Film­mak­ing on the fly

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Film - Sara Fitz­patrick

IT is a su­per con­cept – film­mak­ers shoot one reel of silent Su­per 8 film last­ing three-and-a-half min­utes and WAAPA stu­dents com­pose the sound­track with­out even meet­ing the di­rec­tor.

This is the Revel-8 film com­pe­ti­tion: a cel­e­bra­tion of lo-fi grass­roots com­mu­nity film­mak­ing and Aus­tralia’s only Su­per 8 Fes­ti­val.

It is in its 11th year and has a loyal lo­cal fol­low­ing.

Pre­sen­ter Keith Smith, co­or­di­na­tor film and video at ECU, in­her­ited the idea from the pre­vi­ous Pan­dora’s Box su­per 8 film fes­ti­val.

He said shoot­ing on Su­per 8 cam­eras was an im­me­di­ate ex­pe­ri­ence. It usu­ally took an af­ter­noon to make the film, with shots taken one af­ter the other in se­quence and no re­takes.

“The film­maker has planned it all out be­fore­hand and then they shoot it – some peo­ple un­kindly call that Rus­sian roulette film­mak­ing,” Smith said.

“It’s very lib­er­at­ing be­cause once it’s done, it’s done – there is no post­pro­duc­tion, how­ever you’re wait­ing un­til the ac­tual night of the screen­ing to see what you’ve shot.

“When we get the film back from the lab­o­ra­tory we give it to com­po­si­tion stu­dents at WAAPA.

They ran­domly get as­signed a film, look at it and with­out talk­ing to the film­maker go: ‘Oh, what is this film about?’.

“The di­rec­tor hasn’t seen the film or heard the sound­track, doesn’t even know if it’s all black or prop­erly ex­posed.”

What sounds like a stress­ful ex­pe­ri­ence – wait­ing to see your film on the night – is ac­tu­ally just the op­po­site, Smith said.

“Peo­ple who take part are usu­ally first-time film­mak­ers who might come from an artis­tic back­ground but have never ac­tu­ally made a film and what we do at Revel-8 is sort of men­tor the process of work­ing on the old Su­per 8 cam­eras, which is quite a sim­ple process.

“I give them a few tips and off they go. They bring the film back, cross their fin­gers and we see how it all turns out on the night.”

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d471246

Revel-8 film com­pe­ti­tion co-or­di­na­tor Keith Smith.

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