As the director of Flickerfest since 1998, Bronwyn Kidd has curated hundreds of short film programmes for both the festival, its national touring programme and many other international film festivals. Now as Flickerfest hits Perth in its 30th year, running from Thursday, February 25 until Sunday, February 28 at Camelot Outdoor Cinema, BRAYDEN EDWARDS caught up with Bronwyn Kidd to find out about how the festival has grown to what it is today, her highlights from this year’s program and why she is still as excited about short film and its future as she ever was.
Congrats on 30 years of Flickerfest! How did Flickerfest begin and how has it grown since then to what it is today?
It’s fantastic for Flickerfest have reached this milestone and to be celebrating three decades of amazing short films and independent cinema in Australia. Flickerfest began as around six short films screening in the grounds of a Sydney High School in 1991 and since then we have grown to a 10 day Academy qualifying festival in Sydney with a 50 venue national tour.
This year also marks 27 years in Perth at our long term home, the Camelot Outdoor Cinema in Mosman Park and that’s another exciting milestone as well. It’s great to be home at this iconic venue in Perth that has been home to Flickerfest for so many years.
Personally you have been part of Flickerfest for most of that time. What was it that drew you to the art of short film?
It’s my 24th year with Flickerfest and I still love the process of curating shorts and sharing films with audiences as much as I did in the beginning. It’s exciting to be in this space in cinema that is cutting edge fresh and a place of discovering such amazing talent that will blaze on our screens for years to come. I’m super excited about this year’s programme and as always a stunning collection of new WA shorts in the mix.
How do the team go about selecting the films that make the program for Flickerfest? Is there anything in particular that you look for in a film?
The Flickerfest selection takes over six months and is very labour intensive, involving around 40 people watching many, many hours of films. We had over 2,700 entries this year and selected just 200, with around 30 highlights screening in the West. So we are really sharing the best of the best of Flickerfest shorts with our audiences in WA.
What are some of the benefits that Flickerfest plays in Australia’s independent film industry?
At Flickerfest we are thrilled to be a platform for discovering the most amazing new screen storytellers and providing a platform for audiences and the industry to discover this talent too. I think we’re also bringing great stories to lovers of independent cinema who want to see films on the big screen, with other lovers of film in a festival environment that celebrates cinema and embraces independence and storytelling not dictated by Hollywood.
How do you feel the style and nature of short films have changed over the years and what kind of things are you looking forward to seeing more of in the future?
Short film has changed dramatically over the years as access to digital technology has expanded, making it so much easier for a broader range of voices to get their films on the big screen. This year we had over 50% female directors in our Australian competition and we are thrilled to again celebrate many new stories from First Nations’ voices, and culturally and gender diverse Australians. Flickerfest is so much richer and so much greater and more enjoyable for this diversity.
The past year has been challenging for the film industry. How have you felt the film community has responded and what positives can we take out of it?
It has been a super tough year for so many but I am always amazed by the resilience of filmmakers. The pandemic may have stopped a lot of things but it hasn’t stopped the creativity of filmmakers and that has really shone through in the films that Flickerfest is thrilled to celebrate this year. I think positively the pandemic has shown we are all connected and it has brought us together even though we have never been so physically apart.
What are your highlights from this year’s program and what makes them stand out to you amidst so many great short films?
I have so many favourites and I’m so excited to share all of the films this year in Perth. I love Roborovski, about an adorable miniature hamster seeking revenge, the super delightful Sparkles that was filmed in Kalgoorlie is also great and Wirun is a heartwarming and empowering story.
David starring Will Ferrell is also a quirky highlight while The Present from Palestine, which is currently shortlisted for an Oscar, is a moving, thought-provoking and insightful story from a part of the world that we don’t often see. The amazing psychedelic animation Normal from France is hilarious and and oozing bucket-loads of heart, while the super delightful Frankie Jean & The Morning Star from New Zealand is a a great feel good tale.
There’s also so much to love about the comedy programme on Sunday including the super cute dog tale Pawsea: the Melancholic Ruminations Of A French Bulldog and I love the French comedy A La Mode. It’s set in a kingdom tormented by fashion crazes. Then there’s the hilarious Australian short Glen where a 50 something hero comes face to face with Facebook in his quest for new love. It’s a super story for our time.