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Lights! Canberra! Action!

Anna Riddel

Have you ever dreamed of making a film but weren’t sure where to start? Well grab your cameras and witty script writing skills, Canberra’s very own film festival – Lights! Canberra! Action! – is upon us.

The scavenger hunt for filmmakers in its twelfth year is again laying down the gauntlet for those daring to enter 10 days of film making mayhem.

With the festival growing every year, in 2014, 47 contestants entered with a total of 27 films completed. The festival provides a theme and ten objects that must be included in the film, with the objects being anything from a paperclip to parliament house.

Last week, I had the great pleasure of talking to previous winner, Hew Sandison. Between you and me, this is one tenacious young filmmaker to keep your eye on. At the bright eyed age of 22, Hew has already won the festival in both 2013 and 2014, and has a pilot TV series in development that is garnering some serious attention from some major players nationally. I asked Hew about the festival and what it is like to make a film in ten days.

“You don’t sleep.”

“You can only partially plan shoots and pre-write the scripts because you have no idea what the objects will be until it’s on.”

Hew tells me that this year he is actually making two films for the festival, which means he is leading two crews over ten days. Which I presume means that Canberra may run out of coffee that week.

He revealed that many of the objects are actually local landmarks. Part of the beauty of the festival is that it highlights Canberra, and this is reflected in the theme and the objects. You actually have to be here to make the film.

Hew pointed out two things that were important to him about the festival. “It gives you a chance to develop your skills. I entered in 2012 but didn’t make the top 12 films, but I learned from the experience, then for the last two years, I’ve actually won”.

Secondly, Hew tells me that even though teams are competing, they really work together to help each other out and it is more supportive than competitive. The camaraderie between teams hustling for time and space (often at the same venue) sounds more like one big support network.

The theme for Lights! Canberra! Action! 2015 is Swings and Roundabouts, but the objects will only be revealed when the festival’s director calls “Action!” at 6pm this Friday 20 February at the Reception Room in the Legislative Assembly on London Circuit.

Crews will then have 10 days to write, film and edit their work for the festival, with close of entries of the films at 6pm on Monday 2 March at the same venue. The top 12 submissions will then be screened on Friday 6 March at 7:30pm at the Senate Rose Gardens at Old Parliament House followed by the awards ceremony. Entry is free for the screening, please note that those under 15 years of age must be accompanied by an adult. Films are rated MA15+.

Whether you like making films or watching films, it’s only a few days to go until…




the essentials

What: Lights! Canberra! Action!
When: Films are made between Friday 20 February and Monday 2 March; the screening is on Friday 6 March; Pre-entertainment at 7pm, screening 8pm. Films are rated MA15+
Where: Screening is at the Senate Rose Gardens at Old Parliament House
How Much: Entry to the screening is free.
Web: www.eormedia.com.au/lca


Anna Riddel

Anna Riddel is a singer, director, keynote speaker and a passionate teacher. In 2012, her song Breathe, received a runner up position in the USA International Song Of The Year Songwriting Contest. Anna is currently a Voice tutor at NIDA, as well as a tutor in Music Pedagogy at UNSW. Her company Speak Don’t Talk consults on voice and communication across a range of industries. Anna is an avid Brumbies fan and a self professed coffee snob. Follow her on twitter @annariddel More about the Author