About Fist Full of Films – FFoF – its history, the name, keywords and Galahs.  

Fist Full of Films is the Northern Territory’s homegrown short film competition and festival that began back in 1999. In 2010 we introduced Music Clips to the competition.

The FFoFFestival screens Territory made short films in all genres including drama, comedy, documentary, animation and digital media and music clips from NT musicians.  

Each year the festival’s short films and music clips represent a slice of the Territory’s issues, topical stories, cultures, lifestyle and evolving character.

FFoF is an avenue for NT filmmakers to have their work screened in public and provides the opportunity to receive recognition of their skills through a GALAH AWARD.  

We aim to strengthen bonds within the Northern Territory film community, and provide a platform for telling NT made screen stories, and to enhance awareness, accessibility and appreciation of film among a broad and diverse audience.

The short film and music clip competition GALAH AWARDS are a variety of cash and in-kind prizes and the winners also receive a GALAH AWARD statuette, that has a spooky resemblance to an Oscar, but with a Galah (the birds) head.  

Fist Full of Films is a Darwin Community Arts project.

FFF a short history in time …

Fist Full of Films began as an impulsive idea put forward by the Steering Committee of the Darwin Fringe Festival in 1999. A call went out and a keyword was issued as a quirky way to ensure the films were made for the Fringe.

The response in that first year ensured that there was no turning back. Despite having no funds and no concept of whether there would be any interest in the idea, the Fringe received enough films to present a program of Territory made short films. Films arrived on VHS video, even from Alice Springs. Clearly the NT had an underground filmmaking community who wanted their films seen.

Fist Full grew steadily, still as a project of the Darwin Fringe which was a program of Brown’s Mart Community Arts. It was clear by 2005 that Fist Full was becoming a film festival in its own right and had a bit more funding to employ someone part time, with the help of a Steering Committee, people who gave their time and skills, the ball kept rolling each year.

In 2009 FFoF celebrated its 10th anniversary with a retrospective of the best short films from a decade of entries, screening to a very full house at Deckchair Cinema. In 2010 we introduced music clips as part of the competition to give original NT music clips an audience and a chance for a Galah Award too. 2010 was a huge year with a 4 day film festival in Civic Park and lots of sessions to bring filmmakers together at Browns Mart, screening 74 NT made films to around 1000 people.

Since 2008 Darwin Community Arts has been Fist Full’s support system, but funding is fickle and each year we cannot predict if we will secure all the funds we need to put on a festival, by the skin of our teeth we have, making 2013 the 14th annual Fist Full of Films Festival.

We thank Territory filmmakers (over 600 of them) for entering their films and without them there would be no festival, so please keep on making films that tell Territory stories. Also we thank the people who have dedicated their time and skills to Fist Full over the years and the talented but poorly paid Project Officers who go far beyond their job description to make it happen every year.

The Keyword or Object

Keywords 1999 - 2013

They key word or object was introduced so that we could sort of guarantee films were made for the Fist Full competition, like most other short film festivals were doing. But we decided to make it optional so any short film made in the NT could enter the competition. So each year we have a Keyword as our theme and some filmmakers go to the extreme to use it and other just include the Keyword in some way. Then one of them wins the “Best Use of Keyword” GALAH AWARD.

Fist Full of Films – where did the name come from?

Back in ’99, when Fringe organisers met over a few drinks at the Ski Club, they had to settle on a name for this short film competition idea. The conversation turned to classic films with an outback feel. Somebody mentioned A Fist Full of Dollars. After a few more drinks Fist Full of Films was born. The name stuck.

A Fistful of Dollars was the 1964 cowboy flick directed by the legendary Italian Sergio Leone, and shot in Spain, starring Clint Eastwood. Its release in the USA triggered the Spaghetti Western genre, and inspired the making of For a Few Dollars More (’65) and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (’66), also starring Clint Eastwood. To the English language, it contributed the phrase, ‘fist full of …’ just about anything.

Collectively, the films are commonly known as The Dollars Trilogy, which is somewhat of a parody in itself, because few filmmakers ever have dollars in their pockets or purses, let alone their fists. We have grown to love the moniker as a film festival name and proudly regard it and our films, as being as unique as the Territory.

The Galah Awards Statuette

Galah Awards crop1

The “GALAH AWARD “statuette, is just like an Oscar only different,  presented to our category winners at Fist Full’s annual night-of-nights GALAH AWARDS ceremony after we screen the finalists films. The AWARD was conceived a few years after ’99 at another lubricated Fringe meeting. This time, the play on words was Galah, as in a Gala Event. The statuette usually resembles a bird, sometimes even a Galah. Local artists have been commissioned to make the statuette over the years, being – Colin Holt, Marita Albers, Jett Street, Winsome Jobling, Aly de Groot, Kate Riedel and the multi talented Al Oldfield who created the fabulous “GALAH” statuette we have used since 2011. Thanks to many small local businesses, who each year sponsor a category, we can give a cash or voucher prize along with a GALAH AWARD to our winning filmmakers.


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