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Locals featured in smart phone festival talk about filmmaking

Two locals whose works will be screened in the 7th Australia’s international smartphone film festival, the SmartFone Flick Fest (SF3), told the South Sydney Herald what it took to make their films.

Thirteen-year-old Eedi Mar-Young of Alexandria worked with friends Grace Li and Isabelle Glass on The Last Stall, which was chosen as one of the best 25 shorts by filmmakers 16 and under to be screened at the Actors Centre in Leichhardt on Sunday February 27.

It was the first film the trio had ever made.

“Myself and Isabelle (Izzy) were friends from primary school and we met Grace at the NIDA workshop,” Eedi said.

“We shot mostly everything in one day. The next day, Izzy came wearing something different, so they had to shoot everything again! Ha ha!”

“We asked each other what jobs we wanted to do. We each chose and there were no clashes. It just flowed.”

Caption: Eedi Mar-Young of Alexandria (pictured) worked with Grace Li and Isabelle Glass on The Last Stall, which is a finalist in the SF3 Kids category. Photo: Supplied

All three worked on the script, with Grace as director, Eedi editor, producer and actor and Isabelle also acting in the film.

“Sometimes other people would come into the bathroom whilst we were filming and we were like arrrhhhhhh!” Eedi said.

Sydney’s 2021 lockdown meant the SF3 Mini category (formerly the “Iso” Award) came into its own for films 3 minutes or less. With a theme of “RISE” – these movies partnered with the United Nations Association of Australia.

Day 62 by local filmmaker Steve McGrath of Camperdown features in this category, and Steve explains how the film was both affected and propelled by the Covid pandemic.

“I had scheduled to shoot my most ambitious and daring film ever as my 2021 submission to SF3, with an actual cast and crew, on the first day lockdown began in NSW. It was to be shot on location in an Illawarra rainforest infested with snakes, spiders, feral deer, mosquitos and leeches. I had packed more salt (to get the leeches off) than actual film equipment to take to location.

“Instead, I ended up making a film in my kitchen where the greatest danger would be that my toast would burn.

“During the first dark days of winter lockdown, I began writing a dramatic and psychological study of life in lockdown as a documentary. Then I suspected that every other film maker would be doing the same thing. I also feared that, once lockdown ends, people will be so over lockdown they will be out doing freedom and won’t have time to sit through a film about lockdown.

“On precisely day sixty-two of lockdown, instead of a complex drama I decided to make a short comic take on mental health during lockdown. Lockdown meets break down in Camperdown.

“I also seized the day and called it Day 62.

“I’m not sure if that’s what Robin Williams meant when he said ‘Seize the day’ but I had nothing else to seize.

Day 62 is an expressionistic mind opera without words. It’s about breakfast being the most important part of the day, especially when you have it at lunchtime.

“Whilst I didn’t have to endure leaches and brown snakes in my kitchen, filming with a mobile phone is not without its hazards. Several takes were ruined by text messages from Craig Kelly, claiming that if I voted for his party, lockdown would never interrupt my freedom again. I replied; explaining that his texts were interrupting my lockdown.

“In the midst of the global emergency while scientists worked overtime to make the world safe, I was able to make breakfast and art merge.”

SF3offers over $50,000 worth of prizes, including mentorships, classes, memberships, apps, lenses, mics, phones, tablets and more.

It will be live on screen in-cinema in Paddington and Leichhardt over the weekend of February 26-27, 2022, plus online until March 13.

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To book, visit www.SF3.com.au

See our earlier story about this year’s SF3 here.

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