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Melbourne International Film Festival, Accelerator – Continental Drift

By | Short Film | No Comments

“Continental Drift” my VCA graduate short film had its Australian premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival recently. It was great to catch up with some cast and crew, and see the film again in front of a packed cinema audience.

I did an interview with MCV about the MIFF screening, in which I mentioned how great it was to have my Australian premiere at MIFF in Melbourne where I live. You can check out the interview here.

I also flew back from overseas to take part in the intensive Accelerator program, which is designed to boost selected filmmakers from a shorts to features career. I saw some interesting films, heard some interesting talks and met some great filmmakers.

MIFF Accelerator provides four days of workshops, screenings, seminars and networking events on the business and creative aspects of the film industry by leading local and international film practitioners for 15-20 short film directors seeking to make the transition to feature film making.

MIFF Accelerator occurs during the MIFF weekend of shorts screenings which includes public screenings of the Accelerator participants’ short films in specially-tagged Accelerator Screenings to the general public and concludes with the MIFF Shorts Awards.

Submissions: Aust Shorts for Bangalore Queer Film Festival

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Randy Freaked-Out Psychedelic Homosexy Koalas

There’s been an explosion of queer film in recent years, with festivals and web shows popping up all over the place. Gaymazing!
But as queer films have expanded the niche, have they lost their radical edge? I don’t think so, help me prove it.

I’m currently putting together another program of Australian queer short film, documentary and video art for the Bangalore Queer Film Festival 2012, like this one from 2009. Like last time, I’m open to anything about any aspect of queer life, sex or gender, that exists beyond the edges of mainstream gay culture – funny, wacky, serious, challenging, thought-provoking, moving or just plain weird.

I’ll be including some amazing films from a program I put together a few months ago entitled “Randy Freaked Out Psychedelic Homosexy Koalas” – from slutty musicals, to arty fantasies about hot babes in the lockup referencing the 90s explosion in gay indy filmmaking, to a gentle comedy about cute girls having an awkward per-zine style literary romance, to digital stories by sex workers.

Get in contact asap and let me know if you’ll be submitting your film, submissions close 20th January 2012.

Contact me here.

Please send a link to a digital version if possible, or you can post a DVD to:

Anna Helme, 191a Smith St, Fitzroy, VIC, 3065

Continental Drift DV Footage

By | Current Projects, Film Projects, Photography, Short Video | No Comments

Things have been very quiet on this blog for months, as I’ve been in pre/production for my short film Continental Drift. Plenty of interesting stories to tell from the process, but for now, while still in post, here’s a snippet about some of the footage we have been collecting for the project.

Most of the film is shot on Super 16mm film, however the protagonist, Adele, shoots video on her DV handycam throughout the film – a comment on how she as somebody with intimacy issues mediates her experiences through the camera, and the voyeuristic nature of being a tourist, as well as a way of getting inside her head as a character. Most of the time the footage is diagetic, inherent to the film, as video she or others is clearly shooting as part of the action. At some other particular times we are using DV footage as emotional atmospheres.

Michael Williams, our wonderful DOP, and myself went down to the bay in Melbourne last weekend to capture some sunset over the water and later the moon, both important textures in the film. Speaking of textures, some of the way the DV camera handles the light on water and other parts of the landscape is just beautiful! Who really needs all that resolution, all the time? This is ungraded, raw DV handycam footage.

Some pictures of our expedition…

Michael Williams, DOP, Fine Art Photographer, Beach Lover

Michael Williams, DOP, Fine Art Photographer, Handycam Appreciator

Continental Drift (working title)

By | Current Projects, Film Projects | One Comment

I’m just starting pre-production on my VCA graduate film “Continental Drift”. I’ll be taking a bit of a European, understated approach for this film, and creating a richly atmospheric visual style. The script is very close to final draft, and we’re beginning to look at casting, crew and securing our locations. I’m really happy to have the lovely Ruth Morris as my Producer, and Kathy Helme (my sister) on board as my fantastic Production Manager for the third time. Very exciting to be getting into the swing of things!

