In Year 8, I turned the scene where youngen Scout Finch sees Mr Cunningham outside the courthouse into a monologue. I then made my English class follow me to the front school gates where I performed said monologue. I was a hit. One, because I'd rehearsed the bejesus out of the piece but also because I really really liked Scout. She was young but feisty and opinionated and all the things I wasn't at 13.
I continue to have an appreciation for literature that has young protagonists at the helm. They have a certain sense of wisdom and an unwavering fascination with the world around them. Through the eyes of these little people, we see ourselves - often, the absurd, vulnerable and pathetic aspects that we dare not reveal to the other adults in our lives. Quite sad, no?
In celebration of child protagonists, and in preparation for the upcoming Tropfest Film Festival (Parramatta Park, Saturday 11 February) I thought I'd share with you my fav Tropfest kid-centric films. Some will make you cry, others laugh. But all will make you reconsider your skills as a filmmaker because they're all so damn good that you start questioning how to make your sixth draft good enough to stack up to these and then confusion sets in because you've been exposed to new ways of telling stories and then you look at your sixth draft and make changes and time slips away from you and then you're 98 and laying on your deathbed and still haven't finished the sixth and final draft for the short film you wanted to produce when you were 32.
I'm currently writing my sixth draft.
1. LAMB | Winner of Tropfest 2002 | Directed by Emma Freeman
Oh, man. Keep watching to the end. Heart strings. Pulling. Danke tschuen.
2. FiXeD | Tropfest Finalist 2014 | Directed by Codey Wilson and Burleigh Smith
So friken sweet and innocent and many many lols.
3. Amalia Lucia Gomez is Gluten Intolerant | Shortlist Tropfest 2013 | Directed by Shideh Faramand
Stylistically, solid. Fun and quirky while retaining a strong message. (Look out for Frida!)
4. Alice's Baby | Tropfest Finalist 2012 | Directed by Eva Lazzaro
And here we go again with the heart strings...
5. Pinata | Tropfest Finalist 2015 | Directed by Bill Northcott
I guess what we learn from these five films is that a. short films are often best when kept to one very simple idea. And b. kids are more resilient and braver than we can ever dream to be.