Melbourne International Student Film Festival
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Melbourne International Student Film Festival

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It’s Melbourne International Student Film Festival (MISFF)! Bringing together films from students from all over the world, to Melbourne’s fantastic High Street, Northcote.

It’s Melbourne International Student Film Festival (MISFF)! Bringing together films from students from all over the world, to Melbourne’s fantastic High Street, Northcote.

We spoke with filmmaker Kathryn Goldie whose film, Duck Soup will be screened and Justin Olmstead, creator of A Short Length of Hose. Justin turned to filmmaking after he found the process of writing a novel too isolating. “I gave filmmaking a go and realised that it’s perfect for me – working in a team with other creative people, towards a finished, heartfelt product. Nothing could be better.”

The story of making his film, A Short Length Of Hose could well be a script in itself. As he describes it, “A Short Length Of Hose follows a lone man in his search for water in an unforgiving land, and the problems he encounters. He becomes desperate and makes a bad decision. It’s basically a tragedy of misunderstanding. The message of the film is basically the perils of being a man when testosterone and distrust mix. It’s also about the way men often fail to communicate with each other, and how harmful this can be. It’s also about the harshness of the Australian countryside/outback. It’s a simple story but I think it’s poignant.”

The film came about end-first. Justin envisaged “just two men, who were enemies, lying wounded from a gunfight they’ve had over their village’s last supply of water. In the original idea the enemies decide to drink a bottle of whisky together, and forget their differences, even though the alcohol would make them die of dehydration faster.

This idea was deemed to be too corny, and so another ending was written, which involved the two men having a wrestle with a shotgun, accidentally shooting the bottom of the last water tank in the town, and dying because of their inability to share/communicate with/trust each other. This ending was partly filmed, but then during the shoot the owners of the abandoned house showed up, called the police, almost charged me with trespassing, and made it necessary to rewrite the ending, using another water tank, on another property. I still wanted to use a device with related to water, so I now have the man strangle the other with the hose.”

Kathryn Goldie studied film at VCA (one-year Graduate Diploma of Film and TV – Narrative) and is currently studying screenwriting at RMIT. Her film Duck Soup was born out of a class activity. “Duck Soup came out of a writing exercise in class at VCA where we each wrote a first line, put it in a pile, chose another at random and then had 15 minutes to write a piece beginning with that line. I got the line ‘I love duck soup’, but I love you more.’ Initially I tried to write something light and romantic, but I changed tack when it didn’t work. I thought about how much I liked watching the guys in Chinese barbecue restaurants chop ducks in the window and realised that could provide an excellent metaphor.”

It seems like we have a film festival in Melbourne every other week. Justin says, “I think all film festivals are important, because they give us aspiring directors a voice. I also think that student film festivals are important because they’re a more level playing field, and usually the entrants don’t have huge budgets or massive amounts of the most high tech equipment at their disposal. And so, even though the production values might not be as high as for professionally-made short films, there are still some great ideas being put out there that deserve to be acknowledged. Trying to get a film accepted at Tropfest or Sundance or whatever can be a bit humbling and what-not, because of the huge studios that you’re sometimes competing against. I hope that MISFF is around for a long time to come, and it’s an honour to be a part of it.” While Kathryn’s Duck Soup has been shown at 19 festivals since it was completed in 2007, she insists MISFF is an important festival to have. “It’s great to see films from up-and-coming film-makers. Student films don’t always make it into big film festivals, so it’s terrific to have a dedicated avenue for them beyond, say, graduation or cast and crew screenings.”

The Melbourne International Student Film Festival happens at Northcote Town Hall on Saturday February 26. Session one runes from 4.30pm until 6pm, session two runs from 6.30pm until 8pm and session three runs from 8.30pm until 10pm. A single session will cost you $15, to for $26 and three for $35. For more info head to isfest.org/Melbourne.