Above: Screenshot from ‘Curated Illusions’, a film exploring the journey of a girl who has to rediscover who she is, after a car accident leaves her with amnesia.
Movies: they’re more than just escapism and an excuse to indulge in some extra buttery popcorn. They also have the power to introduce us to people and ideas we mightn’t otherwise encounter, and make us aware of worlds we didn’t realise needed our attention.
That’s what’s right at the heart of the Cause Film Festival, at the Riverside Theatre in Parramatta on Thursday March 8. It’s a gathering where filmmakers, charities, and anyone passionate about a cause, can share their message through the art of film and entertainment.
“Everybody loves film”, says Festival Director Suki Foster. “It entertains you, it makes you laugh, it makes you cry, and it lets you get educated without trying.”
Touching on issues as far ranging as cleft lip surgery in Sumatra to road safety and domestic violence, Foster also says the evening’s not just about enlightening people, but inspiring them:
“A lot of people might get the impression that a film festival about causes might be quite heavy, but these filmmakers are really very talented [and] they’ve managed to craft stories that are so educational, but they’re also uplifting. Having these short films about these kind of situations is a great way of just getting people to think, “Wow there’s so much good stuff going on in the world”.”
This year a number of fantastic films have made the short list, all in the running to see a charity of their choice receive funding toward their cause.
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I had a chance to catch up with three of the finalists; listen to their interviews below.
‘Curated Illusions’ – Rachael Belle Myers
After an accident leaves her with amnesia, Skye Reed tries to use her social media account to rediscover who she is. But when the online version of her life doesn’t reflect her reality, her world begins to crumble as she realises she doesn’t like the person she truly is.
Director Rachael Belle Myers said the film highlights the way we can craft our image to look like someone we’re not. “You want to share the best part your life… but I think there’s a very fine line between sharing the best version of yourself, and then curating another version of yourself,” she said.
‘Superheroes’ – Chris Busuttil
Hiding from their abusive Dad, two young brothers escape into the world of their favourite superheroes, avoiding what lingers outside their bedroom door.
Chris Busuttil said making the film was a way of seeking to get inside the child’s experience of domestic violence. “My point of difference was to really understand what happens surrounding the children,” he said. “How they deal with it, how they cope with it, how they struggle and how they survive.”
‘I’m Here Too’ – Brendan Byrne
Aimed at teen suicide prevention, the film is a relevant social commentary on a topic that is, unfortunately, often ignored, but one of the biggest silent killers of today’s youth. It’s an issue that is bigger than we realise, said filmmaker Brendan Byrne.
“Last year alone there were 3000 people in Australia who committed suicide, and I think society now is becoming more open to the suggestion that just because it’s not a physical issue that you can see, it is still an issue.”
Cause Film Festival is on at The Riverside Theatre in Parramatta, March 8. Find out more at the Cause Film Festival website.
If you or someone you know is in a crisis situation and needs immediate help, call Lifeline’s 24-hour support line on 13 11 14.