Local and international film-makers will make their way to Gympie this week for the Heart of Gold International Short Film Festival (HOGIFF), featuring star judge Kitty Flanagan.

Held in richly historic Gympie from 8-11 October, Heart of Gold International Short Film Festival is one of the gems in the crown of Australia short film festivals.

The four-day program typically sees an opening night, gala awards evening, ‘filmmaker presents’ slots and up to 30 sessions cram-packed with over 120 short films from all genres.

The films are all competing for the best film award (which carries a prize of $5000), as well as a suite of other award categories including; best Australian film, best student film, screener’s choice, best cinematography, best narrative, most inspirational and artistic director’s awards.

Heart of Gold’s Artistic Director, Mandy Lake says all the films in this year’s competition are top quality shorts that will make you laugh, cry and everything in between.

“We have some great shorts this year from all over the world including one from Brisbane local, Broadie Pool who is a hot new filmmaker out of QUT. He won best filmmaker at Byron Bay International Film Festival, so he’s one to watch,” she says.

The competing films are all chosen based on HOGIFF’s film vision and need to be positive, witty, whimsical, entertaining, joyous, uplifting, quirky, enlightening and ground breaking.

“They can be edgy and thought-provoking or downright hilarious – as long as they beat with a good heart,” Mandy says.

“The judges will be looking for the film that most touches them, and has the most impact.”

This year’s judging panel will be packed full of top-level creative’s from all facets of the biz, including former Head of ABC TV Comedy and current Head of QUT Film, Screen and Animation
Geoff Portmann, Cinematographic legend Mark Wareham and comedian, writer and actor Kitty Flanagan.

Kitty Flanagan is an ambassador for the writers in the industry – so much so, she’s actually sponsoring this year’s Best Narrative award.

“Anything that encourages Australian filmmakers is important. You learn by doing. Making short films is one of the best ways to learn your craft,” she says.

“It sounded like a festival that was supporting and encouraging Australian filmmakers – so I thought I’d like to support and encourage this Australian film festival.”

Kitty believes Australian writers deserve more respect and money.

“People don’t seem to realise how important the writer is in the process. Everyone wants to be a director or an actor. But if there is no script then there is no film to make so nobody has a job. And I think writers should be paid accordingly.”

If film making is your passion, Mandy says there is no excuse why you can’t do it.

“If you think you have a good idea, don’t let other people tell you it’s not and make sure you see it through,” she says.

“There is no excuse not to be able to create your own feature – technology has never been better or cheaper. You can even use your phone, these days.”

The event will also see a range of activities, practitioner meets, workshops and ‘how to’ master classes including how to make your own films and zombie movies, how to do claymation and how to shoot a film on a small device like a phone.

The Heart of Gold International Short Film Festival will be held from 8-11 October at the Gympie Civic Centre in Gympie.

For more info visit www.heartofgold.com.au