Matt Vesely’s award winning short film My Best Friend is Stuck on the Ceiling is returning to Adelaide after an 18 month tour as part of Flickerfest, while his own star continues to rise.
The Adelaide-raised writer and director is a busy man. Despite the amount of work he has produced finding its way to film festivals and television, he still regards himself as an emerging filmmaker.
Vesely’s latest short film, My Best Friend is Stuck on the Ceiling, is set to play at the Mercury Cinema on April 1 as part of short film festival Flickerfest. An Academy Award accredited and BAFTA-recognised short film festival held and judged in Bondi Beach, Flickerfest has for 26 years featured short films by a host of talented Australian filmmakers. My Best Friend is Stuck on the Ceiling is one of only nine Australian short films selected to be screened as part of the festival this year as it tours to 50 venues around the country.
The short film has been playing the festival circuit since the 2015 Adelaide Film festival, winning best screenplay and best comedy at last year’s South Australian Screen Awards and being nominated for a prestigious Dendy Award at the 2016 Sydney Film Festival.
Rather than the 18 month tour of the film being a creative drain, Vesely sees it as being a highly positive phenomenon. “You spend so long on it,” he says, “so if it goes for ten minutes and you have one or two screenings, it’s a whirlwind and it disappears, so it’s really nice to be able to screen it a bunch of times.”
My Best Friend is Stuck on the Ceiling has even made the international circuit. In 2016 the short film played at the Palm Springs International Film Festival in Los Angeles, and while being a highly positive event for Vesely, he states that “even the smallest taste of the LA world, you realise, ‘I have no idea.’”
Vesely describes his short as a “romantic comedy with a science fiction twist,” and this quick description encapsulates his own artistic passions. “I’m very interested in smaller, character-driven stories because they speak more naturally to me as a person,” he says, “but I can’t avoid but have a little bit of a twist.” This science fiction twist comes from his interest in the genre, and the ways in which fantasy and sci-fi explore human nature.
Tom Ward stars in Vesely’s My Best Friend is Stuck on the Ceiling (Photo: Mark Alcorn)
Comedy is distinct in Vesely’s work too. Performing stand-up for several years has allowed him to forge strong ties with the Adelaide comedy scene; ties that are very much reflected in his work. “It’s been really helpful meeting and working with a lot of comedians cloand getting a better understanding of how comedy works and how performance in that world works,” he says.
This is evident in the casting of stand-up comedians Thomas Ward and Nick Nemeroff in My Best Friend is Stuck on the Ceiling, rather than selecting cast members from a more traditional acting background. “They have an interesting outlook, and you can find a very unique performance from them when they come from that world. Even though people will perform caricaturised versions of themselves, it’s still often a very personal experience.”
In the case of Canadian comedian Nick Nemeroff, Vesely allowed much of his dialogue to be improvised. “We just kind of let him do his own thing,” says Vesely.
Despite My Best Friend is Stuck on the Ceiling still screening as part of Flickerfest, Vesely is working on a number of projects. The upcoming ABC iView series Fucking Adelaide, a six-part comedy drama from Closer Productions about a family living in suburban Adelaide, features an episode penned by Vesely.
Previously titled Home, Vesely is pleased with the name change of the series. “It’s very exciting that we were able to do a show called Fucking Adelaide,” he says. “I remember they came into the office and said ‘by the way it’s called Fucking Adelaide now.’ For me, it wasn’t a moment of ‘are you insane?’, but rather I thought, ‘this is perfect.’” The series is currently in the editing stage after being shot last December, and is set to be released sometime later this year on iView.
In addition to being a part of Fucking Adelaide, Matt is currently working as a junior writer in Melbourne on The Weekly With Charlie Pickering. When he makes his return to Adelaide later in the year, he hinted that he was in the preliminary stages of creating a feature length science fiction film with Closer Productions. With a short film like My Best Friend is Stuck on the Ceiling, and a love for high concept science fiction films like Blade Runner and Alien, Vesely need only look to the stars for his next destination.
My Best Friend is Stuck on the Ceiling will be screening as part of the Flickerfest at the Mercury Cinema on Saturday, April 1 at 8:30pm
6pm (Best of International Shorts 2017), 8:30pm (Best of Australian Shorts 2017) Saturday, April 1