When:Friday 15 September, 2017
Cost:$15 presales and $20 at the door
Tuggeranong Arts Centre is delighted to be partnering with the Canberra Short Film Festival for the second year running, and invite you to join us on Friday 15th of September for a night of short films and live music.
As well as showcasing films from each of the 9 categories, the night will feature a Q&A session with budding local film maker Vanessa Gazy.
Vanessa is a young up and coming filmmaker who has had films at Sundance and BAFTA and was recently selected for the Endemol Shine Australia’s screenwriting initiative Smart for a Girl: ROAR, which will see her working with the producer of Offspring, Imogen Banks, to develop new television projects with a view to getting them into production.
Vanessa’s short film Highway will also screen on the night.
To get you inspired, here is a Q&A with Vanessa about her budding career as a film maker.
How long have you been making films and what made you start?
I’m not one of those people who can claim I was shooting artistic Super 8 films at the age of six – I actually got started rather late, after I graduated from university. I had developed a strong love and admiration of arthouse film during my university years, but the idea of becoming a director seemed as far out of reach in my mind as declaring that I wanted to become an astronaut. But after moving to Paris and doing an internship at a little production company, and subsequently directing my first short film, I realised that the dream was coming within my reach. On set directing for the first time, I felt at home and happy– that lovely feeling of something feeling profoundly right. It was a relief. That was 2011. I have been plodding away ever since!
What was the inspiration behind ‘Highway’?
As a child, on long car trips with my family, I used to look out my window at night and feel in the way that children do a deep, fearful sense of the mysterious unknown beyond the seemingly tenuous safety of the car. I suppose HIGHWAY partially stems from this feeling – and from claustrophobic family car trips with my younger brothers being carsick in the back seat. David Lynch, Jane Campion, and Peter Weir are all directors who have a deep sense of place and mystery, and they all in various ways have inspired me with this film.
Your work often incorporates the Australian landscape, and that of Canberra and the region. What draws you to it?
I’m enamoured of the Australian bush, particularly the alpine and semi-alpine regions around Canberra, where both HIGHWAY and my previous short film FOAL were set. I have found time and time again that in my work I keep coming back to the Canberra landscape – which is the landscape of my childhood. For me, this landscape has a very specific beauty – a clarity of light, big skies, a pastel-toned, melancholic beauty. There is a sense that it is unspoilt; a sense that you can truly get lost out there.
Do you see yourself primarily as a producer, director or writer? Or is it more important to you to have an understanding and passion for all the aspects of filmmaking?
I see myself as a writer/director – at the moment I’m focussing on directing my own scripts. I did produce and production manage during my first years in the industry as a way to educate myself and to observe experienced directors, and was writing scripts in my spare time. I’m really glad I did this time as a producer as it really helped me to understand the particulars of each department from an angle that directors don’t usually see. But I don’t think I’ve got a personality that is particularly well-suited for producing – that takes a lot of organisational skills and the ability to create budgets and use Excel spreadsheets – not really my forte!
How important is it to put strong female characters (and filmmakers) front and centre, as is happening with the ‘Smart for a Girl: ROAR’ initiative?
So important! Through film and television (and all creative and artistic work) society can hold a mirror up to itself. What a strange and wonky reflection this mirror is providing if it is lacking one half (or is it over half?!) of the population – women? To me it just makes a very logical kind of sense to be pushing for gender equality in terms of on-screen and behind-the-camera representation. In general, we should be striving for diversity on our screens – diversity provides windows into different perspectives, worlds, and subjectivities. Not only will this help us to better understand one another, but it will result in new and exciting content for contemporary audiences. Female-driven stories are so smart and interesting – Top of the Lake, Big Little Lies, Girls, The Handmaid’s Tale – all prove this. Smart For A Girl: ROAR is a wonderful opportunity for female storytellers like me to be guided into a section of the industry that is lacking female representation and ordinarily very difficult to find a way into. I feel SO privileged to have been one of the five projects selected!
Who are some other amazing local filmmakers that we should know about?
Clare Young is wonderful – she is a fellow recipient of the Smart For A Girl: ROAR opportunity and we met through that. Sam Dignand and Nik Wansborough are talented locals as well! And I’m sure there are countless others who I am yet to meet!
What are the upcoming projects you’re excited to work on?
I’m just finishing up post-production on my latest short film SHILOH, and my hands are about to become very full as I go into writing mode. I am developing three feature films – one of which is an adaptation of HIGHWAY – and my television series Id, which will be developed through ROAR.
Check out the CSFF full program and grab your tickets online now.
Tickets: $15 online, $20 at the door.