Sunny Leunig takes us through AMIN's Love Live Music 60 second Film Competition
As a representative body that aims to foster and develop important initiatives within the music community, the Australian Music Industry Network (AMIN) is a vital organisation for the many creatives of our nation.
2017 heralds the second year of their Love Live Music 60-Second Film Competition, with ARIA-nominated film director and musician Sunny Leunig taking the helm as its official Competition Ambassador.
"As a filmmaker and a musician myself, I think the marriage between the two is a really important thing to bring artists together," Leunig says. "Live music has played a huge part in my life, and I think it plays a huge part in lots of people's lives.
“It's great that the Australian Music Industry Network can support something that people have a lot of passion for, and also bring in another discipline in filmmaking. I think filmmaking and music go really well together, and it's a great opportunity for filmmakers and musicians to work together."
This year's competition is centred around the important aspect of live entertainment, with ‘imagine life without live Australian music’, ‘what I love about live Australian music’ and ‘what live Australian music means to me’ all viable entry themes. The ten best 60-second films will be screened at St. Kilda Film Festival’s SoundKILDA event, where the winner and runner-up shall be decided by a panel of respected figures in the music industry.
Leunig loved being a judge himself on last year's panel, and is anticipating even more exciting entries. "The idea is king in this competition," he says. "You can execute something amazingly well, or the production value can be really high, but if the idea isn't strong enough, then it won't stand up.
“A good idea executed well is the key. Sometimes, people spend too much time thinking about the production value and the idea isn't there, but I think if you can get both right – the balance of both – then there's a pretty good chance of being a finalist."
Leunig understands both the importance and many faces of creativity. He's a filmmaker, musician, film composer, writer, and has even spent time as both a magician and philosopher simultaneously – but the world of directing currently calls his name. He's worked on music videos with the likes of Paul Kelly, Dan Kelly and Fraser A. Gorman, with his visually innovative and imaginative clip for Courtney Barnett's Elevator Operator recently scoring a nomination at the 2016 ARIA Awards for Best Video. Barnett bought a refreshing idea to the table, Leunig revealed, and he was more than happy to mould it into something both impressive and fun.
"I think it's because you do work with some really interesting, talented people," Leunig says of the love for his craft. "What a great thing to be able to do, bouncing off ideas. I think with a music video – as opposed to, say, a commercial – a lot of great art has come from music videos, because the ideas are willing to be pushed.
“Of course, some like to play it a bit more conservative than others, but you're essentially working with artists. It's exciting to push how far you can go and also step out of your comfort zone. There's a nice feeling of creating something with a soundtrack as well. It's nice to cut to something that has a rhythm and a beat, and has some interesting qualities about it."
Leunig enjoys the rush of collaboration, and brings that passion to his role as an AMIN Ambassador. There's a thrill in both bringing a musician's vision to life, as well as making something entirely new from scratch. Everyone's got a different interpretation, and that's what makes it such an invigorating field of expression to him. The imagination and freedom of filmmaking holds something synonymously enthralling to the art, and he hopes to reveal that inspirational wonder for young and new artists.
"I think (what's important is) if I can encourage people to just get out there and make the work, and be diligent," Leunig says. "I don't really regret things that I go out and try to do in terms of film stuff – in fact, I should do it more. If there's any opportunity just to go out and do something, collaborate, then I hope that I can encourage people to go out and do it. I think that's a big step.
"It's important to be creative. There's a creative voice that's really important in the world, especially with the world as it is at the moment. These are times when art should thrive. There's also this saying that 'what is most personal is most universal.' If you can follow that idea, then I think we'll get some really good clips coming through."
By Jacob Colliver
Entries for AMIN's Love Live Music 60 second Film Competition close on Friday March 31. Find out more information on their website.