Australia’s premiere short film festival reveals its 2014 program, which comes packed with local talent.
Flickerfest has just unveiled its full festival program for their upcoming showcase in January 2014. Celebrating its 23rd year of celebrations, Bondi Beach will yet again host the likes of filmmakers and artists from 10-19 January as it showcases the 107 short films in official competition.
“I’m thrilled to present this year’s program once again, made up of some of the most breathtakingly, innovative and exciting short films and filmmakers the world has to offer,” festival director, Bronwyn Kidd, says of this year’s event. The prestige of the festival is evident via the impressive players comprising this year’s jury including Rachel Ward (Beautiful Kate), actress Maeve Dermody (Griff The Invisible), director Darren Dale (Blackfella Films), and creative director James Mullighan (Cork Film Festival Ireland), to name a few.
The only short film festival that’s Academy accredited, the festival also announced last year that the Australian competition category (in addition to the international category) was now Oscar accredited. It’s a timely endorsement for the festival, given that the selection of local talent looks stronger than ever in 2014, with works from Leo Baker, the animator behind Shaun Tan’s The Lost Thing, who makes his directorial debut with the live action short, Off Course; Nick Waterman’s Vote Yes, which pivots around the Australian referendum on Aboriginal rights in 1967 and stars The Sapphires’ Miranda Tapsell; and Danielle Boesenberg’s Scratch, which stars Claudia Karvan.
Also among the local highlights is Tango Underpants (pictured), which tells the story of a young Australian backpacker, Carolyn (Emma Booth, Underbelly: The Golden Mile, Clubland), who finds her groove when she travels to South America with the right underwear. “At lunch at the Cannes Film Festival 2012 writer John Collee [the screenwriter behind Happy Feet and Master & Commander] recounted a story he had just read about a backpacker and her sensible undies and we knew it would be great short film,” director, Miranda Edmonds, says of the short’s offbeat premise.
“We love that Flickerfest has championed us since our first short,” says Edmonds, speaking on behalf of her and co-director, Krob Edmonds. “Not only is the festival itself amazing but it will give all our supporters in Sydney an opportunity to see the film on the big screen. The most important thing about a festival is to be there. You never know what a festival might bring – that boils down to who you meet and click with at the event itself.”
Revealing the diversity in theme and content at the festival, another local highlight is writer/director Lucy Gaffy’s The Fence. Gaffy’s short unspools in 1992 at the Villawood Refugee Hostel as Cambodian refugee, Virak (played by Kenneth Moraleda), prepares to forge a new life in Australia, only to wake up in the changed Villawood Detention Centre.
An exploration of fatherhood and how choices past and present affects the lives of loved ones, an extensive casting call to the Sydney Cambodian community was made to ensure The Fence was as authentic as possible. Gaffy’s most recent film, The Love Story of Iskra Prufrock, screened at Cinema des Antipodes programme at the Cannes Festival in 2012.
“We submitted The Fence to Flickerfest because it is certainly one of the great domestic film festivals. It champions short films, always has great audiences and has the lure of Academy qualifying awards,” says Gaffy. “We feel so excited about screening at Flickerfest. Being that we made the film here in Sydney, it is an honour to have our domestic Premiere where we can share it with our tremendous crew and cast, most of whom were non-actors and refugees themselves.”
Gaffy wasn’t scared to attack the hot-topic issue of asylum seekers head on. “The Fence is a proof of concept piece for a feature film I have in development dealing with Australia’s relationship with immigration. It hasn’t always been as charged as it is now – for three decades the name Villawood was associated with a refugee hostel that was a place of inclusion and transition into Australian society. The word has a very different meaning for us today.”
Along with the strong local category, Flickerfest returns again with its international and documentary categories, as well as the environmentally focused GreenFlicks and FlickerUp, the category aimed at school students. New in 2014 and keeping with Flickerfest’s Blues Brothers musical theme is also the premiere of the showcase Flickerclip, an exciting array of the freshest and most creative video clips from around the world.
The popular workshop, Flickerlab, will also be returning and key director of the session this year will be writer/director David Michod, behind Animal Kingdom and the upcoming The Rover, but who refined his craft via a very impressive fistful of short films including Ezra White, LL.B, Crossbow and Netherland Dwarf. Other industry professionals sharing their wisdom and experience on the day will be writers, Michael Lucas (Not Suitable for Children, Offspring) and Louise Fox (Love My Way, Dead Europe).
Flickerfest screens from 10-19 January 2014 at Bondi Pavilion, before touring the country. Check out the full program and snap up your tickets. Get in the short film mood, and check out the trailers below:
Originally published on FilmInk Magazine online, December 17, 2013.