Short films by two Hobsons Bay filmmakers will screen at this month’s international Joy House Film Festival in Sydney.

Heart of a Lion, by Newport’s Tom Vogel, and Milk and Cookies, by Williamstown’s Matthew Macknamara, are among 13 films selected from 119 entries.

Vogel’s film juxtaposes the life of an Australian family with that of its sponsor child Mabowezi.

As the sponsor father is at a postbox sending a Brisbane Lions guernsey to Mabowezi, he’s informed by a clown that the circus is in town. The sponsor and his family are blissfully unaware of what Mabowezi endures each day, such as risking lions just to get a bucket of water. A painful awareness arises when the circus lion escapes and his children are mauled while returning from the shop with milk.

The film ends with Mabowezi, wearing his guernsey, kicking an empty milk carton instead of a football.

Vogel said the irony of the script appealed to him. “These kids are living in the suburbs. They’ve got it good and here’s their sponsor child, he’s living amongst the lions, but they’re the ones who get attacked by a lion in the end.”

Macknamara’s film, also vying for the accolade of best short film, follows the story of a doting father and husband who, after his wife dies, withdraws into a child’s world and believes Santa Claus is real.

He swears to his young children that Santa will come, only to cry himself to sleep on Christmas Eve, exhausted with grief. He awakes in horror, having forgotten to leave his children’s presents under the tree, only to find his daughter has saved Christmas.

“The inspiration just came one Christmas morning,” Macknamara said.

“I was thinking about what it’s like to be an adult grown-up not having the magic of believing in Santa and what it would be like for a grown person if they thought Santa was real.”

The Joy House festival highlights films that are positive and diverse. Prizes will be awarded for best short film, best diversity short film, best WITS (women in theatre and screen) and people’s choice.

The festival is at the Hoyts Mandarin Centre,Lio in Chatswood, Sydney, on September 11.