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Lights, Camera, Female Talent: The Canberra Short Film Festival 2017

HerCanberra Team

The buzz of the Canberra Short Film Festival (CSFF) is on the lips of locals in anticipation of the annual event.

Now in its 22nd year, the seven-night Festival will visit five locations and feature over 100 films. Behind the hype and the growing submissions lies the films and their makers, each with their own story, motivation, and passion. The films whispered to be making waves this year are the products of very talented women. This excites us tremendously as the matter of underrepresentation of women filmmakers is a current hot topic.

Currently, women make up 50 per cent of the Australian population, however, this statistic doesn’t align when considering the Australian Film Industry’s gender ratios. The inequality of women in positions of influence and key creative roles has left us pondering the question; who is telling Australian stories and are everyone’s stories being told?

Filmmaker Hana Tow started her career in front of the camera with a background in acting. Winding up on the other side of the camera had never even crossed her mind until some male friends, who were entering a local competition joked that Tow didn’t have what it takes – she had to prove them wrong.

“Film is a unique way of telling stories for me, it’s really versatile and you can do a lot with it,” says Tow. “It’s a platform lots of people can access and it’s important to have a wide range of stories.”

Tow has since moved her career to Brisbane, although it was in Canberra – her home town, to write, film and produce her CSFF piece, The Big Appeal – funded by Arts ACT.

“It’s a suburban fairy tale, essentially about door knocking with a female lead. A young girl always coming in second yet wanting to be first. It has a grim fairytale twist to it; loosely based on those days where you just wanted to come out on top.”


Through the introduction of new categories each year, the annual event breaks down the boundaries of the industry to allow more filmmakers the creative freedom they require to submit a film. By broadening the talent behind the scenes, the interest of the public increases, each year attracting a more diverse audience.

This year, we see the inclusion of the Indigenous category, providing a platform for Dream Time stories to be shared, as well as encouraging Aboriginal filmmakers to showcase their talent. The CSFF facilitates a screen for anyone from creative females whom at large are a minority in the world of filmmaking to amateurs such as local filmmaker Tessa Franceschini who is taking advantage of the two-minute category.

“The CSFF allows me to express my love of script writing, comedy and Monty Python,” says Franceschini. “I love to write and see where my mind takes me. I became obsessed with trying to make a nice and snappy, two-minute, rhetorical film using basically just an empty box and park bench.”

Both female talents had previously been a part of the CSFF with minor roles supporting other films, however this year they entered their own films to get a taste of the lights, camera and action.

the essentials

What: The 2017 Canberra Short Film Festival
When: 13-17 September.
Where: Various locations across Canberra
Web: www.csff.com.au


Her Canberra

Sometimes a story is bigger than one person...that's when the HerCanberra Team puts its collective head together to come up with the goods. Enjoy! More about the Author