Swinburne graduate awarded at St Kilda Film Festival

Monday 18 June 2018

Simon Direen at St Kilda Film Festival.

Simon Direen was recognised in two major categories at the St Kilda Film Festival.

In summary

  • Swinburne alumnus wins ‘Best Documentary’ and ‘Best Achievement in Editing’ at St Kilda Film Festival
  • ‘A Life Together’ tells of a relationship that has taken place on and off the streets of Melbourne
  • Several other Swinburne films received recognition and were screened at the festival 

A film by a Swinburne alumnus has received best documentary at the St Kilda Film Festival.

‘A Life Together’, directed by Simon Direen, was winner in the categories of ‘Best Documentary’ and ‘Best Achievement in Editing’ at the 2018 St Kilda Film Festival.

“It feels great!” says Mr Direen of his unexpected win. 

“I know everyone says this, but I really didn’t expect to win. I was over the moon to be nominated for three awards, let alone win something. Winning best editor was the biggest shock as I never even intended to edit the film.”

Telling a risky story

‘A Life Together’ tells the story of Davo and Valetta, the many hardships they have faced, and their relationship that has taken place on and off the streets of Melbourne.

“It really pleases me that Davo and Valetta’s story resonates with so many people,” says Mr Direen.

“It was a risky film to make because it could have come across as insulting and tacky, but we remained true to what we set out to do which was to show their story with no judgment and give them the dignity they deserve. It looks like we may have pulled it off.”

A still from the documentary 'A Life Together'

Mr Direen, who graduated from a Bachelor of Film and Television in 2016, credits the quality of his teachers and the relationships he formed as reasons for his success.

“What I took away from Swinburne is very good and positive relationships with teachers,” he says.

“They understood and respected what I was trying to say with filmmaking and seemed to inherently know how to guide and nurture that. I feel very indebted to a few of my teachers that went above and beyond for me.”


Further Swinburne recognition  

Several other Swinburne students and graduate films received a recognition including:  

  • Ambulance (nominated for Best Animation) 
  • Mister Herschell (nominated for Best Documentary) 

Other films screened at the festival included:

  • El Nino
  • Serial Pest
  • St Bernie
  • Skates
  • Baba Desi

Swinburne Department Chair of Film and Animation, Associate Professor James Verdon, says that Swinburne encourages students to get involved with industry early in their studies.

“From day one on campus we encourage Department of Film and Animation students to get involved with screen industries in Victoria and beyond,” says Associate Professor Verdon.

“It's wonderful to see a team led by Simon alongside a number of other Swinburne students and graduates realising this level of industry success. To see their enthusiasm, creativity and skills recognised at one of Australia’s key film festivals is a testament to the hard work of our staff and students.”