June 7, 2010
(Above Paul Harris StFF Director, me, Jason Turley)
St. Kilda Film Festival 2010. I went along. Here is what happened.
Arrive. Form a posse with Frank Howson and Jason Turley – always good company at such events. Start drinking.
Simon De Bruyn, ex writer/editor for IF magazine comes over and I start stirring him over deleting me from his FB page, probably because I take the mickey out of his recent love of James Cameron’s Avatar. I mean it good naturedly… but with my usual sub text. Simon, who I like, is a lot like a lot of Gen Y twitter and FB fiends though and can’t tell if your being a prick or just having some innocent ball breaking fun. Frank joins in taking the piss pretending to have a fake microphone and Simon pushes Frank away a little. Frank was only mucking around like I was, but Simon I think thought we were being deliberately mean or something. So, naturally after being pushed Frank then wants to go him… seriously. He is working with Chopper Read on a new film, so I advise Simon to be careful and just …”walk away”. The night was off to a flying start!
Films: Well what can I say. They were all so political correct that only two actually took place in Australia! Most were Australian but film makers had actually left the country to film their stories which were tales of one culture or another. One set in Vietnam, Foreign Parts (…a theme of the night really?), directed by Michael Cody and featuring Amiel Courtin Wilson wasn’t too bad. A young viet girl wanders aimlessly after her Aussie lover dies in a motor cycle crash. Had some nice shots/mood and was my favorite of the night. Then came a silly film about an Asian guy called, GPS, directed by Sam Bryant who wanted to be the voice of a GPS system. It was light weight and relatively pointless. On The Road to Tel Aviv was a confused Israeli film about terrorism. It tried its best to say you must trust Arabs a bit… but ends with them doing their famous “Kaboom” on a bus trick that made the rest of the shorts point mute. Lizard was a two minute animation distraction. Apricot directed by Ben Briand was about a guy who was a gals first love who meets up later in life… but now appears more like a stalker. This is supposed to be romantic but was not. Bell/The Mess Hall was a music video with some young black preacher dude that had no point. The Neighbor had a creep Lebo guy being a suicidal loon while his annoying twee neighbors look on. Wagah was about the border of Pakistan and India and by this stage I was screaming in my head, “Can this get anymore multicultural!”. It ended with a funny one minute short by Abe Forsythe (Former MUFF discovery with Computer Boy and this years Tropfest winner) called Tomorrow.
It was a slightly better year for their Opening Night that is a bit renowned for its PC-ness. This year the focus was on different cultures. It just had me thinking, “Why are all these filmmakers where so desperate to tell foreign stories?”. And, “What have we totally run out of ones to tell here?”
Some of the stories also were vaguely insulting to the cultures they portrayed, also. Like most people who believe falsely they can go somewhere foreign and assume they can tell a full and comprehensive story there, the films suffered along these line. My advice is, along with many artists and filmmakers of the past, stick with a subject you know and know something about!
Was in a slightly belligerent mood after all this. So, we hit the party like Marinetti at a meeting of the Italian Communists. We began to drink in earnest like post modern Fitzgerald or Hemmingways, as you do at such events… to make them bearable. I had a go at a few people I met who annoyed me, but usually did so in good fun. Civil discussions were held with people who do not annoy me like Tony Ayers, Brian De Courcey, Gawain MacLachlan and Amiel Courtin Wilson. I collared Paul Harris and joked about all the films being so PC they were shot overseas in foreign cultures. He laughed and said like most things I say its funny but it has a subtext. Paul is a good film fest director who assembles a comprehensive selection of shorts in the body of the festival each year. He always takes criticism in a friendly good natured way without getting egos and hysteria involved. His Opening Speech that attacked MIFF obliquely for demanding Premieres and putting their festival first over StFF’s focus on filmmakers coming first was spot on and had the added bonus of being true…
Later we sneaked alcohol outside to the smoking area to be ‘rebels’ and chatted in the cold night. With more booze in mind Frank, Jason and myself continued our merriment into the night at our own private after party making Wednesday disappear from our respective schedules…
So, there it is.