‘Australia Independent Film Festival’ was memorable.
In a time when overseas travel feels like a memory of the past, the ‘AIFF21’ transported viewers around the globe through a diverse and captivating selection of films on an international scale.
In the charming venue of Metro Arts in West End, Brisbane based finalists, Freya Brunning, (producer) and Anna McGuckin (writer/director), officially opened the festival with their film, ‘Love Club’.
Directed by Anna McGuckin (Australia)
Evoking a style reminiscent of Greta Gerwig’s ‘Ladybird’, ‘Love Club’ was an authentic and elegantly constructed piece, illustrating the difficult journey to self-love and acceptance after experiencing trauma. Following the life of 22-year-old, Luce Jones (Jade Prechelt), after her friend Sare (Ruby Gonzales-Judd) encourages her to join a group therapy program, ‘Love Club’ delicately tackles the winding road to healing after being the victim of sexual assault. With a thoughtful use of palette and a texture resembling analogue film, McGuckin utilised wide shots often encompassing the elements of symmetry, capturing Brisbane through a new lens. With a balance of light and shade, ‘Love Club’ dives deep, showing the gradual journey to healing and self-acceptance.
Directed by Alexandros Kakaniaris (Greece)
‘The Dude’, directed by Alexandros Kakaniaris, follows spunky, ‘badass’ 12-year-old boy, Stratis who goes by the self-proclaimed title, ‘The Dude’. Desperate to win the love of his crush Maria and make a break from his lower socioeconomic reality, Dude becomes involved with a couple of sailors, entangling him in an adult world. With a consistent warm colour grade and soaring shots of the landscape, Kakaniaris keeps the audience in the palm of his hand. This amusing, action-filled drama kept audiences on the edge of their seats as they rooted for young Stratis in his situation.
THE 1938 UNREST
Directed by Justin-Paul Williams (Jamaica)
Following the events of the labour riots and strikes that took place in Jamaica in 1938, Justin-Paul Williams, artistically illustrates the grievance and turmoil of the protagonist as he fights to change the labouring conditions within the sugar cane fields, amidst the oppression of colonisers. From the small light of a candle, to the vicious flames catching the fields alight, Williams uses the motif of fire throughout the film, representing the strife and torment of the dark events that took place in 1938. Confronting and powerful, ‘The 1938 Unrest’ was an artistic retelling of the historic events that took place in Jamaica.
Directed by Kersti Bryan (USA)
‘Egg Party’ acts as a snapshot into the lives of six uniquely strong women as they gather together at an egg decorating party to support their friend Molly as she struggles with her fertility. Drawing influence from Wes Anderson’s pastel palette, Egg Party skilfully delves into the delicate theme of fertility encompassing engaging imagery and symbolism. Maintaining an uplifting, captivating atmosphere, Egg Party almost invites the audience to the gathering themselves as they engage in the highs and lows, laughter and moments of reflection throughout the course of ‘Egg Party’.
Directed by Nathan Fagan & Luke Daly (Ireland)
After being physically assaulted in the bathroom of a nightclub, Danny must come to terms with the lasting impact of the attack on his mental health, as the emotional ramifications bleed into his present relationships and situations. With a notable use of closeup shots, Nathan Fagan & Luke Daly draw focus to the eyes and souls of their characters even in moments of silence. From the vibrant lights, to the unique and effective intensified continuity of the attack, ‘Flicker’ gives the audience an entry into Danny’s perspective, experiencing his nerves with every shudder, strobe and flicker.
THE FORGOTTEN PLACE
Directed by scar Rene Lozoya (USA)
‘The Forgotten Place’ follows the character of Eric (Jeff Locker) as he interviews Kip (Brian Flaccus) for his ‘best friend position’. Heartfelt and engaging, ‘The Forgotten Place’ allowed viewers to float through time, foretelling the emotional journey of a life-long friendship through the space of an interview. In a light filled room, almost emitting a heavenly aura, Oscar Rene Lozoya, swiftly switches between the present and future, beautifully painting the ups and downs of Eric and Kip’s relationship. From the detailed and effective characterisation of costuming and set to the natural chemistry radiated from Eric and Kip, the viewer becomes emotionally invested in the lives and relationship of these friends, valuing the enormity of their potential friendship – even if it hasn’t “officially” taken place yet.
LOOKING FOR YOU
Directed by Caroline CORBASSON (France)
Significantly shifting the mood, ‘Looking For You’ exposes a world of science and exploration.
Leaving ample space for interpretation, the camera progresses through a research lab of white lab coats and goggles. Pulling focus from one piece of machinery to another, Corbasson pulls the viewer deeper into an unknown world of cells and particles eventually, diving into the depths of the sea. The film concludes with the words “What are you looking for?” sounding from the narrator’s voices before dazing into the mesmerising, multi-coloured footage of white light.
Directed by Director Alex Tullo (USA)
Witty and hilarious, ‘Barking Orders’ captivated audiences with its fast paced, witty and detailed animation. Following the rise to power of the Queen’s corgi after the tragic passing of the entire British Royal Family, ‘Barking Orders’ left audiences roaring with laughter as this audacious pooch with a head swell takes his power one step too far. With an impeccable attention to detail and a complex level of animation/CGI, Alex Tullo presents the quality of work that could undoubtedly stand alongside major production studios across the world.
MY OTHER SUIT IS HUMAN
Directed by Andrew Paul Montague
In an imaginative and raw depiction of grief, Andrew Paul Montague’s film, ‘My Other Suit is Human’, portrays the journey of a couple grieving the loss of their deceased child. Finding solace in wearing a hand crafted, cardboard, robot suit, Zoe (the mother) uses this childlike exterior as a mechanism to process her grief. Amongst the luscious green meadows and cottage-core mis-en-scene of the film, Montague gracefully exposes the different ways people process grief, through beautiful symbolism and imagery. Insightfully crafting the shots to accentuate the emptiness of their home, the audience’s hearts break, watching the couple as they navigate their life and marriage in a new context.
Directed by Marcus Cropp & Em Daniels (Australia)
During a time of lockdowns and Covid restrictions, Australian film, ‘The Party’ depicts the comedic conversation between a couple with little in common as they strive to make the most of their iso situation. Shot in one location, Marcus Cropp & Em Daniels capture a moment in time, as subtitles describe the misheard words muffled on screen over the pulse of the party playlist. This quirky, lockdown film finds the humour in a situation all too familiar for many people around the country.
After a memorable night of high-quality films from an international stage, Australia Independent Film Festival truly brought light to the Brisbane film industry and highlighted the beauty of independent cinema.
‘AIFF21’ ran until Saturday, 2 October 2021 at Metro Arts Theatre. For more information on future festivals visit the Australian Independent Film Festival website.
Photos provided by Australia Independent Film Festival