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BBFF – Post #4 – Young Australian Filmmakers

11 Mar

toombaworth lucie


I felt so incredibly honoured to be part of this program of young filmmakers with my very short short film ‘Glare’. I have been a little pessimistic of late about the future of the Australian film industry. After watching these shorts I am now incredibly excited. The direction, cinematography and writing was at an incredibly high standard, so high that it was quite astounding that every one of these directors were under the age of 25, one being only 17.

‘You Can Be Here’ was directed by Daniel Whelan. It is set in Byron Bay itself, where the director grew up. The film is about a young woman who is packing her bags to leave her hometown to move to London. It perfectly evokes that pre-trip panic, where suddenly the place you couldn’t wait to get away from seems like the most beautiful place the world could offer.

Nick Waterman’s ‘From Here’ is the tender story of a young man calling his dying grandmother to say goodbye. I have a lot of respect for someone who can make a film set in one room, with just one person on screen compelling and this film does that beautifully.

Jordan Wippell made ‘Rain Dog’ when he was in year 12, but you would never guess. There was a lot of things I liked about this new-noir film about boxing and redemption. Stylistically it looked brilliant, using silhouettes and cross-fades beautifully. Jordan told me later that he’d shot it on a handycam, but he must be a After Effects genius becouse you would never have known it. I also loved the way this story unfolded. Starting out as a typical redemption story, but avoiding a moralistic ending in a way that was unexpected and honest.

‘Hummingbirds’ directed by Hayley McFarlene is the story of best friends and escape. It reminded so much of one of my favourite books: ‘My Summer of Love’. I love stories about the intensity of young female friendships and this one did it well, particularly in it’s jump from the girls as children and then as teenagers. I could really see this evolving into a feature film and I hope that’s what Hayley has in mind.

The winner of Byron Bay’s Young Australian Filmmaker was Lucie McKendrick with ‘Toombaworth’ (pictured), and she definately deserved it. In her own words: “Toombaworth tells the story of Tayla, her mate Maggie and the drugs and society that rob them of a childhood”. Cole Dorothy’s acting is impeccable in this film, along with all her co-stars. One of the reasons I think the film works so well is because it was written by a person not much older than her protagonists and their voices feel authentic. Even though these young women find themselves in pretty dire circumstances, we see both the light and the dark of there lives and McKendrick allows their humour to shine through.

This truly was a brilliant night of shorts and I am looking forward to seeing what comes next for all of these incredible filmmakers.


BBFF – Post #3 – Electrick Children

9 Mar


Still undecided about this one. I think perhaps the trailer is better than the film.

BBFF – Post #2 – Little Scout We Are Walking Out, Monk: Reloaded, Boxer, Aquadettes

8 Mar

boxer james finlay

Watched some exceptional shorts in session #24 today! My absolute stand out favourite though was Boxer by 22 year old James Finlay. This four minute film depicts a young female boxer who, wary of her tough facade, dances with her punching bag rather than hitting it. The films simplicity was so refreshing. I felt like I could feel the texture of the bag by the way her hand softly slides along it. The editing was impeccable, the film begins with flashes of a harsh black and white workout and turns into a warm sunlit slow experience. I hope this goes up on vimeo or comes to Melbourne sometime soon so I can see it again!

All the films were about physicality and movement. I find myself drawn to these themes in short filmmaking too, in fact my first ever short film had a dance sequence in the middle of it for no real reason at all (needless to stay that film has never left my laptop). ‘Little Scout – We Are Walking Out’, was a brilliantly shot film about a ballet dancer who dances in the woods as the sun goes down. ‘Monk: Reloaded’ also used dance, but within a light installation that responds to the movement of the dancer. Both of these films show the dancer getting more and more confident as they let themselves go to physicallity. In a time when things often feel over-thought, watching this physical release is a great experience.

‘Aquadette’ felt very different to the rest. It is a documentary about a seniors synchronised swimming group. It focuses on one of the swimmers who suffers from MS and her battle to not just keep living but have quality of life as her health is deteriarating. I loved this and felt moved by her grace, humour and determination. The film is part of the ‘California is a Place’ series, check them out here.


BBFF – Post #1 – Parrot, A Different Perspective, The Story Of Luke

8 Mar

BBFF 2013


I have the pleasure of my short film ‘Glare’ being included in The Byron Bay International Film Festival. I arrived here yesterday, and I have to say, I never want to leave! It’s such a relaxed and friendly atmosphere all around Byron, I already made two friends on the shuttle from the airport!

So I got in yesterday just in time to catch session #23. The session started with 20 minute short film ‘Parrot’ which was presented by Director Craig Foster and Producer Emma McKenna, then a 1m30 animation ‘A Different Perspective’, and finished with feature film ‘The Story of Luke’.


a different perspective animation


I really enjoyed this session. It had the subtle theme of acceptance of people who are different. ‘Parrot’ was an interesting take on a coming of age film. In fact it almost was like a coming out film, accept the protagonist is not coming out as gay but rather as an atheist to his deeply religious parents. It was a great long short, and I have a feeling it won’t be long until we see a feature from this team.

‘A Different Perspective’ was a truly great little animation. A very simple idea of an alien planet where the perspective (as in background, middleground and foreground) is very different to ours on earth, was both beautiful and quite hilarious. And was such a cute little metaphor for accepting difference. I wish the director, Chris O’Hara, was here; it would have been really great to meet him!

‘The Story of Luke’ took me a little while to get into. The story focuses on Luke, a young man with autism, who after his sheltering grandmother dies he is thrust very suddenly into the world. At first I was a little frustrated by Lou Taylor Pucci’s portrayal of autism, it felt like a strange impersonation of Johnny Depp in ‘Charlie and The Chocolate Factory’. But as the film continued it really did start to grow on you, and he became more and more convincing. As Luke goes on his quest to get a job and a ‘screw’ the film really turns into something wonderful. The character, all very flawed, were well drawn without being overdone. This was one of those sweet, quiet films that makes you sad when it ends because you really wouldn’t mind sitting with those characters for another few hours.


20 Dec


Here is my second ever music video ‘Possessed’ for Circular Keys. Was such a great experience and on the whole it turned out like I saw in my head- a rare thing! Now it’s finished I have no excuse for not writing more film reviews!


6 Nov

This is a video I made for my pal Phoebe. It’s been a long time in the making!


6 Sep


To give the most accurate account of how I felt about this movie I would be better writing nothing, and just drawing a picture of a really sad face. That would best sum up my reaction to this film. ‘Bully’ made me sad the whole next day after watching it too. I had to have a bit of distance from the film before I could really analyse it. But it’s been a week now, so I’m ready. The thing about this film is when you take away all the horrifically sad awful parts of it there isn’t that much left. All the film seems to be trying to say is that schools do not take enough responsibility for bullying, and that they should, because it can have such absolutely devastating repurcusions. But is that really enough? I felt like perhaps while the film was so busy pulling on our heartstrings it forget to take a step back and look a bit deeper. There is never once an interview with a bully, about their lives and why they behave so cruelly to other students. The teachers that they do depict seem to be so desperately trying to avoid taking responsibility that we never get much honesty from that perspective.

I was ready to write a negative review of this film until I talked to a few friends about it. ‘It’s just kids’ Most of them said ‘Everyone is bullied. It’s no big deal.’ If this is the general consciences, then perhaps the simplicity of this films message is absolutely relevent. Because if something is leading to children as young as eleven committing suicide than there is something very very wrong and it is absolutely a big deal. And so if that this film proves, and it gets people talking, then it is more than worthwhile.