How to make a short film – start by choosing your story

Hear ye, filmmakers! The 2021 Microflix Award & Festival is upon us, and this year’s stories are sure to spark your creativity.

After the mayhem that was 2020 (choose your character: bushfires, floods, a global pandemic, protests) our writers have overcome no shortage of setbacks in order to emerge victorious into the new year with a fresh batch of tasty tales. From stories set in futuristic dystopian worlds to ones that take place in bustling cities, our Microflix contestants have let their imaginations run wild, serving up their finest work for the chance to see them come alive on a screen.

This year, we have diverse stories touching on themes of belonging, home, family, and loss, as well as a variety that are driven by humour and wit. With a range of microliterature to offer, the 2021 Microflix Award & Festival will be one to remember.

Impeccable imagery

For stories such as ‘Finding Glory’ by Katharine Pollock, ‘Nature Therapy’ by Karen Lethlean, and ‘Ruby Sunset’ by Maria Bonar, which share a commonality in their detailed imagery, the potential for adaption is clear in their lavish descriptions and heartfelt, witty prose.

Their colourful comparisons paint clear pictures, and provide ample inspiration for emerging and experienced filmmakers alike to translate them to screen.

“Eucalypt smoke gurgles in my veins. Focus for a time on textured tree trunks and wisped grass-tree skirts. A rustling of leaves overhead will clean emotion-fogged nerve endings.”
(Lethlean, Nature Therapy)

Source: Pixabay

Emotionally evocative

Rose Hunter’s ‘Frank’, Rachael Vella’s ‘A Distant World’ and Seetha Dodd’s ‘Quicksand’ explore complex emotions, weaving feelings of immense loss, rage and happiness into their stories to create powerful scenes that resonate on a deep, emotional level.

Symbolism combined with depictions of struggling characters enhance the impact of these stories, their messages and themes doubling as both relatable and unique to the narratives’ circumstances.

With distinctive voices and universal undertones, these texts are ready to let their colours fly in an adaptation.

“I reminded the super of my history with my violent ex-husband Frank and how that was one of the main reasons I moved into this building: because of the security. But not only does he not stop this woman, he brings her bolt cutters…” (Hunter, Frank)

Captivating comedy

While some of the texts lend themselves to dark, dramatic tones, many utilise humour to provide a comedic edge and captivate the audience.

‘Our New Neighbours’ by Christine Hand contains a plot twist in its conclusion that will have you hollering, while ‘The Missing Button by Joanna Beresford tackles an awkward situation many parents and children will have found themselves in, creating a humorous encounter by misdirecting the reader’s attention before revealing the truth. For any filmmakers searching for tales with a softer side, Hand’s and Beresford’s pieces (along with many of our other Microflix entries) offer a dose of light-hearted storytelling sure to bring about a smile.

“One day I visited Carmel; she took me into the bedroom and my eyes fell on an array of leather belts. I remembered the whipping sounds from the past. I smiled as it dawned on me that these eighty-year-olds were well into a world of boudoir discipline.” (Hand, Our New Neighbours)

Source: Pixabay

Creative collaborations

For those who are reading this as a newbie filmmaker nervous to adapt their first text, fear not! The goal of the Microflix Award & Festival is to provide Australian filmmakers both new and established with the chance to adapt texts into film, and encourage collaborations from Australian creatives in the film and literary industries. Whether you’re an established professional who has been producing film adaptations for decades, or a novice working up to your debut creation, we welcome your participation all the same! With a plethora of microliterature to choose from, we can’t wait to see which pieces will be treated to an adaptation.


The entry is free, cash prizes are on offer, the fun is limitless – and you have the chance to see your film played at a special festival screening. Demonstrate your passion and creativity by throwing your hat in the ring and bringing one of our authors’ pieces to life!

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This blog was written by guest blogger Ellyse Moir.

Ellyse is an avid reader and writer studying a Bachelor of Creative Arts and Creative Writing at the University of Wollongong.