Arts & Entertainment

Flickerfest Festival to screen over 200 films despite industry’s hardest year

Flickerfest's 2022 trailer gives ode to Baz Luhrman’s iconic, The Great Gatsby.

BY LUCINDA GARBUTT-YOUNG

Bondi Beach’s annual short film festival, Flickerfest, will ring in its 31st year with over 200 works. 

This year’s event will run from Friday, January 21 until Sunday, January 30, 2022. 

Beginning as a local event in 1991, Flickerfest is now a popular debut festival for Australian and international films alike. It’s seen Oscar and BAFTA winning artists begin their careers, and is an Academy Award qualifying festival. 

For Flickerfest Director Bronwyn Kidd, the event is about providing a platform for emerging short film makers, while giving audiences a great experience. 

“I think being a dedicated short film festival, we really allow a platform for celebrating the form of short film, which… is an art form that is unique. There’s a real skill to being able to make a great short film,” Kidd said. “I really hope people come along and are astounded by the incredible talent and incredible storytelling… there’s so many short films here that I love and I’m so excited to share them with audiences.”

With over 3,200 entries this year, the Flickerfest team worked to curate a program that showcases high calibre work from around the globe while also encouraging young artists. 

“Being able to celebrate the next generation of filmmakers is critical for the growth of our industry,” Kidd explained. 

DIVERSE FILM SELECTION

The program is divided broadly into international and Australian screenings, with a focus on both skill and diversity. This year’s festival features 47% female directors, a range of LGBTQI works and a mix of professional and emerging film makers.

There’s also a dedicated Indigenous Spotlight, screening in honour of Survival Day on Wednesday, January 26 at 6:30pm.

“We’re in Australia, it’s important to celebrate our culture. We’ve got eight Indigenous short films in the mix,” Kidd said.  “I hope that within the Australian program that we’re sharing with our audiences, we’re allowing a diverse range of voices to come through. We are a platform for those voices and for encouraging our own stories on the screen.” 

One such story is The Home Team, a bizarre and beautiful pilot that explores cult behaviour. The short film features a romantic plumber and his wife who have been part of a suicide space cult for over 20 years. As the only remaining members, they’re celibate, wearing capes, and trying to recruit new members.  

Creator Luke Cartwright, a graduate of AFTRS, explained that the idea began when we read about survivors of a cult in Southern California known as Heaven’s Gate. 

“I just began to imagine what their life would be like now,” he said. 

Cartwright said he was driven by finding tension between characters which would translate on screen. 

“What I was really doing was thinking of these characters and creating a circumstance and qualities and desires in all the characters that would sort of clash, yet keep them together,” he said. “Glenn and Glenn Rose, the main characters, are a couple, in love with each other, yet they’re thwarting each other from getting what they want.” 

“There are forces that keep the situation and therefore the series in an orbit,” Cartwright said. “Writing is kind of counterintuitive… you want your characters to hit every point of resistance upon the way.” 

It’s the experimental works like Cartwright’s which, according to Kidd, are what Flickerfest is all about. 

“The really great thing about short films is that they’re free of commercial concerns, so it’s not about box office, it’s not about who’s in it, who’s famous… it is very much about that creative voice and about passion and about telling a story that is fresh and contemporary,” she explained.

AUTHENTICITY IN CINEMA 

Filmmaker Frazer Bull-Clark’s work Set Times explores authenticity through the mode of short film. 

When co-writing on musician life in the Inner West, he explored characters and setting intimately. 

“It was really important to me that it felt genuine,” he explained. “I like the idea of including a mixture of actors and non-actors.” 

Bull-Clark also felt his lead actor needed to be a musician. 

“The music show that you see in the film is an actual gig that Freya [the lead actor]’s band performed that we shot documentary style. I’m a fan of films that move between those different modes of fiction and documentary and there’s a bit of slippage between them.” 

To ensure the safety of audiences Flickerfest will monitor the changing environment around COVID-19 closely, including requiring full vaccination status for those over 16 years of age. Much of the event will take place outdoors, with indoor capacity limited to 75%, which Kidd said she hopes will give audiences confidence to “come along and really enjoy these incredible stories.”

Tickets for this year’s Flickerfest can be purchased at www.flickerfest.com.au

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