Audiences at this year’s Melbourne Queer Film Festival crowned The Wilding the season’s Best Australian Short Film.
The short film is a gritty insight into a gay relationship set in a juvenile jail and follows what happens when one of the boys is given a chance at parole at the expense of the other’s safety.
Director Grant Scicluna was also commended with the festival’s Emerging Talent Award.
The Melbourne-based director has recently returned from Berlin, Germany where The Wilding was screened at the Berlin International Film Festival.
Scicluna told the Star Observer about the thinking behind the film’s title.
“It’s a word I’ve always liked,” he said.
“You can call a person a wilding and they are kind of wild or a wilding is also an act that’s violent, so when kids say, ‘I’m going to go wilding tonight’ they literally mean they’re going to go crazy.
“There is one major act of violence and also the lead character [Malcolm] is really pent-up as well so he is a violent kid and his struggle is trying to contain that violence.
“So he is both the wilding and the violence at the end is a wilding.
“It is a gang mentality inside of those places and that’s part of the story that all the other boys start to gang up [against] the lead character’s boyfriend.”
While the mood throughout the film is hostile, Scicluna said it was ultimately a story where ‘love conquers all’.
“When I started thinking about a love story in that situation, it just became really potent because the love would be so easily attacked and I knew I just wanted to do a story where despite all that violence and darkness around the love, the love stands in the end,” he said.
Scicluna said winning the Audience Choice Award this year was a “good validation” of the end product.
“We loved that we won the Audience Choice as well because, at the end of the day, it is a film that people are moved by and it’s a really intense film.”
This isn’t the first time Scicluna has been acclaimed for his work, having received the nationwide Orlando Award last year for his previous short queer film, Neon Skin.
Scicluna is working on his first feature film which he said will loosely follow on from The Wilding.