Filmmakers dream of seeing their films screened in OMG-I-CAN’T-BELIEVE-I’M-HERE settings. And settings don’t get much cooler than Flickerfest.
Situated smack-bang on the Bondi Beach in the middle of the Australian Summer, Flickerfest really offers up that dreamy Summer in Oz vibe. Particularly for us Europeans in the middle of rainy January. The Academy-qualifying festival has gone from strength to strength in the last years and with their Late Deadline upcoming on September 30th, we felt it was high-time to have a chat with them and find out more. Particularly as this year marks their 25th Anniversary.
Catching up with their Festival Director Bronwyn Kidd, we found out more about their Anniversary edition, trends in Australian filmmaking and why Flickerfest has an unmistakably unique vibe – quick disclaimer: grab your surfboard …
Andrew Wilkin, FilmFestivalLife: Is there anything new filmmakers should know this year about Flickerfest?
Bronwyn Kidd: First of all, we have our 25 years best of, which we’ll mark with a retrospective of some remarkable filmmakers that have screened at Flickerfest through over the years. Expect lots of surprises!
Away from that, our Documentary award became Academy-accredited. So, get submitting your documentaries! We have a limited amount of programs we can fit across our ten days for international shorts. As always, we have five competitions for international shorts. We have our comedy showcase – we’re always looking for fabulous comedies – and Greenflicks, our environmental shorts showcase. There’s also Flickerkids, for 6-12 years old children. So, even if you don’t make our final competition lineup, we’re also on the lookout for our other sections too.
Do you see any trends in short filmmaking?
The whole digital age has been a massive trend. The fact that you can make films with much smaller crews has made a huge difference.
In the last few years, stories about refugees, displacement, social inequality, enviromental issues and the global financial crisis have come to the fore. That’s what happens in short filmmaking though – contemporary issues really do become prominent. After all, they reflect what is happening to emerging filmmakers across the world and thus they document it. Filmmakers want to tell these stories about what’s happening to their communities across the world and they end up making true stories that really resonate with the audience.
And any trends in Australian filmmaking?
There’s been a real growth in indigenous filmmaking. And I mean from real communities, not just from indigenous filmmakers coming to the city and studying at reputable film schools. Take this one for instance. Bush Mechanics won our Best Australian Animation Award this year and it came from a place called Yuendumu – a town 5 hours from Alice Springs in centre of Australia. It marked a beautiful collaboration from a community – who created a traditional story in a language we never see on screens, in the middle of nowhere, where films aren’t usually made.
What gets a film selected for Flickerfest?
A touch of serendipity of course! Otherwise, a creative use of visual technique. Authentic, interesting, compelling performances. But at the end of the day – a great script and a great story, one you’re telling because YOU are passionate about it. That always shines through.
What’s crucial is that you made the film because you are so passionate about it. You aren’t making a film for a festival or trying to be like Quentin Tarantino. Also, engage your audience.
It really is crucial to grab peoples attention immediately with a short. What shocks me is how some short filmmakers start with three minutes of ‘whats going on here’ or a pointless prelude – people might even walk out before you’ve got to the main plot…
Why should filmmakers submit to Flickerfest?
We really are all about championing short film as an art form, discovering new talent and sharing great films with Australian audiences. I know other festivals look to us – so screening at Flickerfest can mean a journey onto other festivals too. We have four Academy Awards accredited sections and we’re BAFTA recognised. It’s a great sign that we have strong programming.
What can filmmakers expect when they attend?
Undeniably a unique vibe. Expect some great parties, at a fantastic festival right on Bondi Beach – in the middle of Summer. We have outdoor screenings and a laid back vibe. People turn up with surfboards and park them by the bar. You can even have a swim before your screening.
We’ll also offer four days accommodation, look after some meals and cover your connection from airport. Expect free drinks at the Flickerfest bar too!
In an age of VOD/online, why are physical film festivals still important?
Well, first of all – someone has gone to the trouble to do all the curation for you. It’s still difficult to engage with films in your living room, you really have to experience films on the big screen and in an audience – there’s nothing more magical.
This is why we aren’t all the time at home watching TV. It’s still the best way to watch cinema. Furthermore, you’ll meet like-minded individuals and get opportunity to have personal interaction with your audience. It’s all about getting audiences to connect with your film, and vice-versa, and setting up an environment that celebrates that engagement.
Why should filmmakers submit via FilmFestivalLife?
FFL is a great platform and offers a great viewing experience for festival selectors. It’s an easy, efficient way to select films. For filmmakers, it is the platform that makes sure your film has been viewed in the right light.
Bronwyn Kidd, Festival Director
Flickerfest International Short Film Festival
8 Jan – 17 Jan, 2015
Submit to Flickerfest on FilmFestivalLife
Late Deadline: Sep 30, 2015
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