They say mighty oaks from little acorns grow, and Flickerfest is a prime example of such a success story. What started out as a niche event in Sydney’s Balmain High School in 1991 has morphed into not only Australia’s most prestigious international short film festival but one of the leading fests of its kind in the world and one of the most important events on the global festival circuit.
Now heading towards its 24th birthday on Bondi Beach in 2015, Flickerfest is the country’s sole Academy and BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) accredited competitive short film festival, meaning any award winners automatically qualify for consideration at those glitzy ceremonies – as a result, screening spots are hotly contested by filmmakers and the competition can be fierce. 2015 alone saw over 2,400 submissions from around the world, with the committee having to whittle the selection down to a final 100 gems which will grace the screening program.
To ensure the bar remains high in terms of quality, festival director Bronwyn Kidd personally travels the globe to unearth the finest new short features for Flickerfest, many of which will never have seen the inside of an Australian theatre before. She considers short film to be the most exciting aspect of modern cinema, and where new talent is creating ground-breaking work. As a result the fest offers some of the most stimulating, riotously engaging films around, ensuring it continues to be the most important, dedicated, short film event in the Australian cultural calendar.
Entries are screened under various sections, including Best of Australian, From the Oscars, FlickerKids and Celebrity Shorts – containing performances from such names as Danny DeVito, Helena Bonham Carter and Gerard Depardieu – while the festival’s competitive strand has several International Awards for (Academy accredited) Best Short Film, Special Jury Award and Best Use of Digital Technology, and Australian Awards for Best Direction in an Australian Short Film and Best Australian High School Production.
Peppered between these screenings and awards are gala opening and closing night parties, pop-up beachside bars at the Bondi Beach venue, Oscar tributes and various themed sections including comedy and relationships. FlickerLab is the festival’s extremely popular panels and Q&As section where filmmakers can get their creative juices flowing and network with industry insiders, while FlickerUp sees the screening of efforts from the finalists of the festival’s national short filmmaking competition for primary and secondary school students or filmmakers under 18 years old.
As well as a busy festival, Flickerfest does its very best to go to the masses: in 1995 it started the ongoing Flickerfest National Tour, which takes the program on the road to dozens of towns and cities across Australia. In 2014 they visited 50 venues across the country, showcasing short films to people who would never normally get the chance to watch them.
The festival’s mantra is ‘Welcome to our world of shorts’. Enter their world at the Bondi Pavilion on Sydney’s famed Bondi Beach between the 9th and 18th January 2015.