Flickerfest Festival Director Bronwyn Kidd On Uplifting Audiences With Short Film

Anna Rose loves hard rock and heavy metal, but particularly enjoys writing about and advocates for Aboriginal artists. She enjoys an ice-cold Diet Coke and is allergic to the word 'fabulous’.

With 194 beautifully crafted shorts (whittled down from a whopping 3,200 applications) the 2023 edition of Flickerfest, Australia’s premier short film festival, boasts yet another programme packed with promising talent and exhilarating features.

A selection committee of around 30 or 40 people – including Festival Director Bronwyn Kidd – here and across the world, have taken many months to cultivate this year’s programme, conscious of the responsibility to make sure the event is representative of a world view and screening shorts that are reflective of the world we live in now.

Check out programme highlights.

“It’s always really progressive,” says Bronwyn, “increasingly. I’m seeing a lot more films that deal with the idea of minority, a lot more voices represented on the screen that are not within that homogenised Hollywood world view that we’ve been fed in the mainstream.

“A lot more female directors coming through, a lot more voices from roots that have been marginalised and that’s what’s interesting to me.”

The Dress Flickerfest2023
'The Dress'

Continuing in the vein of focusing on marginalised groups, the Best Of Indigenous category returns once again this year. “We are growing – or have grown – an incredibly strong First Nations cinema in this country,” says Bronwyn. “People like [directors] Warwick Thornton and Rachel Perkins have kind of forged the way, but we’re seeing some fantastic new voices come through in a way that it’s great to have Flickerfest as a platform for this work.”

Among the films presented in this category in 2023 are ‘The Dress’ directed by Lliane Clarke, ‘Bunker: The Last Fleet’ directed by Rowan Pullen and Stephen Potter, ‘Wirnitj’ directed by Karla Hart, and many others.

“It’s important to have a platform that celebrates the contributions of our First Nations creators to our culture and all of Australia’s story,” Bronwyn adds.

Bunker Flickerfest 2023
'Bunker: The Last Fleet'

Flickerfest moves back to its original home of the Bondi Pavilion this year, and attendees can expect the same extravagant and well-crafted programme in the best of short film cinema as they have for the last three decades. “We don’t need to reinvent the wheel,” says Bronwyn, “I think our role is to present the best short films the world has to offer and that’s the joy in what we do, [and] having such a broad range of voices represented, – LGBT+, Rainbow Shorts, over 40 per cent female directors.”

“There are more films coming through from people with a living disability, just more voices represented.

“I think that’s exciting, and it’s been encouraged by proactive programming and awareness. Awareness that everyone should have a right to make a film, tell their story, be represented on the screen.

Flickerfest Wirnitj

“We want to see all sorts of different represented on the screen and Flickerfest really does represent that variation of voices, which is great.”

Events like Flickerfest certainly try to share the short film love, but what it also looks to achieve is offering a sense of uplifting through the films it presents. “There’s been so much doom and gloom and focus on the negative, but there’s also this whole positive side that I think the films represent,” says Bronwyn.

“They do represent resilience, and the fact that humans are incredibly adaptable. That’s something we’ve gone for in the programme, that idea you can come along, be uplifted, go on a journey, and really celebrate these incredible creative voices with some incredible short films.”

Flickerfest is on at Bondi Pavilion (Sydney) 20-29 January before embarking on a national tour from February to October.

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