Description: Alice Springs’ first international documentary film festival
When: 5-8th May 2016
Where: Alice Springs Northern Territory, Australia
Festival directors: Alex Kelly
Co-founders – Anneke Rose, Matt Woodham
Something Somewhere Film Festival is Alice Springs first locally programmed international film festival. SSFF has been kicked off by three close friends who work in arts and media and wanted to see Alice have its own film festival.
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) Film makers, sponsors, journalists,
Funders: Festivals NT, Screen Territory, Alice Springs Town Council. Bertha Foundation
1. Congratulations! Why did you begin the Something Somewhere Film Festival?
We love film, we love Alice Springs and we love DIY projects!
We think film is a powerful way of bringing people together and starting conversations and we wanted to bring relevant global films to Alice that may not otherwise be screened here.
2. Why now and why in Alice Springs, Central Australia?
Alice Springs loves film – the visiting film festivals Human Rights and Arts Film Festival, Sydney Travelling Film Festival and Flickerfest always do well here as do local short film festivals, but we’ve never had our own international film festival programmed by locals. We think programming with local knowledge means we will pick films that the local community will enjoy, but that can also spark debate or advance current conversations about local issues.
We also have a vibrant film making community with the remote media associations, Central Australia Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA), filmmakers like Warwick Thornton, Rachel Perkins and many more based here – but we’re stretched, have little resources and are not on the map as a sector. We hope the festival can help promote and support local talent to continue to thrive.
3. How have you selected the films?
In 2015 the SSFF team attended the world’s largest documentary film festival; International Documentary Festival of Amsterdam, Holland and our Director Alex Kelly attended a swag of festivals including Sundance Film Festival, USA, True/False Film Festival, USA, Toronto International Film Festival, Canada and CPH:DOX, Denmark. Across these festivals and through independent research we estimate we watched over 120 documentaries and still we found it tricky to choose eight films to showcase at our inaugural festival.
We wanted to select films that were diverse - in terms of subject, topic, location, style and creative team, and which we felt had some connection or resonance with the Alice Springs community. We also wanted to present brilliant films that we would enjoy watching in terms of filmmaking craft, not just on the merit of their content. This meant that there were many superb films that we had to pass over as we just didn’t feel that they fit all of our criteria.
4. You’re featuring ‘territory tales and global stories.’ Can you talk a little about the films you’ve selected?
We are very proud of our selection, particularly to have a World Premiere of a documentary partially shot in our region with Robert Nugent’s Night Parrot Stories, an Australian premiere of Above and Below and the fact that all eight films are Alice Springs premieres.
We have curated films which we think will appeal to different parts of the Alice community – we’re hoping the motorsports community will turn out for the fast paced Speed Sisters, that members of the Sudanese community and indigenous musicians will attend Beats of the Antonov and anyone interested to learn more about Pine Gap, surveillance and the NSA leaks come along to Citizenfour.
5. What type of feedback have you received so far?
The buzz is amazing already – we’ve had lots of great feedback from a cross section of the Alice community and tickets are already selling fast – which is unusual in Alice.
6. Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
We know that Alice Springs is a film loving community – if anything the feedback so far has just affirmed that we’re on the right track, which is a great feeling.
7. What are you looking to achieve by having your film festival more visible on this platform?
We’d love to see interstate and international filmmakers visit SSFF in the future and we really hope to put this festival on the map.
8. Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film festival’s message?
Filmmakers, film lovers, sponsors, funders, partners, journalists and writers. We welcome guest reviewers – please get in touch!
9. What type of impact would you like this film festival to have?
We really want to become part of the annual Alice Springs calendar so we hope that we attract strong audiences – but most importantly start interesting conversations and connect new sectors of the community who may not already know each other.
11. Lastly, what’s a key question that will help spark a debate about this film festival?
Is the desert really the middle of nowhere? Could it be the middle of somewhere?