Setting Sun Film Festival brings stunning shorts, feature premieres and spontaneous filmmaking to Melbourne’s West

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Setting Sun Film Festival brings stunning shorts, feature premieres and spontaneous filmmaking to Melbourne’s West

setting sun
words by sarah duggan

Setting Sun International Film Festival returns this May for its 11th annual event.

As the West’s premier international film event, Setting Sun is renowned for curating top-tier, award-winning films from independent filmmakers worldwide.

Transforming venues like The Sun Theatre Yarraville, Kindred Studios, and the Greek Centre into hubs of cinematic brilliance, the festival offers a range of shorts and features across 16 inspiring sessions.

Setting Sun International Film Festival 2024 Categories:

  • Best Australian Film 2024
  • Best Film West 2024
  • Best Documentary  2024
  • Best Emerging Filmmaker 2024
  • Best Cultural Diversity 2024
  • Best Secondary Student 2024
  • Best Acting Performance 2024
  • Best Indigenous Achievement in Filmmaking 2024

Find Melbourne’s latest film, TV, literature and gaming news here.

Delve into a captivating lineup featuring culturally diverse narratives, filmmaker showcases, and engaging Q&A sessions that promise to inspire and ignite your imagination.

Excitingly, the festival’s partnership with Filmonik Kabaret opens doors for aspiring filmmakers to create and screen their works, fostering an environment of creativity and collaboration.

Kicking off on May 9th, the opening night will be hosted by comedian Samuel Gebreselassie and will showcase an assortment of short films across different landscapes including drama, documentary and animation.

Opening Night: Short Films

Heart Throb

  • Drama, Australia, runtime: 14:55
  • Directed by Greta Nash
  • 18-year-old Gray is in love with his best friend Angelo, but his desire for social media stardom complicates things.

Last Chance

  • Drama, Australia, runtime: 11:04
  • Directed by Zak Marrinan
  • A sports bar supervisor must navigate her way through a dreary graveyard shift with a variety of rough customers.

Mr Chicken Goes To Mars

  • Animation, Australia, runtime: 3:15
  • Directed by Katrina Mathers & Leigh Hobbs
  • Mr Chicken goes to Mars. It’s a big day. 


  • Drama, France, runtime: 26:44
  • Directed by Jo Ingabire Moys
  • It’s 1994, Rwanda. As the civil war rages, Bazigaga takes in a father and daughter hunted by the militia.


  • Documentary, Australia, runtime: 6:51
  • Directed by Zooey Gao
  • One of the few surviving Steenbeck edit suites in the southern hemisphere is dismantled and given to collectors. A film student leaves behind the world of celluloid to become an editor for TV.


  • Comedy, France, runtime: 22:00
  • Directed by Marion Defer
  • A couple of vagabonds break into a house while the owners are on vacation.

Feature premiere: Fight To Live

  • Documentary, Australia, runtime: 80:00
  • Directed by Tom Haramis

May 10th will see the Melbourne premiere of the feature-length Aussie doco Fight To Live, directed by Tom Haramis and focused on the story of UFC bare-knuckle boxing champion Bec Rawlings.

Fight to Live is a gripping look at a young woman’s journey from victim to conqueror; from a troubled young kid in Launceston to a terrified mother protecting herself and her children from an abuser. Bec has been through hell and come out a woman comfortable in her own skin, living on her own terms, and dominating in one of the world’s toughest sports.

Kindred Studios: Youth A & Youth B

Kindred Studios will be premiering a range of short films on May 11th in the Youth A & Youth B categories, with more than 20 films being aired, showcasing some incredible up-and-coming talent.

These screenings will run from Saturday, May 11th, from 12:30pm onwards. Titles include 1 2 3 Red Light, Green Light, directed by Liangyu Chen, The Last Myki Inspector, directed by Griff Ward and Glow, directed by Valentina Pliskow as well as dozens of other incredible shorts!

Kindred Studios: Female Filmmaker Program

Presented in partnership with Women in Film and TV Victoria, this series features trailblazing women in filmmaking. Each session also features a Q&A with the filmmakers. Films on display include Laugh With Me, a tale of a lonely man’s unlikely friendship with a kookaburra, Morning After, a hilarious post-hook up romp and So Much Smoke, a drama about looking for love in the classified ads.

Feature premiere & Q&A: Things Will Be Different


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  • Thriller, Australia, runtime: 102 minutes
  • Directed by Lucie McMahon

Things Will Be Different will be premiered at Setting Sun on May 12th, followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers. Directed by Lucie McMahon, this documentary follows the experiences of two neighbours as they are forced to relocate from the Walker Street public housing estate in Northcote, Melbourne when it’s sold for private redevelopment.

Kindred Studio Sessions

From May 12th to May 16th, Kindred Studios will be screening short films from local, emerging and international filmmakers. This program will see over 60 short films being screened over nine sessions.

