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May 22, 2024

The long history of shorts

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Flickerfest-2016-Launch---Bronwyn-Kidd_A000075-Edit-Edit_ppAfter kicking off at Bondi Pavilion to record crowds, Flickerfest starts its national tour in Mullumbimby. The Echo spoke with festival director Bronwynn Kidd about the event she has headed up for two decades.

What are the films that you are most excited about this year?

Once again we had more than 2,500 entries received for our 2017 festival and have distilled this down to around 122 films in competition, of which just more than 40 festival highlights will screen in Byron, so I’m very excited about the quality, creativity and inspiration of all the films we are screening in Mullumbimby. I have lots of favourites but really enjoyed The Eleven O’Clock, a great comedy in the Australian program, and the delightful Spice Sisters starring local comedian Sandy Ghandi. I was also really moved by Nocturne In Black, set in a village occupied by ISIS in Syria, and there are also some very impressive shorts in the Byron All Shorts competition.

What film did you find the most surprising?

I really loved the Spanish film Timecode, which is shortlisted for an Oscar and was also at Cannes. It’s a great original idea and a beautiful, whimsical and very heartfelt story that took me on a journey I was not expecting at all. I would highly recommend it.

In your many years with the event did you ever expect it to evolve to the size it is now? How have you facilitated the growth?

This year I will have been with Flickerfest 20 years and it’s certainly grown way beyond my expectations with our 50+ venue national tour and ten-day Sydney event. We have tried to focus always on the quality of the shorts programmed and presenting audiences with the best of  storytelling from at home and across the world, so I believe that has helped us to grow audiences and see them returning year after year to enjoy the films on offer.

Broadening our platforms for short films outside of the festival through our new partnership this year with Flickerfest shorts on ABC Iview and our ongoing partnership with Virgin Australia Inflight also promotes the festival to a broader audience outside of the festival environment.

Why do you think it’s important to take short films to regional centres?

Sharing our short film programs outside of the cities is a really fulfilling and inspiring part of what we do because many of our regional audiences often don’t have access to the quality short film programs or independent cinema films that are not the usual Hollywood formula.

It’s important to us to share this truly entertaining and inspiring shorts and connect audiences with great cinema wherever they may be!

What is the appetite for short films these days? Has the access to view on demand and a consumer-driven mode of delivery changed who comes out to see short films?

With the growth of our tour venues and audiences in recent years we think the appetite for short films is certainly proving very strong! New partnership across on demand such as  ABC Iview has certainly not diminished our audiences but, I believe, made audiences realise the entertainment value of shorts which, in turn, encourages them to attend festivals such as Flickerfest.

What is the most important aspect of storytelling in a short?

Definitely a great original idea and a well written script are the most important basis from which to begin a filmmaking journey. If you start with great elements and bring together the other aspects of filmcraft such as great performances, cinematography and sound you then create the magic of cinema.

What about cinematography… what is a definite NO for you in the culling process?

There are many elements alongside bad cinematography that aren’t appealing for us… poor script, wooden performances and too much violence are also a turn-off and we are also not looking for Hollywood remakes. Being Academy accredited and BAFTA recognised means we get a huge volume of entries so we can choose the best of the best.

What about the culling? More than 2,000 films… how do you do that?

The selection process takes many, many months of hard work and a volunteer preselection committee of more than 40 people who help to cull the mass of shorts. A small programming team then select the final competitive and showcase films across our Australian, International Documentary, Greenflicks competitions and showcase programs so it’s a huge process of consideration over many, many months and this great content is the heart and soul of what Flickerfest is about.

What should we be expecting for the Byron/ Mullumbimby event?

As Mullumbimby is our hometown I’m always really excited to be presenting these very exciting, entertaining and inspiring short films handpicked for local audiences at our local tour event. Our Mullumbimby Flickerfest is both a celebration of film and a great community networking event where people who love films and great stories can come together over the weekend and enjoy inspiring films from the northern rivers, across Australia and the world, encouraging both discussion and connection. I’m really looking forward to it!

Friday till Sunday at the Mullum Civic Hall, 27–29 January.

www.flickerfest.com.au

 


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