Arts & Entertainment

Flickerfest

Darren Gilshenan & Anna Bamford

By Mel Somerville.

Flickerfest, in its 27th year, is Australia’s largest and most respected short film festival, kicking off the summer cinema season under the stars at our iconic Bondi Beach. Sydneysiders are encouraged to bring themselves along to this fun event, enjoy a summer evening on the beach at the wonderful Pavilion with friends, and immerse themselves in these richly diverse miniature celluloid worlds.

“I like to say we’re short on size, big on story,” said Festival Director Bronwyn Kidd, “People can expect the best of the best in short films from Australia and across the globe.”

Flickerfest is about celebrating wonderful creative stories that come from the heart. They are unique, creative stories, each with a different perspective on the world. Unlike feature films that require a committee and someone to rubber stamp them and give them a big budget, these films are made out of a passion for storytelling. They’re immediate and fresh.

This year Flickerfest received around 2500 entries and have curated that down to 100 of the best, most innovative, provocative and hugely entertaining shorts for a big screen experience.

Over the 20 years Bronwyn Kidd has helmed the festival she has seen a huge evolution in the diversity of filmmakers telling their stories. There are now a lot more female directors, directors from Non-English speaking backgrounds, a lot of First Nation filmmakers and a lot more LGBTQI film makers.

“Flickerfest has become an Academy Qualifying festival which has upped our international profile. It’s quite prestigious to have that attached to Flickerfest. We’re a recognised pathway for discovering new talent. Our Australian Best Film, International Best, Best Documentary and Best Animation Awards are all qualified for the Oscars,” Kidd explained, “We are the only short film festival with Academy accreditation and BAFTA recognition.”

The Festival will be rolled out over ten days in Bondi, from January 12 to 21. The extensive program features two to three screenings each day of around 110 minutes and up to 10 films each.

A very exciting development this year celebrating the YES vote, is a Rainbow Shorts program of seven films on Saturday Jan 20 at 6:30pm, which is curated by Craig Boreham, an award-winning writer and director for his film, Teenage Kicks.

Alyssa McClelland, who acted in the 2013 Flickerfest trailer, has directed dark comedy Second Best which has been entered in this year’s competition. Second Best is about the power of identical twin sisters and the unbreakable bond that binds them, no matter what may come between. It’s one of five films to be shown at the Festival Opening Night Screening & Party on Friday January 12 and will then screen again on Saturday January 13 at 8:45pm.

“Short film is a foundation; it helps so many film makers build a career. It’s a great way to harness your skills for the longer form you’ll eventually move into. It’s a great tool to exercise your perspective and decide what stories you want to tell. Doing it in a shorter form, you don’t have the pressure of a feature film,” said McClelland.

After the ten days at Bondi Flickerfest pack up all the highlights from the festival and hit the road on a 51 venue national tour. The tour brings the films to audiences from Kununurra in Western Australia to Cygnet in Tasmania. Many towns in regional Australia which haven’t got a cinema but get the opportunity to put Flickerfest on in their local hall run by volunteers.

“It’s a much-anticipated event for them as we are spreading our short film love across the country,” said Kidd. “It has been a joy to see Flickerfest extend its reach as the home of great short film across the country, and watching audiences warmly embrace the inspiring art of short filmmaking.”

“Each year I remain continually passionate and excited about the incredible short films that come through and the incredible filmmakers that we get to showcase. Last year we premiered the film The Eleven O’Clock which won the AACTA Award for Best Short Fiction Film. I have the same high hopes for new Australian short film FYSH.”

FYSH is the story of an old man at the edge of life who has forgotten the feeling of joy and is directed by Billie Pleffer. FYSH can be seen on Sunday January 14 at 8:45pm, the fourth of seven programmes featuring the best of Australian short films.

FYSH and the festival trailer premiered at the festival launch at Bondi Icebergs Dining Room and Bar on December 4. The trailer is an Australian feature parody, with an 80s fish-out-of-water Croc Dundee descending on Bondi Beach. A reimagined Mick Dundee portrayed by comedy legend Darren Gilshenan has the lovely Anna Bamford by his side with Flickerfest Alumni Sheila Jayadev directing.

Programme highlights include The Best Of European Union Shorts showcasing moving and entertaining shorts drawn from the European Union countries, celebrating all things Euro; on Thursday January 18 at 6:30pm and Saturday January 20 at 4:30pm.

FlickerKids promises a delightful programme for the young and the young at heart; screening 11 movies on Tuesday January 16 at 2pm. Love Bites, screening Friday January 19 at 6:30pm, is a romp through the quirky world of modern relationships and perfect for date night; and finally Short Laughs, screening Friday January 19 at 8:45pm, takes you on a hilarious journey from the weird to the wonderful.

Alongside the competitive programmes, young filmmakers duke it out in SAE FlickerUp, a national schools and youth competition, which provides an exciting peek at the cinema stars of tomorrow!

Jan 12-21. Bondi Pavillion, Queen Elizabeth Dr, Bondi Beach. Various Prices. Tickets & Info: www.flickerfest.com.au

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