Feast of feature films
By ISABELL PETRINIC
THREE short films produced by one Parramatta arts worker will be premiered at Riverside Theatres this Thursday, July 26, as part of an international film festival called Indie Gems.
They include Fairytale by Marie Setiawan of Fairfield, which centres on the complex relationship between a Chinese-Vietnamese woman and her Iranian boyfriend.
‘‘Sharing stories, as well as having audiences that are from diverse backgrounds, I think enables and creates a bridge among different cultures [and] starts intercultural dialogue,’’ said the film’s producer Amin Palangi, who is also the screen culture producer at the Parramatta-based Information and Cultural Exchange (ICE).
He said the three films were completed as part of a 12-week writing and editing project conducted at ICE two years ago.
Ten films were created. Of those, seven were submitted to the 2012 Indie Gems Film Festival.
‘‘We have at least 100 more entries in the festival [than last year] spanning all across Australia... so the wonderful thing for the viewers is they’re really going to be spoilt because we have chosen the best of the best — not only from Australia, but from around the world,’’ festival founder and filmmaker John L Simpson said.
For Mr Simpson, of North Rocks, a real highlight of the festival is an Indian film homage to Mahatmas Gandhi, written and directed by Amit Rai, to be screened on Sunday.
‘‘We particularly wanted to present an Indian film because we know we have a strong connection to India in Australia, but particularly in the west of Sydney,’’ Mr Simpson said of Finding Ghandi, which is based on a true life event.
‘‘Ghandi’s ashes, not many people know this, were split up into 50 different urns, with his desire to be spread over the whole continent on India.
‘‘But one of the urns was locked away by mistake and sat there for 40 years and Ghandi’s grandson [Tushar Arun Ghandi] discovered that the urn was still there.’’
So begins a journey to Sangam, to immerse the final ashes of Ghandi, who is considered to be the father of the Indian independence movement.
‘‘It is a beautiful drama,’’ said Simpson, whose credits include the 2008 drama Men’s Group.
He said the film festival aims to promote and celebrate independent films and film-makers.
The western Sydney resident was specially keen to encourage other local indie film-makers to find their voice and build contacts, which is why he has this year introduced a Best in the Best award for an independent feature film by a western Sydney film-maker.
The winner will be announced on closing night, along with other film awards.
There will also be networking opportunities with other indie filmmakers and key industry decision-makers throughout the festival.
Indie Gems includes the following Australian and international films, and film-maker opportunities:
Thurs day, July 26, 6.30pm: Networking event and shorts films screening;
Friday, July 27: The Officer’s Wife, documentary directed by Piotr Uzarowicz (7pm); 10 Terrorists, directed by Dee McLachlan (9pm);
Saturday, July 28: Indie Film production and distribution forum (11am); Bathing Franky, directed by Owen Elliot (2pm); shorts session 1 (4pm); Isolate, movie based on real events, directed by Martyn Park (6pm); The Sunset Six, directed by Jeremy Stanford (8pm);
Sunday, July 29: Shorts session 2 (noon); Bedlam, test screening for audiences to provide their feedback, directed by Simon Barker (2pm); Finding Gandhi, directed by Amit Rai (4.30pm); closing night event including Indie Gems Audience Choice Awards (7pm).