Queers at MIFF
Continental Drift is local filmmaker Anna Helme’s short film about a relationship between two women in Croatia. It’s part of this year’s Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) and Helme chatted with MCV about the film and creating Croatia in Melbourne.
Can you tell us about the film?
It’s a fictionalised autobiographical short film. It’s about a young woman who is travelling in the former Yugoslavia not long after it fell apart through civil war. She’s struggling with her ability to connect to people and a relationship that has gone wrong. She meets a couple who are on the run from black market gangs in Serbia who are hiding out in Croatia in a very isolated and abandoned building by the sea. A relationship develops between the main character and the woman who is part of this couple. It’s about the uncanny intimacy that can develop between strangers.
You say it was autobiographical, how close was it to your experience?
It’s definitely fictionalised, but about ten years ago I was doing a lot of live video art and VJing and I was on tour and putting on shows in Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia and we met a lot of really interesting people along our way. I was in Dubrovnik in Croatia and I stayed in this artist’s squat and I met this couple who this story is based on.
In terms of shooting this film, you had to create Croatia in Victoria, how did you do that?
That was one of the main challenges. I had quite a lot of photographs of the region and I also had about 20 hours of footage that I’d shot in those places which came in handy in terms of location scouting and we also ended up cutting some of the footage into the final film. For example, you can see the protagonist walking through the Abbotsford Convent and then it cuts to footage that I shot in this abandoned building in Dubrovnik.
Where else has the film played and what was the reaction?
It’s played at Frameline [Film Festival] in San Francisco which was amazing and the reaction was great. It was part of two programs, one was a bisexual program which was interesting and I guess the film just fits into that category, and the other one was Worldly Women which was queer women shorts from all over the world.
What does it mean to be part of MIFF?
It’s my Australian premiere and to have that in Melbourne where I live is really wonderful. The other angle is that I’m part of this accelerator program which is organised by Film Victoria and MIFF and it’s about helping emerging directors of short films transition to making features, and that’s what you hope for when you’re coming out of film school.
Continental Drift – Sunday August 12, 4pm @ Greater Union, Russell Street, Melbourne, For more information: www.miff.com.au