Lab Rat

  • Drama, Australia, runtime: 11:00
  • Directed by Ben Hargreaves
  • After finding herself trapped in an austere laboratory, a female test subject must complete a series of scientific puzzles to appease a homicidal AI robot in the hopes of escaping its sinister labyrinth.

Olga’s Eyes

  • Comedy, Belgium, runtime: 22:08
  • Directed by Sarah Carlos Jaber
  • Olga, a music-loving octogenarian, is tired of killing humans. Could it be the vampire blues? For her daughter Simone, she’s just being picky! Olga is placed in a care home where she can deal with those “who have one foot in the grave”.


  • Drama, France, runtime: 27:00
  • Directed by Kristof Sagna 
  • Adnan, a 16-year-old Syrian who has lived in France with his family for two years, is trying to come to terms with his past.Directed by Kristof Sagna


  •  Animation, Australia, runtime: 4:00
  • Directed by Mark Bernard
  • Home follows the story of a person born in Australia with Indian roots, navigating the challenges of fitting into a culturally intricate society.

Polly’s Peculiar Pilgrimage

  • Adventure, Australia, runtime: 6:10
  • Directed by Declan Crowley
  • When a speck of pollen named Polly loses her father, after he is sniffed up by Hana, an unwitting human, Polly devises a plan to fly into Hana’s house and up her nose in an effort to bring him home!

High Country Quiet


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  • Thriller, Australia, runtime: 17:37
  • Directed by Matthew Williams
  • A young couple on a camping trip in the remote Australian bush have an unsettling encounter that puts their relationship to the test.

You’re On Mute

  • Comedy, Australia, runtime: 6:01
  • Directed by Hope Lumsden
  • You’re On Mute is a comedy short about an invisible imp who causes chaos in the lives of humans working from home.

Heat Beat

  • Documentary, Australia, runtime: 28:00
  • Directed by Tamara Brane-Gregory
  • Heat Beat brings NO ZU’s last-ever tour to you. After playing for 15 years together, the band completes their final two shows at The Night Cat in Naarm/Melbourne, Australia.

Under the Influence

  • Satire, Australia, runtime: 7:54
  • Directed by Cate O’Connor
  • Under The Influence is a physiological thriller about a fame-hungry influencer, Nadia. On social media she is the epitome of perfection; she’s beautiful, fit, has a plethora of followers and a handsome husband, Jackson. But cracks in her fake-tanned armour begin to show when Jackson wants to end their marriage.

Filmonik Kabaret

The Filmonik Cabaret is an annual celebration of all things film, held at Kindred Studios. Over a 72-hour marathon, filmmakers are invited to spontaneously produce short films which will later be screened at the festival.

This is a non-competitive, collaborative event, running from May 17th to May 20th. Teams are not pre-selected and there are no creative boundaries! This is an excellent experience for seasoned filmmakers or beginners: it’s chaotic, creative and, most importantly, a heck of a lot of fun!

Psarokokalo (Athens Short FF)

The final day of the festival will see fully subtitled screenings of Greek short films from the Athens Short Film Festival. A mixture of comedy, drama and sci-fi, this section adds a lovely touch of diversity and culture to the festival. 

Look At The Stars

  • Sci-fi, Greece, runtime 11:34
  • Directed by Aris Kouvaras
  • In the twilight of his life, an elderly man revisits a bittersweet memory and reshapes it in the way he would have liked to have lived it.

Short Draft

  • Comedy, Greece, runtime: 22:33
  • Directed by Spyridon Papaspyrou
  • A man hijacks a taxi when the taxi driver refuses to take him where he wants. Two men will share a ride where everything will go wrong and a girl will change their way, where the end will be a mystery even for the heroes of Short Draft.

Until You See Me

  • Comedy, Greece, runtime: 15:00
  • Directed by Eleanna Santorinaiou
  • Petros takes an emotional journey whilst he walks through the corridors of a cemetery, holding an old Hi8 camera and burying a beloved person.

Buffer Zone

  • Drama, Greece, runtime: 16:00
  • Directed by Savvas Stavrou
  • Two young soldiers across enemy lines fall in love and find an escape from their oppressive environments through music.

The Armchair on the Pavement

  • Drama, Greece, runtime: 14:53
  • Directed by Mary Kolonia
  • An old song from the radio suddenly triggers memories of youth in an elderly ex-army General suffering from dementia, making him momentarily recall the evening of his engagement to his wife.


  • Drama, Greece, runtime: 20:00
  • Directed by Chryssanthi Kouri
  • While facing pivotal life changes Matina arrives at the family summer house to clear out her late mother’s things. There she begins to unravel, as past and present collide until she reaches a personal epiphany.

For more information on the Setting Sun Film Festival and to browse the entire program, head here

This article was made in partnership with the Setting Sun Film Festival.