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Canberra Short Film Festival: 20 Years

Karolina Firman


This year is the 20th anniversary of the Canberra Short Film Festival (CSFF), playing at Dendy Cinemas in in the city this weekend.

“The [CSF] festival is special because of the combination of international, national, local films. We also have documentaries but its the intimacy of the event, where you can actually watch a film, see the characters up on screen and then go have a beer with them,” says John Frohlich, the Director of the CSFF.

As the technology changes the way that we tell stories changes. As the technology changes so does the festival.

This year’s festival is the first year to have a two minute entry position, with the top three being played on WIN TV.

“[This year] is targeted at people who may want to become film makers but have never don it, so anyone whose got an idea or an aspiration can start with a really simple idea two minute film…so people who’ve never made a film were invited to contribute, and we’ll do that again next year,” says John.

John hopes that the festival will evolve with technology. This year was the first year the CSFF have selected a music video to be played.

“Next year is the 21st anniversary of the festival and we’re in the 21st century, so what I hope for the festival is [that] we evolve into something that never leaves the short film roots that we’ve established…next year I think we’ll have a music video category we might [even] have a category [for] vines.”

The categories for the CSFF are international, national, Canberra documentary and under-18. There’s over 350 entries and two levels of judging occurring for the international and national entries. However, don’t let that fool you into thinking that it’s too hard to submit an entry.

John’s advice for first time film makers: “First of all if you’ve never made a short film before it’s just about ‘doing’. You just have to get your friends together – whoever will help. It’s not about technology, it’s a question of technique. If you never try, you never do so [creating] your short film and entering it into the festival is actually quite easy.”

Christian has been a part of the festival for many years now, with another entry this year called Echoes“Echoes is about a girl that sees her own death in the mirror. She starts seeing the past and the present in the reflection, and sets out to track down her own killer…but you can’t trust everything you see”

The highlight of the Canberra Short Film Festival, according to Christian, is the fact that it inspires people; “it’s about inspiring creation, inspiring the production of the films…otherwise you make a film and it goes on the shelf, or you [just] show your family. You’ve gotta have more motivation than that and to show an entire city is pretty inspiring,” he says.

the essentials
What: The Canberra Short Film Festival
When: 18-20 September
Where: Dendy Cinemas.


Karolina Firman

Karolina Firman is a hopeful new journalist trying to find her way. She is due to graduate with a double degree in Journalism/Arts from the University of Canberra. Karolina believes in leaving the world better than in the condition she found it in, like a rental house. More about the Author

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