Earlier this week, November 20th, inside the modest Sale Cinemas, the first Wellington Youth Film Festival played host to twenty-one shorts from aspiring filmmakers from around Gippsland and beyond. Organised by AIT University students, Paige Cunningham, Monique Marshall, Gabriel Abiera and Bailey Papic, creators of the narrative piece, Wonder; attendance was strong, culminating in what was a highly successful event.
Showreel – Joannah Anderson
Each Time You Fall in Love – Isabelle Platt
I’m Too Scared – Lexie Streitberg
Get it Right – Kyso (Kyson Ellul)
I Wish – WONDER TEAM
Doze – Lily Jones
Things that Burn – WONDER TEAM
What is Beauty? – Elisa Mijares
England & Paris 2018 – Marni McCubbin
Paint Me a Picture – WONDER TEAM
Lay Groundwork – Ryan Hall
There’s No Place Like Home – Anna Luhrs
Goon – Chloe Nash
The Inventor – Hannah Felsbourg
Coping – Dakoda Smith
The Big Decision – Renee Leah
Blue – Annie Leblanc
GOAT – Zac Roberts
Q.E.D. – William Davis
Toilet Break – Ben Harms
Wonder – WONDER TEAM
Social themes were a significant part of the diverse line-up, exploring gender, sexuality, oppression and poverty among others. For example, What is Beauty? is an up-close and personal piece which asks individuals to define the term in question. Alternate interpretations of the definition and candid responses from the subjects proved intimate and an effective way to reach the audience on a human level. Paint Me a Picture looked at the controversial subject of gender identification expression by artists through their work. I found both this and the aforementioned What is Beauty symbolic of looking at the world from another point of view and thinking outside of conventional ideas. One of the highlights of this genre for me was England & Paris 2018, which consisted of a simple family European vacation, creatively trimmed down into a fun and sporadic documentary short by young Marni McCubbin. For anyone who’s played around with the family camcorder, it’s a terrific little film and Marni’s exceptional editing skills will no doubt serve her well should a future filmmaking career beckon.
Narratives comprised of a mixture of comedy, real-life inspired events, off-the-wall ideas and grief. The Inventor humorously follows a faceless titular figure who quickly discovers the pitfalls of a device which allows for the instant teleportation to random locations. This sci-fi roll of the dice is a fun exercise in off-the-cuff filmmaking, which received an enthusiastic response from the audience. GOAT was the big winner of the night, which follows the bizarre day-in-the-life of a young man, full of strange encounters and interactions set within an absurdist reality envisioned by its director Zac Roberts. Overly structured society took audiences down a dystopian road with Wonder, arguably the most well-made film of the evening, exploring segregation of personality types and the human desire for free will. Closing out the festival was There’s No Place Like Home from Anna Luhrs, a hard-hitting look at the homeless situation in Melbourne. Needless to say it was heartbreaking experience, but timely reminder of a fundamental flaw in our society.
I wish to extend my congratulations to all those involved. Filmmaking in Gippsland may not be as prominent compared to other regions throughout the state, but it’s slowly proving to be an emerging industry one that we should support and all be proud of.
WELLINGTON YOUTH FILM FESTIVAL
(2018, organisers: Paige Cunningham, Monique Marshall, Gabriel Abiera & Bailey Papic)