Flickerfest filmmakers vouch for local production support

Brisbane filmmakers selected for this year's Flickerfest have highlighted the importance of a local production house to support emerging artists.

The short film festival runs from Thursday to Saturday at the Judith Wright Centre for Contemporary Arts, with 116 films picked for inclusion.

Stephen Kanaris' Maiden, about greyhound racing in Brisbane in the 1970s, and Josh Tanner's The Landing, about an unidentified flying object landing on an American farm in 1960, were both supported by QPIX.

The screen academy closed its doors last week after its funding deal with Screen Queensland ended.

Kanaris said QPIX's contribution to Maiden was a small amount of financing, but the body had played a key role in guiding, teaching and developing young creatives.

“We see a lot of announcements about big productions coming here, and to me that's not creative development, that's economic development,” he said.

“I think we should fight for those productions, but to truly build the industry here, we have to get as many creative people doing projects as possible....it's simply a numbers game.”

Josh Tanner said QPIX gave his team the confidence to move ahead with their story.

“Certainly for us, we had made this ambitious short film script, and it really was QPIX that came in and said 'We like this, go make this',” he said.

Screen Queensland has closed its public expressions of interest process for new providers to replace QPIX, with a shortlist to be announced on March 10.

The change may mean multiple agencies providing services.

Flickerfest director Bronwyn Kidd said it was important to replace QPIX.

“It's crucial – Queensland is now the only state in Australia without an emerging filmmakers' training network,” she said.

Tanner wound up filming The Landing, which is set in the American midwest, at barn built in near Tamworth for the 2006 movie Superman Returns.

The 17-minute film won Best Short at last year's Sitges Film Festival in Spain, putting it in possible contention for the 2015 Academy Awards.

“That was an amazing surprise,” he said.

Kanaris' Flickerfest entry is a semi-autobiographical drama of a Brisbane greyhound racing family, and a gambling-addicted Greek-Australian father who turns to nefarious methods to win races.

“Film festivals like Flickerfest not only give you great exposure and status in the industry, but people actually sitting in an audience and watching it on a big screen is a special and rare thing,” Kanaris said.

“That's what got you into cinema in the first place... any time that happens it's valuable.”

Flickerfest runs from Thursday February 27 to Saturday March 1 at the Judith Wright Centre for the Contemporary Arts in Fortitude Valley. Tickets from $17 are available online.

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