With 194 beautifully crafted shorts (whittled down from a whopping 3,200 applications) the 2023 edition of Flickerfest, Australia’s premier short film festival, boasted 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, took 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.
“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.”
Throughout March, Queensland film-lovers can catch Flickerfest in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Nambour and Noosa among other places during the festival's national tour.
A highlight of the films showing throughout the Queensland dates is 'Katele' (Mudskipper), a story of what it means to long for home, which had its world premiere at Flickerfest and took out the Academy-qualifying Panasonic Lumix Award for Best Australian Short Film at the festival's recent awards.
'Katele', which impressed the Flickerfest jury for its mixture of humour, poignancy and intimate reflection of First Nations culture is shot on both Saibai Island and in Brisbane and involves a largely Queensland cast and crew.
“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.
Award-winning Queensland writer/director John Harvey's film tells the story of a Torres Strait Islander woman working at her job in a laundromat when a mysterious visitor arrives, who reminds her of the life she has left behind. The film was written by Harvey alongside his uncle, culture man, storyteller and teacher Walter Waia, part of the Ait Koedal clan of Saibai Island in the Torres Strait and produced by Gillian Moody.
Flickerfest moved back to its original home of the Bondi Pavilion this year, presenting 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.”
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 hits Palace Cinemas James Street (Brisbane) 2 March, HOTA Gold Coast 9 March, Majestic Cinemas (Nambour) 17-18 March, and The J (Noosa) 30 March.