DAVID VINCENT SMITH Widening the lens

David Vincent Smith is an award-winning Western Australian writer and director on a rapid rise. His work has been played at numerous Oscar Qualifying festivals throughout the world, with his short film We Were Here awarded Best Film, Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Actress at the WA Screen Awards. Now Smith’s new short film Good Night has been selected for Australia’s largest Short Film Festival, Flickerfest, as part of its Best of Australian Shorts program, showing at Camelot Outdoor Cinema on Thursday, February 24. BRAYDEN EDWARDS spoke to David Vincent Smith to find out more about Good Night, how he got into filmmaking, and the big plans he has going forward.

Congrats on the release of Good Night and its selection for Flickerfest 2022. How long has this one been in the works for and how does it feel to now be sharing it with the world?

This is the fastest I’ve ever made a short. I think we put it all together in a matter of weeks from start to finish. With COVID and the various lockdown and interruptions to our industry I wanted to jump on set and make something simple with my friends. It’s been incredible that this small film has caught fire at festivals and is now touring the country.

How was this film different from what you released before?

Every time I make a new project, I’m always looking to be educated, grow, and try something new to see how that affects the work. For this project, I was focused on reduction and simplicity. I had a rule of having no camera movement, except for one shot, whereas normally I have quite a dynamic camera with other projects.

Who did you enlist to bring this one to life and how did they shape the final product?

Kate the producer has been a long-time friend, and this was our first short project together; the same as Raz who shot it. We were so fortunate to have two of not only the best Western Australian but Australian actors jump on board. It was such a privilege to work with Caroline Brazier and Clarence Ryan; they met on set, there were no rehearsals, and everyone worked with such a wonderful collaborative spirit.

And what was it that got you interested in making films in the beginning? Do you remember a time when you first felt like films were going to be a big part of your future?

I had always wanted to be a writer; I grew up an avid reader and loved creative writing. As I got older that storytelling translated to the visual medium. My work days are still primarily spent writing but now screenplays for films instead of prose.

And who were the biggest inspirations when you started out? Were they all already established international filmmakers or were there also influential people closer to home?

My biggest inspirations aren’t really filmmakers but the people around me and who I grew up with. They influence my stories with their unique points of view, the problems they’re wrestling with and our struggles to make meaning amongst the world and all its complications.

As someone who works in the WA film industry, how have things been affected by COVID and the border closures in particular? What have you learnt about the people making films in WA over the past couple of years?

It’s been positive and negative. There has been an onset of unique and interesting jobs, especially in the first year of COVID in the commercial world; I was lucky to direct some interesting work with dancers and orchestras in the new museum which was the direct result of COVID. However, with film and television, it’s been hard, you work in proximity with a lot of people (makeup, costume, etc..) and films often require actors and specialist talent that need to fly into the state and COVID has had a strong impact in that regard.

What’s next for you for the rest of 2022 and beyond? Any more projects we can look forward to in the future? I heard there was a feature on the way which sounds exciting!

Yes, this year is busy! I’m shooting a feature film in winter this year which is really exciting – we have an amazing team! I’ve also received funding to write two other features including a sci-fi movie set in the southwest which will hopefully go into production in 2023/2024.