Coastline Settings in Continental Drift


Adele is a young Australian woman struggling to find herself after a break-up. She travels in Croatia in 2001, not long after Yugoslavia was torn apart by war. Staying in an empty hostel by the sea, she meets Antonija and Aleks, whose stories of love and loss reveal some of the painful fractures these conflicts created within families and communities. Contrasts between cultures and experiences mean that Adele becomes a catalysing force, creating change in the lives of people she has these intense, yet brief, encounters with. This moody, romantic drama, set amongst beautiful landscapes, and the rich culture and passionate people of the region, explores the uncanny intimacy that can develop between strangers, and the poignancy of ephemeral romance.

Coastline References for Continental Drift

Production Details

Director: Anna Helme
Producer: Ruth Morris
Shoot Dates: September 2011
Duration: 15mins (approx)
Shooting Format: Super 16mm Film
Location/Studio: Melbourne Metro & Bays

All Cats Are Grey

By | Blog, Snippets | No Comments

This lolcat tolcat lovecat is about to tuck in to a delicious slice of Levinhurst

Dammit. Missed out on tickets to The Cure’s “Reflections” show at the Sydney Opera House at the end of the month. They are playing their first three albums – Three Imaginary Boys, Faith and Seventeen Seconds. Would have loved to witness the minimal synth grandeur of those albums in all their truly depressing glory… perfect at the Opera House!

Production Stills – Shyness Is Nice

By | Film Projects | No Comments

Finally, a chance to post some production stills from my upcoming film “Shyness Is Nice”, currently in post-production. We shot on 16mm over three lovely days in Fitzroy, Collingwood & North Fitzroy. I still can’t quite believe what we got away with shooting in the supermarket during opening hours… here’s a blurb about the film:

“MAXINE MCQUEEN. WRITER. LIBRARIAN. DILETTANTE. TROUBLE-MAKER.”  That’s how Max likes to think of herself. But in reality, she saves her insouciance for the pages of her zine, and is a total geek when it comes to girls. Shyness is Nice is a short film about a quiet type who gently ponders the philosophy of love, while living in a fantasy world where romance and chaos swirl around her, sweeping her into the arms of cute girls wherever she goes. In reality, she is a shy librarian who thinks she is too awkward to ever find love, but maybe there’s a dork like her out there somewhere..

Max (Emily Goddard) & Frances (Annie Last)

Max (Emily Goddard) & Frances (Annie Last)

Ingrid (Kelli Jean Drinkwater) & Calvin (Zero)

Gerry (Paul Bourke)

Some of the hard-working crew... 1st AC (Rudolf Fitzgerald Leonard) & D.O.P. (Joshua Aylett)

Production Stills – Ghoulbert Gets Good / Vladimir Von Krow

By | Film Projects | One Comment

I finished writing and directing my first film of the year last week. Just got the rushes back, they look great! After working for 15 years with (mostly SD) video, shooting on film (16mm) is a revelation. The Kodak 500T we used looks grainy but gorgeous. I took the opportunity to be a bit more creative directing the camera than I have previously, using more moving shots, creating a very constructed, yet hopefully dynamic, comic feel.

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Catharsis: Trust, Harold and Maude, Edward Scissorhands

By | Blog | No Comments

Catharsis is a point in the narrative of a film when an emotional realisation or internal transformation occurs, experienced by the audience, and often felt via identification with the simultaneous cathartic renewal of the protagonist. Not to be confused with the crisis, when the forces of antagonism reach their dramatic pinnacle, it is rather the release of these traumatic tensions within a film, as evidenced below in the examples of Hal Hartley’s Trust (1990), Hal Ashby’s Harold and Maude (1971) and Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands (1990).

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Critical Commons

By | Web Development | No Comments

I recently finished another iteration of development on the Critical Commons website, with Andy Nicholson of Infinite Recursion. Critical Commons is an online resource for film educators that pushes the boundaries of fair use (copyright) legislation by making clips from films available with academic commentaries, in both text and audio format. The site, devised by the USC School of Cinematic Arts Institute for Multimedia Literacy, enables lecturers to organise collections of clips and commentaries as lectures for classroom delivery. The website is built on the Plumi software, which was created by EngageMedia – a free open source software project to create a video sharing web application based on the Plone content management system.

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