Shorts Film Festival — Interviews with local filmmakers

– by David Morgan-Brown

The second ever Colosoul Short Film festival (cleverly titled Shorts) is coming up and will be presenting nine of the best short films from Perth, independently and locally made. We got in contact with the filmmakers that submitted their brilliant short films to us to let us know a bit about their influences, inspirations, and what their opinions are on the film industry in tucked-away Perth. Thanks to filmmakers Kaleb McKenna, Christian Kennedy, Cameron Whiteford, Ramez Ghibrial, Tom DiPietro, Cin Giancola, Taran Dunn, Joel Maynard, David Vincent Smith, Jake Shannon, and Joe Henderson for taking part in these interviews.

PBE_POSTER_1SMALL_V2When asked about what they wanted to convey through their films, most of the filmmakers mentioned the themes and issues they wanted to address. For Taran’s film, Todd, “Disability, in its various forms, is something that is acknowledged but not widely understood. While we may recognise when an individual is disabled or handicapped, we have limited understanding of their life behind closed doors.” Kaleb also took something personal to him with Dinner Date, “It’s a tough thing to accept and something I went through, which is why I really wanted to make the film,” he says. “I wanted to explore the moment in which you realize that the person you once loved doesn’t actually exist anymore because they’ve moved on from the person you knew them as.” Even for the comedy Bizness Boiz, Cameron claims the film is about adulthood: “One day we wake up to find we have bills, loans and responsibilities. We empathise with the protagonists because of their carefree, youthful minds that are resistant to change” and the dark comedy Morgue has a personal theme behind it, its director Jake saying “What I really wanted to do with ‘Morgue‘ is create my own individual afterlife, because no one really knows what happens after we die.“David says with his film, Rat Tale, “I wanted to humanise people who were generally shunned as hopeless and without moral fibre which isn’t true.”

Many of the filmmakers simply claim they want audiences to connect with their films, Kaleb saying “the rat tale posterhope is always that it will be seen and enjoyed”, Christian wants “To make a film that surprises, entertains, and engages the audience”, and Joel aims “for the film to have an emotional impact upon the audience”. Jake says he “likes to create the unreal. I like finding the possibilities of film, which are far greater than the restrictions that you find in real-life.” Tom says he wants to “improve from my last, and be pleased with the final product (and also have a lot of fun while doing it)”, with Cin in agreement with the second reason, stating “my goal in making a short film is just to have fun with friends while practising what I love to do.” However, Taran claims there is something more meaningful to be gained through this form of storytelling, “I aim to conjure quite distinct reactions. That reaction may either be positive or negative, it doesn’t really matter, as the presence of a reaction tells me they were thinking and not simply watching.” David states a similar response, simply “to tell the truth to the best of my ability”.

11068034_967524689927368_321131254_o Both Ramez and Cameron comment on how the genre can affect where inspiration comes from, with Ramez saying when he makes a short film, he will watch films of the same genre to gather inspiration, whereas Cameron says for comedy shorts “Joe Henderson (my co-writer, co-director and co-star) and I used to listen to and look at things that made us uncontrollably laugh. It put us in the head space to write and create ideas and concepts that made us, in turn, laugh louder and harder.” Other filmmakers try to scout inspiration from real life, Kaleb saying it’s about “trying to explore a lesson that I’ve learnt in my own life”, whilst Cin tries “to take inspiration from everyday events, or from history, and put a different spin on them”, and Taran claims “I look to things that impact and surround my life personally, the issues that confront and challenge me, and apply them to my work. In doing so, the issues that may have once frustrated me then inspire me”. David says “all my films are generally a response to my environment or whatever is happening in my life … film just happens to be the medium through which I have a dialogue to explore that subject matter”.

When asked about their influences, most filmmakers cited blockbuster directors, with Ramez listing sm_posterSteven Spielberg, Tony Scott, Michael Bay, Gore Verbiniski, Ron Howard, and Robert Zemeckis, and Kaleb also chose Zameckis, saying he admires “his ability to mix technological advancement with a deep focus on character exploration”. Cameron mentioned Stanley Kubrick, the Wachowskis, John Hughes, but cited George Lucas as the filmmaker who “taught me that you can build a world, or universe, and have seemingly infinite stories born from it.” Clint Eastwood was Cin’s main influence, as a director and an actor. Taran looked to Sam Mendes as his influence, “both in style and directorial approach. His body of work is so diverse and polished, and his fearless approach to different genres and styles of filmmaking has kept his unique flavour of directing very fresh”. Joel Maynard cited Paul Thomas Anderson and Tom Green, and David Fincher was the main influence for Joe Henderson – “he has created some brilliant pieces of work that really explore the dark side of humanity, framed in a brooding and rich visual style that I find so compelling.”

The filmmakers seem to consider Perth’s community as small, though exciting and productive. “The notion that quality film people can’t use Perth as their base is starting to be done away with,” says Kaleb, “and it means there are plenty of quality individuals at your disposal to make a film with.” Taran agrees, saying “the Perth film community is full of strong, like-minded individuals passionate about creating a film industry in Perth that doesn’t yet exist at the scale of our international neighbours.” Joel says the community is “fantastic, supportive and inspiring” and Tom thinks “it’s great that even though it is small, there is a lot of effort put in to improve the community.” That filmmakers can emerge from this isolated city is optimistically brought up by Joe who claims “Perth has proven that people will always be creative no matter where they are, and some truly fantastic work has emerged from this city over the years. Now technologically we are at a saturation point, so the onus is on us filmmakers to strive for quality original content.”

The Colosoul Shorts Film Festival will take place on Tuesday 17th March at UWA. Get your tickets from here: http://ticketswa.com/event/shorts

Find out more about the event: https://www.facebook.com/events/638308872948758/686166564829655/


Picture credit: Banner image by Lillian Yeow

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