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SA’s Monkeystack Selected for 2022 Unreal Engine Short Film Challenge!

06 July 2022
Monkeystack’s short film Hike, image supplied.

South Australian animation, experience and game studio Monkeystack’s short film Hike has been selected as one of the finalists across Australia and New Zealand for the second year of Epic Games’ SAFC-supported Unreal Engine Short Film Challenge.

The three-minute 3D animated story explores grief, sentimentality and growth in the wake of a tragedy. The short film focuses on the relationship between a mother and child, following the journey of a hiker taking the same trail that they did as a child with their mother to spread her ashes. On their journey, the hiker revisits memories, and finds catharsis and resolution in the act of taking their mother’s ashes to the peak at the end of the trail.

The story focuses on the interconnectedness of place and memory, and the bitter-sweetness of grief, recollection and ultimately healing through the passage of time after loss.

Co-founder and Director of Monkeystack, Justin Wight, says;

“We are thrilled to have Hike selected as the South Australian finalist for the Unreal Engine Short Film Challenge, and all the opportunities it presents.

“The Monkeystack team are eager to flex their creative abilities and demonstrate their capability in using the Unreal Engine for visual storytelling alongside the unique opportunity to nurture the talent of emerging director Alex Rodehiero-Smith.

“As active members of the creative industry, we are constantly seeking opportunities to grow the talent pool of artists in South Australia and to fill the gap between education and employment. The Unreal Engine Short Film Challenge grant has supported us in hiring two graduates of Flinders University as animators for this project and given Alex the rare opportunity to be involved as a creative lead with an experienced team”.

The studio has eight weeks to create their short film, which will then be reviewed by industry experts and showcased internationally.

Following the success of the inaugural Unreal Engine Short Film Challenge in 2020, with over 1,800 registrants, Epic Games expanded this year’s challenge to include applicants from New Zealand as well as Australia, and offered more free training resources.

The Unreal Engine Short Film Challenge is a partnership between Epic Games and Australian screen agencies the SAFC, VicScreen, Screen NSW, Screen Canberra, Screen Tasmania, Screenwest, Screen Queensland and the Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) to provide funding towards the production of animated short films that utilise Unreal Engine 5 software. Epic Games’ Unreal Engine is the world’s most open and advanced real-time 3D tool. Creators across games, film and television, architecture, automotive, manufacturing, live events, simulation and other industries choose Unreal to deliver cutting-edge content, interactive experiences, and immersive virtual worlds. Follow @UnrealEngine and download Unreal for free at

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