Every year the Gold Coast Film Festival showcases exciting up and coming local talent, and this year is no exception.
Local names in this years festival include Josh Hale, co-producer of hilarious mockumentary Digital Athletes: The Road to Seat League, Jude Kalman, producer of Uncontained Love: Love > Fear, and Blake Northfield, actor and producer of horror film Out of the Shadows.
Digital Athletes: The Road to Seat League
After moving from California to the Gold Coast at the age of 14 from California, Josh Hale discovered his interest in filmmaking; condensing films of local skateboarders in his spare time. Hale went on to complete a course at the New York Film Academy to better understand the craft.
Digital Athletes is Hale’s first feature film as a director and, despite some financial setbacks, Hale took to the challenge like a duck to water. Digital Athletes is a wonderfully humorous and engaging film that follows the story of Carter Hudson, a small time promoter as he attempts to launch a national championship solely based around video gaming.
Hale, a hobbyist gamer himself, is incredibly proud of the film’s outcome.
“The cast and the crew were amazing, particularly my fellow producers, Stephen Simmons and Vito Leo. I’m so proud of the product we created, despite having such a low budget to work with,” said Hale.
Digital Athletes was created with a $5000 budget and filmed solely on the Gold Coast.
“The crew went above and beyond, as did the cast, which made the whole process really enjoyable,” said Hale.
Hale noted the incredible film locations that the Gold Coast has to offer: from the hinterlands to friendly locals letting filmmakers such as himself shoot on location.
“The beaches are insane, and then you have the wonderful hinterlands and then right through the middle you get almost a city vibe!” he said.
The Gold Coast is so unique it’s like a small town at the same time – it has everything!
Hale initially avoided comedies, due to this genre stereotypically being harder to master.
“I always felt the comedy side was where I fit and eventually, I decided to trust that I was capable of doing this genre and went for it!” he said.
Hale hopes that Digital Athletes will give the audience a breach from their daily routine.
“I’d love for people to enjoy the madness of [Digital Athletes] and walk away laughing. I wanted it to be an opportunity for escapism,” he said.
From an early age Jude Kalman always dreamed of winning an Oscar, skipping her maths classes at Burleigh’s Marymount School to attend speech and drama classes.
Jude later started a film and television degree at Nathan, but when an opportunity to work on the set of Scooby Doo presented itself, she jumped straight into the industry instead.
Jude’s latest film Uncontained Love is a sequel to her previous documentary Uncontained Love – Zambia. Her most recent addition focuses on the outcome of an aid program supporting families in Zambia and includes interviews of doctors, patients and teachers that have benefited from Gold Coast support.
Jude created the documentary as a one-woman show. She shot the footage in Zambia, coordinated interviews and edited the film herself.
There is so much more opportunity for potential filmmakers on the Gold Coast today,
Jude urges aspiring filmmakers to take advantage of the increasing demand for diverse content and to aim past big budget films.
“Follow your passion, the demand for content has completely changed since I started in this industry. Independent people now have far more opportunities and the Arts sector on the Gold Coast has become increasingly more supportive of film culture after discovering the wonderful talent the Gold Coast has to offer,” she said.
June advised that budding filmmakers should he story-oriented.
“Whether it’s a thirty second video on Instagram or a two hour film, make sure you master the art of storytelling,” she said.
Jude will premiere Uncontained Love: Love > Fear and will appear in a Q+A following the screening of her film, which takes place Thursday 20 April at Event Cinemas Robina from 6.30pm.
Out of the Shadows
Multi-talented Blake Northfield acted in and produced horror film Out of the Shadows. Like many local producers, Northfield tackled the issue of funding early on.
“It was a hard process. It took a couple of years for us to raise enough funding and we went about this our own way because we weren’t eligible for funding through Screen Australia,” he said. “This trend is becoming a new wave of producing.”
Blake emphasised the importance of perseverance for budding producers in the Australian film industry.
“It’s a lonely world, you’re on your own and only you can do it. The support (from family, fellow producers and advisers) is great but it’s on you as a producer to say: right now nothing else matters more than making this movie,” he said.
Blake noted that onset experiences make the arduous process worthwhile.
“My favorite part [of Out of the Shadows] was the day I walked into Fox Studios in Sydney to see Chris Gordon composing a fifty piece orchestra. Sitting down and watching this guy who composed the likes of Master and Commander and Mao’s Last Dancer absolutely topped it!”
Blake is currently working on another project and will continue filming into early next year.
From limitless filming locations to support systems of fellow filmmakers, there are plenty of opportunities for aspiring filmmakers on the Gold Coast. The Gold Coast Film Festival runs from 19 – 30 April with a huge program of events being held all over the coast. Visit gcfilmfestival.com for the full program.
IMAGES (L to R): Josh Hale by Vito Leo (c) Halestorm, Jude Kalman (c) Gold Coast Bulletin, Blake Northfield (c) Karim Konrad Photography