The Mitchell Library Reading Room is temporarily closed for refurbishment. More information ›


Important update: Library events and opening hours. Read news item ›

Entries open for State Library’s $20,000 short film competition

Thursday 21 November 2019

The State Library of NSW is inviting entries for its short film prize Shortstacks, with a total of $20,000 on offer across two categories.

Now in its second year, Shortstacks is open to established, emerging and first-time filmmakers of all ages, but there’s a catch ... each short film entered must reference one or more items selected from the State Library’s rich collection.

According to State Librarian Dr John Vallance: “We have trawled through our underground stacks to come up with five unique items which we hope will inspire a fresh offering of fantastic short films.”

“Shortstacks provides a great opportunity for filmmakers, including those just starting out, to say something new and interesting using a wonderful piece of history held the Library’s collection. I can’t wait to see what people come up with.”

The five items are:5443_shortstacks_2020_identity_squarecolour.jpg

  • a message in a bottle which was dropped from the air during the first Australian flight from England to Australia in 1919
  • a quirky painting of garbage collection day in Bulli by John Bokor
  • a hand-coloured woodcut from 1550 depicting hypothetical sea monsters
  • the State Library’s longest manuscript (measuring over 9 metres) which contains more than 7,000 Aboriginal words compiled in 1881
  • a collection of bird whistles made from metal tubing, wire and rubber bands.

The winners will be announced during a special screening of the finalists at the State Library of NSW in June 2020.

The judges will consider films (of no more than six minutes) in all genres – fictional, documentary, animation or experimential (eg. timelapse, drone), and entrants can shoot their films on any device including mobile phones.

Celebrated Australian film critic, writer, producer and TV personality Margaret Pomeranz will return to the judging panel in 2020, along with TV critic Jason Di Rosso and Tropfest’s youngest finalist, Nick Ward.

“Our esteemed judges will be looking for the most engaging, imaginative and innovative entries that bring new ideas to life,” says Dr Vallance.

There are two prize categories:

  • $15,000 General Prize: open to filmmakers 18 years and over at the time of entries closing
  • $5,000 Youth Prize: open to filmmakers 17 years and younger at the time of entries closing

Shortstacks has been made possible by the State Library of NSW Foundation which, through the generosity of private donors, supports an extensive program of creative awards and research fellowships at the Library. Shortstacks is administered by the State Library.

Entries close 2 April 2020.

More information and entry forms

Download full media release