I love St Kilda icons

St Kilda has long been home to many of the city’s arts events and of course, a number of its grand theatres. Today it is still home to some of the city’s most beautiful, iconic, and culturally and historically significant buildings. As well as the grand old dame that houses the Astor – a not especially gaudy structure that belies the hive of activity that takes place inside, St Kilda boasts the National Theatre and, shoreside, The Palais.

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Each in its own right is so much more than just beautifully stacked bricks and mortar to view from the beach or while sauntering down Barkly St. And now – not exactly like us but also not entirely unlike us – The Palais is in trouble. Its trouble is not about a freehold, however, as the building is owned by the State Government. It is about maintenance. A LOT of maintenance – far more than the comparatively minor repairs the Astor requires.

As a state owned building, what’s needed is investment from the government. There’s an election upcoming so now is a good time to make some noise if you love the Palais. We love the Palais. We love all of the rich history and the wonderful cultural events that take place in Melbourne, and especially St Kilda: it’s our home, and we want our home to keep its cultural icons.

sk0407A-71-22There’s too much apathy when it comes to keeping history alive, which is why I’m writing this post. Recently, in the media frenzy that followed our announcement of closure in 2015, a journalist asked me why the building housing the Astor was important when it’s not yet reached 100 years in age. The Astor is 78, the Palais is 87. Neither building is 100 years old, but both are incredibly important and must be maintained. My question, not just for that journalist, but for everyone, is this: how can a building ever hope to become 100 years old if it isn’t valued, protected and maintained before then?

If you love the Palais and want to know more, visit: ilovemypalais.com

You can also get involved and show your support on Facebook and Twitter.

Written by Tara Judah for The Astor Theatre

SoundKILDA is coming…

Proudly presented by the City of Port Phillip, the St Kilda Film Festival, Australia’s premier short film festival, is back at the Astor! It’s already underway and so far it’s been a schedule roaring with goodness. Featuring Australia’s Top 100 short films, music videos, archival screenings, filmmaker development programs and more – including SoundKILDA - it’s time to get excited and get down here if you haven’t already.

On Thursday 29 May, SoundKILDA will screen and award the best music videos of local and international musicians by some of country’s most talented filmmakers. We’ve even got three films featured here to whet your appetite!

Child Bride by CocoRosie

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Child Bride is a fairytale but in reality, every year an estimated 14 million girls are married before they turn 18. Robbed of their childhood, denied their rights to health, education and security. Child Bride is the latest clip in an ongoing collaboration between Brooklyn-based CocoRosie and award-winning Australian filmmaker Emma Freeman.

Twin Rivers by Big Scary

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A praying mantis struggles to find contentment in a modern world. The crew waited patiently for Florence to move into a good position or give a look with personality. She is now retired and is kept as a pet by filmmakers Shaun and Maxine.

Quasimodo’s Dream – Tim Rogers

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Using the evocative setting of Her Majesty’s Theatre in Adelaide, Tim Rogers falls again and again like a suicide on repeat. Quasimodo’s Dream features in Tim Rogers’ new feature film, The Boy Castaways, directed by Michael Kantor and featuring Megan Washington and Paul Capsis.

Known as Australia’s only dedicated music video competition, collaborations include Director Natasha Pincus with The Paper Kites, Director Emma Freeman with CocoRosie, Director Summer DeRoche with City Calm Down and Directors Charlie Ford and Josh McKie with Vance Joy.

But that’s not all! There’s also the Under the Radar Competition, on Wednesday 28 May, that will showcase the extraordinary work being produced by young filmmakers under 21 years of age.

As Australia’s oldest and largest short film festival, the St Kilda Film Festival showcases exceptional films by emerging artists, providing the most comprehensive overview of the country’s short film industry.

The St Kilda Film Festival is also now an ACADEMY AWARDS® qualifying event with award-winning films eligible for consideration in the OSCARS® Short Film Awards.

The full program is available to view now at www.stkildafilmfestival.com.au

St Kilda Film Festival Day 4

Day four of the festival was the busiest day yet. Our foyers were packed full of stalls and patrons chatting about courses, funding, international festivals and all things film. We also had Paul Harris and the wonderful team at 3RRR broadcasting Melbourne’s premier film focused radio show Film Buff’s Forecast live from our upstairs foyer and a plasma TV station where you could put on a set of headphones and watch the shorts in whatever order you chose.

Australia’s Top 100 Competition Shorts continued with six more sessions; Session 11 being so popular we even had to open our stalls as the dress circle was positively full of filmmakers, their friends, family and fans. Afterglow, Nadine Garner’s directorial debut was greeted with a great reception and the Dutch Shorts also proved to be quite the festival highlight.

