Spark Short Film Initiative


Spark is back with four incredible short films made by teams of local emerging filmmakers. The bar has been raised in 2023, with a record funding pool split between the films, a prestigeous executive producer - Rachel Clements from Brindle Films - helped guide the teams through the process, and a superb level of industry sponsorship for the program has resulted in films of the highest quality.


The  World Premiere of the films screen during the Spark Film Showcase on Friday 22nd September at the Deckchair Cinema. Spark is consistently one of the hottest tickets in the festival. Advance bookings are strongly recommended.


Click here to book tickets to the Spark World Premiere

7pm, Friday 22nd of September


The Spark Film Initiative began as a project of the  of the Darwin Film Society. The inaugural Spark program took place during the 2016 Darwin International Film Festival. Screen Territory have taken on management and funding of Spark for the 2023 festival edition. Special thanks goes out to the Spark Sponsors: Panavision, Global Headquarters, Panafreight, The Post Lounge, Trackdown, Subsonic, Screen Producers Australia and Brindle Films.





Directed by Phillip Tarl Denson

Produced by Will Tinnapple, Phillip Tarl Denson

DOP Jacob Hazeldine

After another argument with her long-suffering dad, 15-year-old Xanthe storms out of the house and stumbles upon a rusted-out old robot in the bush. Balancing humour, drama and heartbreak, Rust proves that making new friends isn’t always easy – even when you have an instruction manual.


More info

First Drop

Directed and written by Damon Van Der Schuit

Produced by Emma Smith, Bridget May

DOP Shane Mulcahy

Set in Alice Springs, Ted, a reclusive and bitter retiree is tasked with caring for his Pakistani neighbour’s 10-year-old daughter, Saleha. After attempts to limit his engagement with Saleha, Ted’s defences are broken down as he realises the two share a mutual love of cricket. Thus begins the blossoming of an unlikely friendship.


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Directed & written by Thomas Midena

Produced by Lexie Gregory

DOP Leigh Bramall

It's the end of the world and everyone knows it. Determined to uphold a sense of order, Zara drags her parents to the high school's last concert. But emotions run high, and when nothing goes as planned, Zara is forced to embrace the chaos.


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Directed by Samantha Alexis Laughton

Produced & written by Sean Guy

DOP Jacob Hazeldine

Two actors meet in a tent to discuss a film they are working on; a younger man playing Hephaestion, and a more mature one playing Alexander the Great. As the thespians dissect their roles Hephaestion argues against the use of 'friendship' as a label to hide genuine romance.


More info




Phillip Tarl Denson
Will Tinnapple
Jacob Hazeldine
Bridget May
Damon Van Der Schuit
Emma Smith
Sean Guy
Samantha Alexis Laughton
Lexie Gregory
Thomas Midena