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Young Creatives Blog

My Ride with the Lotterywest Festival Films

Monday 14 March 2016

  • Review

I’ve seen fifteen of the PIAF Lotterywest films (five more to go), at the stunning Somerville or Joondalup Pines venues, on my ride so far. Given this is an international film festival, each week was distinctly different, for example an epic Grimms Brothers fairy-tale, A Tale of Tales, followed by a deeply thoughtful and gritty immigration story, Dheepan, counted as a normal double bill.

There have been films that have made me laugh, think and turn my nose up, but The End of The Tour would be the one I enjoyed the most. Sure, it’s not as zany as the biblical parody The Brand New Testament, but of all the films so far it feels the most like it did what it set out to do – start a conversation. Set in the mid 90’s, it follows a road trip with acclaimed author David Foster Wallace and journalist David Lipsky. Many of Wallace’s quotes and views about society at the time make you wonder what he’d make of today, but it’s also the most thoughtful, full-hearted and caring film of this Festival.  Director James Ponsoldt (also responsible for what I consider to be this decade’s best young adult film, The Spectacular Now) invites you to sit back and watch these two literary heads clash. Mental illness, fame and technology are all topics encouraged to be discussed, and gives you hope that people like Wallace are out there and looking at life in the way he did.

Besides the movies themselves, meeting director Piero Messina at the premiere of his debut film The Wait helped me recognise one of the most important necessities to have as an artist: the ability to focus on what’s right in front of you. Before The Wait, Messina’s attention was partly focused on how the audience and critics would react to his work. But after working with producer Paolo Sorrentino, his attitude changed, he said: ‘When I’m on set, it’s just me, the actor and the monitor. I do what I feel like. I don’t worry for one second what the critics could think. This was a very important thing to me – I was now able to dance with my crew and camera and actors. It was a liberation.’

As a filmmaker who has no constraints as to what I should make, no pressure on what direction I should go in, and no audience waiting to view my work, I’ve come to realise I’m in something of a dream position. I can make exactly what I want, and make it now. Sure, I mightn’t have much of a budget, but at the moment that’s the least of my worries. With all the resources, films and advice I’ve taken aboard as a Young Creative, I’ve got even more knowledge at my disposal. The only pressure I’m receiving is the pressure I’m putting on myself.  It’s really just me, the actor, and the camera. And that’s all I should ever need.


Young Creative: Lotterywest Festival Films

Written By Finnian Williamson