Cultures collide on big screen

Robert DoughertyBroome Advertiser
A still shot from Damian Walshe-Howling’s Messiah, filmed in northern WA.
Camera IconA still shot from Damian Walshe-Howling’s Messiah, filmed in northern WA. Credit: Supplied, Flickerfest, Flickerfest

Underbelly star Damian Walshe-Howling brings the Kimberley to life in the Flickerfest 26th International Short Film Festival.

Epic short film Messiah was written and directed by Walshe-Howling and was filmed on location in Kununurra last year, and details a light-hearted collision of cultures in the Kimberley wilderness.

The 17-minute cinematic short is the end result of the 2015 Lexus Short Films international competition, which grants winners the opportunity to produce a work with the Weinstein Company and tour international film festivals.

Walshe-Howling, who previously directed The Bloody Sweet Hit in 2007, and Suspended in 2013, said he was immediately drawn to northern WA as the film location when the story was being written.

“Stunning, stunning country, it’s sort of where I dreamed the story. It popped into my head and I started looking at the Kimberley online and thought ‘that’s where I want to shoot’,” he said.

“We filmed all around Kununurra, all through the stations there and Diggers Rest, El Questro, off-road as well.”

“A lot of the really big beautiful highways, Wyndham flats, out on the Ord river and around that area.”

The film beat about 2400 hand-picked works to make it to the 2017 Flickerfest national tour from January-May.

It willbe screened in Broome on Friday and Saturday at Sun Pictures.

The story follows two travellers, an Irishman and his Parisian girlfriend, who meet a stranger in the Kimberley wilderness.

The film stars David Gulpilil, Chloe Boreham, and Mark Coles Smith.

“I’d never actually met David (Gulpilil) before, and for me to write a piece for him and to have him say ‘yes’, was a career highlight for me,” Walshe-Howling said.

“I grew up watching him, saw Storm Boy when I was six years old.

“He has a special quality onscreen and to work with him was a really galvanising experience for everyone.” Foreign films on show include Lebanon’s Nocturne In Black, the Oscar-nominated Timecode, from Spain, and poetic animation Une Tete Disparait (The Head Vanishes).

Flickerfest 2017 winner of the Yoram Gross award for best animation, Fish With Legs, voiced by Frank Woodley and Barry Otto will also be screened, as well as a look into remote Aboriginal communities in Welcome to Country.

Tickets are available for $17 for adults, $13 for concessions, $12 for children and $55 for a family.

Best of International is on Friday at 7.30pm, with Best of Australian Shorts on Saturday at 7.30pm.

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