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Winner Winner Chicken Dinner! Optus Announces Connect 5 Champs

Opening scene: three young Australians stare down the barrel of the lens, determination painted on their face, victory burning in their eyes. Having just come away with two $5000 prizes for their creative short films, the trio now head into an even larger challenge, with their camera in hand.

Person one: “Are you both ready for this?”
Person two nods
Person three smiles coyly at his companion: “Yea, I guess you could say I’m ready for some …action!”

Roll credits

Thank you, I’m ready for my Oscar now. Source

It’s easy to see why SOME people (ahem – me) didn’t do very well in Optus‘ massive short film competition, Connect5. But, it’s even easier to see from the winning films why young filmmakers Jason van Genderen and siblings Luci and Jacob Trevaskis wowed viewers with their powerful work.

Life in Boxes by Jason van Genderen was shot with a mixture of webcams and smartphones and is entirely unscripted. It shows the genuine reactions of Jason’s friends as they open an envelope with a startling diagram of a 90-year-old life broken down into weeks. This film places the audience in a position of profound intimacy, creating an overall startling clip.

Discussing his film, Jason says that

Optus really raised the bar with this creative opportunity. There are thousands of talented creatives all around Australia who have the tools and ideas to make content but lack a platform to spur them into action. At a time when funding for the arts is being scaled back, brands like Optus are filling an immense need.”

Dark Matter has a much darker subject matter, dealing with mental health – specifically depression. This is a disorder that affects countless Australian’s every year and especially hits home for the younger demographic, making this film not only moving, but incredibly relatable. The film stars Luci Trevakis, a teenager going about her normal life, who is always followed by a sinister presence; a constant reminder of her battles with depression and thoughts of self harm.

This editing in this film has the feel of classic horror flicks, and does a good job of creating tension and that edge-of-your-seat creepiness. Created by siblings Jacob and Luci Trevakis, Jacob said,

“Luci originally came up with the concept to combine horror film editing with the topic of depression; something we feel deserves to be spoken more about, for a school thesis she was working on. Both of us filmed and acted, with Luci also taking the role of make up artist and editing the film at school. Until now we hadn’t had the platform to share it so OptusConnect5 competition has given us a huge opportunity and we’re really excited to be heading to the regional finals.”

So, after having won Connect5 and received two USD$5000 prizes, the trio’s work will now go up against 5-minute videos from other finalists from Africa, India, Thailand, Philippines, Singapore and Indonesia, where they will compete for a chance to win USD$30,000: a number my brain can’t even begin to process. That’s like a lifetime of coffees! Even more so if you consider how much your life would be shortened by that much caffeine.


If you entered and didn’t win, don’t feel disheartened: Connect5 judge and founder of Emotive, Simon Joyce, said that the caliber of entries was incredibly high.

“[This] really highlights how the boundaries to filmmaking are being broken down; we now all have the ability to shoot great films with the devices in our pocket, making it accessible to everyone,” Joyce explained.

For now, keep filming whenever you get the chance and keep working on your masterpiece – there’s always next year!

Sponsored by Optus