line of trees.

Why so blu

Danielle Arianna Picernos | Chicago | Age 22

Blue brushstrokes on film capture life and loss.

A hand-drawn robot boy stares, eye-twitching, body glitching, surrounded by pink-purple colour pencil strokes.

Trigonometry’s Ultimate Method to Putting the Fun Back in Your Own Funeral

April Aquino | Chicago | Age 22

Trigonometry’s untimely death inspires him to go out with one last hurrah, crashing his own funeral.

A digitally animated girl sleeps on her bed, her phone idle in the distance.

Twenty Twenty Three — To The Lighthouse

Chengyu Li | Ohio | Age 16

Drowning and stressed, a high school student asks herself, “Am I going crazy?”

A wide-eyed oulined ghost glowing, surrounded by hand-drawn images.

Treasure Haunt

Carlos Lerma | Chicago | Age 20

Longing for a single hug, a man traverses all boundaries and drinks the ghost potion, flying towards his love.

A cutout animated woman stands contemplating as stars hang and a bird perches on the tree behind her.


Cecelia Clare | California | Age 20

Waves of nostalgia wash over an old woman as she dives deep into the water of her youth.

A young man in a flying suit swerves on his hoverboard.

Echoes in the Sand

Miles Isgrig | New York | Age 22

Hell-bent on finding his parents, Peter rebels against his robot guardian, bounding toward the voices in the desert.

A little boy in a foetal position as a dotted line snake is drawn around him.


Lewis Fuller Hill | Australia | Age 22

In a heartfelt visual letter penned to his mother, a man dreams of her voice and of snakes in a field.


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A dark haired woman and child share a warm smile as the girl rests her hand on the womans.


  Noora Niasari

  Australia     117 minutes


Shayda, a brave Iranian mother, has fled her husband, finding refuge in an Australian women’s shelter with her six-year-old daughter. Over the Persian New Year, they struggle to find normalcy in Nowruz rituals and new beginnings. But when her estranged husband re-enters their lives, Shayda’s path to freedom is jeopardized.

Drawn from personal experiences, Iranian-Australian filmmaker Noora Niasari’s powerful debut feature is a poetic, beautifully crafted vérité portrayal of courage and compassion, anchored by a heart-rending performance by Zar Amir Ebrahimi (Holy Spider). Ebrahimi captures the vulnerability and conflict, but also the radiant soul, of an Iranian woman who boldly reclaims her human rights: to divorce her husband, dress as she chooses, and keep her child no matter the cost.

 English, Persian with subtitles 

Screenings & Events


Film Credits

  •   Vincent Sheehan, Noora Niasari
  •   Noora Niasari
  •   Elika Rezaee
  •   Sherwin Akbarzadeh
  •   Zar Amir Ebrahimi, Osamah Sami, Leah Purcell, Jillian Nguyen, Mojean Aria, Rina Mousavi, Selina Zahednia
  •   Cate Blanchett, Andrew Upton, Coco Francini, Caitlin Gold, Lindsay Lanzillotta, Lois Scott, Naomi McDougall Jones, Nivedita Kulkarni
  •   Origma 45, Dirty Films, The 51 Fund