A still from Ghoulish Galactic Grievances.

Sydney Underground Film Festival’s virtual evolution

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we view films, with streaming taking the place of movie theatres.

But while cinema chains have struggled one alternative film festival has taken to it like a duck to water.

The Sydney Underground Film Festival (SUFF), an annual selection of local, national and international short films is currently presenting a jam-packed online edition of the event.

Viewers who purchase the $40 full festival pass are granted access to over 100 short films in nine diverse categories that target everything from sexuality to demonic possessions.

The first category ‘Love/Sick’ is for 18 and over audiences only, and explores debauchery, depravity, desire and sexuality in every form. One of the films in the category is Karaoke Night, directed by Francisco Lacerda. This exhilarating Portugese short has a run time of just eight minutes and follows two sleazy tourists who have the night of their lives in an Azores karaoke bar.  

Karaoke night.

Short films in the ‘LSD factory’ category are psychedelic, and take the viewer on a figurative drug-induced high.

Ghoulish Galactic Greivances is one of the longer short films here, with a run time of 14 minutes. Directed by Josh Owen, this Canadian film follows the journey of a ghoul who travels from a friend-filled swamp to the far reaches of outer space.

Trailer for Ghoulish Galactic Greivances.

The ‘Ozploit’ category showcases the best independent Australian short films of 2020. The home-grown crime short Kapara, directed by Steve Hudson, has a 10-minute run time and tells the story of a female Aboriginal cop who has a date with the devil.


‘Reality bites #1’ and ‘Reality bites #2’ present various documentary shorts including cinema verite, essay films, animations and ob-docs. Sh!t Scared delves into the horror genre, assembling stories on hauntings, demonic possession and psychotic killers to scare the pants off viewers.

WTF ventures into disturbing, delirious and deranged subject matter, sure to leave the viewer asking just that. Late Night Cartoons provides an adults-only assortment of alternative animations perfect for fans of programs like Adult Swim. Lastly, ‘Pickles, Bombs and Borsch’ presents films which portray everyday life in modern Ukraine, a country facing political continuing upheaval.

The films will be judged by a jury panel consisting of Mu-Meson Archives’ underground cult legends Jay Katz and Miss Death, Junkee/Vice/The Guardian writer and critic Michael Sun and Karina Libbey, who is the program manager at the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.

Audiences can also vote online for their favourite short films for the SUFF Audience Choice Awards.

The films are only available to view before the festival ends this Sunday, so make sure to pop in to experience these otherworldly films before then.

With such a variety of different films on offer, there is something for everybody.