Starting this evening, internationally-recognised, Perth-based comedy short film festival Over the Fence will be streaming festival gems amassed from 24 years of screening.

Films will be streamed between 4pm – 6pm every Monday over the coming weeks through Over the Fence’s Facebook Page.

A grassroots festival dedicated to championing indie and new filmmakers, Festival Director Greg Coffey started Over the Fence back in 1996, when he and former co-Director Phil Jeng Kane were budding filmmakers, showing comedy shorts as part of the now-defunct Film and Television Institute WA Filmmakers Festival. Originally limited to WA films, it expanded nationwide before opening up to international submissions in 2006 due to the high volume of calls they received from international filmmakers looking for a platform for their work.

Cheeses of Nazareth (2005), dir. Joel Khon & Ben Esler

Somewhat left-of-centre, Over the Fence’s mission is to challenge ideas of comedy and provide audiences with an entirely new experience of comedic storytelling, through the inclusion of different filmmaking styles and genres. Coffey emphasised that what makes the festival special is the quality of comedic content they showcase, which is:

Sometimes a bit rough, sometimes confronting, and definitely not for the children.

The festival receives between 150 to 200 submissions a year, with the top 12 to 14 selected to be screened as part of the 2 hour festival program at venues across Perth and WA. This year’s festival program had 4 successful screenings in Perth just before COVID-19 restrictions forced cinemas to close their doors. Coffey said that the festival is expected to pick up again and continue touring later in the year, with A World of Dark Comedy expected to screen in October.

Milkmen (2003), writer & prod. Peter Templeman. dir. Luke Eve.

Amongst Coffey’s favourites are two shorts from Perth director Robert Forsythe, Mensroom and Stump, the former following a desperate man’s attempts to hold it in whilst on a date. Others to look out for include Cheeses of Nazareth, which is a take on religion and the obscenities of the church, and Milkmen from award-winning writer and producer Peter Templeman. Templeman was nominated for an Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film in 2007 for The Savoir, and  has since gone on to work on episodes of hit Aussie TV shows Offspring and Wanted.

Image credit: Feature image from Makeover dir. Don Percy.

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