SmartFone Flick Fest (SF3)

Rebecca Varidel
27th Jan 2022

Australia’s hit international smartphone film festival, the SmartFone Flick Fest (SF3) is ready to roll in February 2022. And the bumper finals promise 70+ films – including one by an Academy Award winner!

The festival’s 7th big year will be live on screen in-cinema in two venues over the weekend of 26 - 27 February. PLUS online until 13 March.

There were more than 300 entries for short films and 18 feature length films from countries all over the world. Of these, more than 70 will feature online with curated programs for the festival’s Gala Awards final, feature film and SF3 Mini screenings, SF3 Kids and SF360 categories.

The Gala Finals screening with its glittering awards ceremony takes place at Sydney’s Palace Chauvel Cinema, Paddington on Saturday 26 February. The 15 finalists include stunning short films from China, Italy, France, England and Scotland as well as a slew of Sydney, Melbourne and regional NSW entries.

Among them is Leader by English actor and filmmaker Chris Overton, a previous winner of an Academy Award for his short film The Silent Child.

And South-Western Sydney filmmaker Remy Brand's Cold Water Therapy is also among the frontrunners.

The record number of SF3 Kids entries have been whittled down to the best 25 shorts by filmmakers 16 and under – to be screened at the Actors Centre in Leichhardt on Sunday 27 February. Among the Sydney finalists are Eedi Mar-Young with The Last Stall and Jasmine Wastell with A Letter to a Friend.

This year’s Sydney lockdown meant the SF3 Mini category (formerly the ‘Iso’ Award) came into its own for films 3 minutes or less. With a theme of “RISE” – these movies partnered with the United Nations Association of Australia. Local filmmakers featured include: Steve McGrath ("Day 62"), Fanny (pictured) by Reid McGown, Packet Mix by Taylor Buoro, Bunby by Michelle Ny and The Hand of God by Xeno Nemos.

The 9 best Feature Films selected include two superb Australian entries: One Punch by AFTRS graduate Darcy Yuille and MISPLACED a stunning debut movie from James Demitri about grief and mental health. Each will be screened with SF3 Mini programs on Sunday 27 February.

The finalist SF360 (360 degree) movies will all screen online.

Co-founder Angela Blake said that throughout the pandemic and snap lockdowns around the world, filmmakers have become more innovative than ever.

“Smartphones have enabled them to tell their stories during these extraordinary times."

“With hard borders coming down all over the world - SF3 has brought filmmakers together from across the country (and the world!) for a true celebration of creativity and ingenuity,” her co-festival director/founder Ali Crew added.

There are over $50,000 worth of prizes, including mentorships, classes, memberships, apps, lenses, mics, phones and tablets… plus much more. This year’s fest includes wonderful innovations too, including the inaugural SF3 First Nations Award – sponsored by Dolby. On offer for the winners are mentorships with SF3’s new Indigenous Festival Ambassadors, journalist and producer Stan Grant, actor and director Wayne Blair and high profile screenwriter Jon Bell. They join returning Festival Ambassadors Phillip Noyce, Kriv Stenders, Nicole da Silva, Jason van Genderen, Kerry Armstrong and Christopher Stollery. The first ever SF3 Kids Ambassador is Emily Prior and the first African Ambassador is the extraordinary Wanuri Kahiu from Kenya.

Among the more than 30 other awards across the five categories are the #FILMBREAKER award for first-time filmmakers, Best Female Creative, Best Feature Film, two SF3 Kids Best Film awards (Teen and Junior/Primary) plus three new ‘gongs’: Best Documentary, Best Editing and the SF3 Luma Touch, Finished on Mobile Award – for a film that is both shot AND edited on a smart phone or tablet.

Legendary Australian filmmaker Phillip Noyce (Rabbit-proof Fence, Heatwave, Bluu Drift) says “A smart phone is an instant portal to the world. These innovators have no fear of technology, no barries to expressing themselves. These are truly our next generation of cinema pioneers… I’m in awe of their films.”