Flickerfest brings Canberra filmmaker’s short film to the big screen

Jill Hogan


Short film festival Flickerfest is headed back to Canberra on March 17, with their 2016 Best of Australian Shorts. Amongst the lineup is Canberra filmmaker Vanessa Gazy’s first major short, Foal, a 24-minute period drama.

“It’s quite a dark drama about a woman who lives on a remote isolated property, she’s got a young daughter and her husband’s away and he’s been away for an extended period of time as a drover and meanwhile there’s a passing horseman who comes and they fall in love,” she said.
“Meanwhile her young daughter is sort of falling in love in her childish way with him so it’s kind of a bit of a strange, unconventional love triangle, and it’s about the repercussions of what happens when the husband returns. So it’s kind of intended to be a dark feminine story which situates you in a period setting but tries to take a modern take on the feminine and the complexities of femininity.”

The short was filmed in 2014 at the rural homestead in Namadgi National Park, just south of Canberra.
“Finding the homestead there was amazing because it was kind of like stumbling upon a secret. We ended up going around and meeting a lot of locals in the area and a lot of them had personal connections to the farmhouse,” she said.

“It just seemed like such a privilege to be able to film there and to speak to all those people about what it must have been like for the actual people that lived there, because it’s so isolated and when you go there there’s such a feeling of complete isolation and total silence except for the wind and the kangaroos.”

Gazy is now based in Sydney, but comes back home “every other week” to visit family and work. She said she loves using the natural environment of Canberra and the surrounds, having recently shot another short film Highway in Jindabyne.

“I’ve kind of gone back to Canberra region in a way cause that’s the landscape that most resonates with me.”

Keep an eye out for Gazy’s name in the future. She’s currently directing two music video clips, and thanks to Screen ACT grants is working on both a mini series and another short film. On top that, she’s in development for her first feature film.

“As a director you never know what’s around the corner, you just have to cross your fingers.”