Celebrating its 31st year, Australia’s first short-film festival has some new events up its sleeve, while still showing Australia’s most exciting emerging filmmakers.

Festival director Paul Harris is enthusiastic about the festival’s partnership with California’s Palm Springs International Film Festival, an internationally recognised event known for screening flicks that go on to be Oscar nominees. Palm Springs Film Festival director Darryl Macdonald will be a special guest again this year and the St Kilda Film Festival will screen a specially curated program of films from Palm Springs.

The festival features a diverse range of shorts, such as The Video Dating Tape of Desmondo Ray, Aged 33 & ¾ made by AFI and Tropfest winner Steve Baker. Nerds in Love stars unexpected duo Australian comedian Lawrence Leung and Australian Idol winner Stan Walker. Tim Winton's 'Landscapes’ is a documentary starring the Australian author.

Harris says the festival gives emerging talent a platform on which to flourish. “The first year I ran the festival, the top film was Blood Lock made by [brothers] Nash and Joel Edgerton. Joel is now big in Hollywood with films like Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby and more, and that all began with St Kilda. If you’re an aspiring filmmaker you learn your skills making short films. You make mistakes, you develop your skills, and then eventually, you can make it into a career.”

One of the most anticipated events this year is Australia’s first Zombiethon, a four-hour marathon of films featuring trailers from old movies dating back to the 1930s to present day. There are also short films and music videos featuring the undead, as well as a zombie costume competition.

St Kilda Film Festival will once again host SoundKILDA, a competition between the best music videos made by Australian filmmakers. This year there’ll be clips for artists Vance Joy, Big Scary, The Paper Kites and Kate Miller-Heidke.

Harris says, “The secret to making short films is not learning how to make films on a technical level, it’s how to tell stories on a more emotional level. You inspire, you confound, you confront the audience, otherwise it’s just wallpaper.”

The St Kilda Short Film Festival will run from May 22 to 31 at various locations. For tickets and the full program, click here.