Some of the brightest stars across the Australian film industry have been assembled to help judge the shortlisted films for Heart Gold International Short Film Festival’s eight awards categories.
Lined with Australian film industry royalty, top-level creatives from all facets of the biz, and hugely talented locals, this year’s star-studded judging panel includes:
• Comedian, writer, actor, Kitty Flanagan (a strong advocate of writers)
• Former head of ABC TV Comedy, and current Head of QUT Film, Screen and Animation, Geoff Portmann
• Cinematographic legend and the fellow responsible for shooting some of Australia’s most celebrated features and dramas, (Felony, Cloudstreet, Parer’s War, Underbelly: Razor, Redfern Now, The Story of Us just to name a few), Mark Wareham
• Meredith Garlick – former Acting CEO of Screen Queensland, and more recently, Screen Territory – who has notched up more than 20 years’ experience working in the industry as a producer, consultant, writer and senior executive
• Screen culture manager of Screen Queensland Rowena Billard
• International film festival buff and Head of the Noosa Film Society’s management committee, Holly Pittman
• Film and media educator/ innovator and president of the Australian Teachers of Media Queensland (ATOM), Rhys Cassidy
• Heart of Gold’s very own master class and Young(er) at Heart coordinator, former drama teacher, Liz Lewis
• And local medical scientist Helen Crowley, a longtime volunteer who’s head of the screening groups that have been meeting since March to help filter through the enormous number of films that have been submitted from around the world.
Kitty Flanagan is an ambassador for the writers in the industry – so much so, she’s sponsoring and judging the award for this year’s Best Narrative.
She said she’s involved in this year’s Heart of Gold because she liked the sound of the festival’s ethos.
“It sounded like a festival that was supporting and encouraging Australian filmmakers – so I thought I’d like to support and encourage this Australian film festival!!” Kitty said. “Anything that encourages Australian filmmakers is important. You learn by doing. Making short films is one of the best ways to learn your craft.”
Kitty said she also believes writers in this country deserve more respect and more money. “People don’t seem to realise how important the writer is in the process. Everyone wants to be a director or an actor. But if there is no script then there is no film to make so nobody has a job. And I think writers should be paid accordingly. It’s clearly the hardest job.”
Bringing talent from across the country as well as a host of local talent to the picturesque Queensland town of Gympie, Heart of Gold (which is being held this year from 8-11 October) is swiftly becoming one of Australia’s key film festivals.
Artistic director Mandy Lake said she’s looking to cement the festival as a flagship event for a nationwide ‘filmgrimage’, aiming to position the region as one of Australia’s major filmmaking destinations.
“And we couldn’t ask for a better panel of industry heavy weights to support and judge this year’s films,” Mandy said.
“I can’t wait to see what they pick as Best Film, there are so many incredible films to choose from and I think there will be a few animated discussions when our judges finally compare their notes,” Mandy said. “Last year’s winner went on to take out the Academy Award for ‘Best Live Action Short’!”
The 2015 award categories include: Best Short Film, Best Australian Film, Best Student Film, Screener’s Choice Award, Best Cinematography, Best Narrative, Most Inspirational Film, Artistic Directors’ Award, and Young(er) at Heart.
The Best Short Film Award carries an impressive prize of $5,000, which has been kindly donated by long-time supporter and local Colin Schuh of the Schuh Group.