Beyond the short films we had a visit from beyond the grave as Deadly Earnest resurrected himself to wish us all a hateful evening in earnest. Amidst a cloud of smoke he read the audience a poem before the hilarity and gore of Drive-in Delirium’s Horrorpalooza got under way. Not just a gorefest, Horrorpalooza! also brought us Trog (1970), The Green Slime (1968)  – and coming up on our next calendar as part of Cinema Fiasco’s new line-up (Friday July 01)! and, of course, an insane number of half-naked women. The prize for best (and by which we mean most convoluted) title goes to The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave (1971) and the best marketing ploy we’ve seen in a long time goes out to Corruption (1968) – watch the trailer below and you’ll see why!

The last of the Competition sessions are already underway for today and there’s still time to get your tickets for Coffee: Between Reality and Imagination (the Israeli/Palestinian shorts programme at 4.30pm this afternoon) as well as the Closing Night Awards.

And finally, for anyone wondering where Marzipan is – I’m afraid she left us for a few days as of last night. She has a very important appointment with the vet on Tuesday and wanted to get some rest away from the ruckus first.

St Kilda Film Festival Day 3

Day 3 of the festival gave everyone a little lie in as the first session of the day started with a free session: Park Saints at 5pm. Finishing up with a choir onstage and a hoard of happy attendees, the atmosphere for the evening was positively brimming. Our foyers were full for the Irish Films at 7.30pm and the die-hard film fans stayed on for the comedy shorts session at 10.30pm which included Pop, starring Angus Sampson (recently pictured with Melbourne’s most infamous cat Marzipan in the Herald Sun - although she denies all claims that they’re “an item”, saying their relationship is strictly professional, which is good news because she’s a cat).

Today the festival continues with its fullest day yet. So come along any time from 11.30am to get your tickets if you haven’t already done so as we’ve got Paul Harris and the Film Buff’s team broadcasting live from the venue for 3RRR (if you can’t make it down, be sure to listen in at 102.7FM or stream online). There will also be a bunch of stalls set up upstairs for the Industry Open Day, a Dutch Shorts programme at 4.30pm, six more Australian Top 100 Competition Shorts sessions (including one that stars our very own FOH staff member!) and tonight, Drive-In Delirium’s Horrorpalooza! which showcases a bevvy of gory and insane exploitation and horror trailers. It’s going to be a fantastically full day so make sure you get down here.

St Kilda Film Festival: Day 2

Last night (Day 2 of the festival) something rather scientific took place inside our grand old theatre walls, and I’m not even referring to the strange phenomenon of people leaving whilst there was still a free bar going on inside the auditorium next to a live DJ onstage playing stupendous tunes to the backdrop of Black Orpheus (1959)! Nope, the strange scientific discovery I’m referring to is the empirical evidence that proved to us once and for all that it is possible for Melburnians of the North to cross the city and spend a night Southside. And no, not one of them turned into a pumpkin (although that might go some way to explaining why so many of them abandoned boxes of free pizza and glasses of free booze just before midnight…)

But on a serious note, Day 2 saw a very touching memorial slide show tribute screened just prior to the 6pm session in memory of Bill Hunter, accompanied by some brief but fitting words from festival director, Paul Harris. It also saw sessions 2 & 3 of Australia’s Top 100 Competition Shorts get under way and it did present some pretty innovative music videos; some of which won awards. The award for Best Music Video went to Beautiful Trash by Lanu featuring Megan Washington. Beautiful Trash was directed and produced by Lucy Dyson who just so happens to be part of an exhibition on now at the Jenny Port Gallery until May 28.  To check out all the winners head on over to the St Kilda Film Festival official website, but before you do, take a minute to watch this clip by the The Bedroom Philosopher who won the Best Independent Award for Northcote (So Hungover).

Thanks SoundKILDA for the crumple bags given to audience members with the most rock’n’roll contents in their own bags and for finally proving that even the most Northcotey of Northerners aren’t restricted to just the 86 tram.

The festival continues tonight with a free screening of Park Saints at 5pm. Tonight’s programme also includes some Irish Shorts & three more of Australia’s Top 100 – Competition Sessions.

St Kilda Film Festival

This year the St Kilda Film Festival is hanging out round our gaff and so far it’s all kinds of awesome.

After Opening Night at the Palais and with many filmy types recovering from the afterparty at the Town Hall (catered by ACC and with some outstanding tunes playing into the wee hours), we opened our Marzipan silhouette-postered doors to welcome the first of the week’s screenings. Kicking off with some filmmakers milling about the place and with Paul Harris introducing the fantastic St Kilda Film Fest team, our first evening was off to a pretty good start. Last night also saw the competition shorts begin (and yes, you do get to vote for the films in these sessions when you come along!) as well as the first international programme: German Shorts from interfilm Berlin Short Film Festival.

To find out more about what’s happened at the theatre today you’ll need either to turn up and get involved (go on, SoundKILDA is happening at 9pm!) or check back in with us tomorrow to see what you missed!

For more info on purchasing tickets for individual sessions or for Closing Night please head on over to the St Kilda Film Festival website.