Key Points:

Where & When

: Will screen at the Academy Cinema, Auckland from November 6-12 before heading to Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Motueka.

Tonight:

Advertisement

The opening night screening features films from two finalists in each category screened before the announcement of the winner.

They may be short in duration, but many of the films in this year's Show Me Shorts Festival go to some very strange lengths.

"They play with your mind a little bit," says festival director Gemma Dellabarca about some of the 41 New Zealand and Australian short films on offer.

The transtasman competitive festival is in its third year and allows film-makers to compete for various prizes and show their work to a wide audience. This year's programme divides the films into the categories True Story, Once Upon a Time, Spine Chiller, Crack Me Up, and Mixed Bag.

And it's the Mad Scientists category that is giving the festival its weirdest stuff.

One such scientist is the hapless boffin in Paul Campion's Eel Girl, who is studying a half-human, half-eel hybrid he has created.

Created in a secret laboratory, the creature soon becomes an obsession for the scientist.

In the same category, Caleci: A Rural Conspiracy documents the events surrounding the illegal introduction of the rabbit-killing calicivirus into Central Otago.

Advertisement

Its cast of hardy rural folk recreate the events surrounding the clandestine operation, right down to the pulverising of rabbit kidneys in a kitchen blender.

Last year's winner Phil Simmons is back with animated documentary Noise Control, which tells of a strange-but-true incident on the Kapiti Coast last year involving a kindergarten's pet rooster shot by noise control.

Only the chook didn't die immediately but waited until the kindy kids turned up the next day to breathe its last in front of them.

Dellabarca says those who enjoy black comedy will like darker films like Lance McMinn's The Rapists.

Set in Nazi Germany, the film depicts two German soldiers who are repulsed by the actions of the rest of their squad. Filmed with a low budget and set in a single room, The Rapists is a study in dark tension.

Dellabarca says she tried to choose films with high production values.

"We don't want to scare people away by showing them anything that's too home-made looking."

However, ingenuity in low-budget film-making is prized.

"With the short films it's more about having a really cool concept, so if you have got a really good story then there are often ways it can be told that aren't as expensive as in a feature film."