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by Matthew Eeles
As the festival director of the WA Made Film Festival, there’s no greater pleasure than viewing submissions.
In 2020, our inaugural year, we received over 90 WA-made shot films, feature films and documentaries.
Myself, and festival manager Jasmine Leivers locked ourselves in a private cinema for two whole days to watch and judge every submission on the biggest screen we could get.
As we made our way through each submission we were astounded by the quality of films coming out of Western Australia. Especially the short films, which I consider to be the backbone of the entire Australian film industry.
There’s nothing more rewarding than watching an up-and-coming filmmaker bare their soul in a short film format.
Half way through our viewing schedule Residue began.
From the moment it started, we could feel we were about to be treated to something special, and we weren’t wrong.
Written and directed by Kori Reay-Mackey and produced by Dan Thom, Residue is a touching, personal, poignant, relatable, and exceptionally well-crafted drama about a relationship breakup.
Residue follows two former lovers who reunite through returned belongings. The future of their relationship is tested by the feelings that still remain.
The team have now released Residue on YouTube for everyone to watch, and I urge you to check it out below.
Here, Kori Reay-Mackey writes an introduction to the film:
Since 2018, I’ve talked a bunch about our short film Residue in a couple of blog posts, Instagram shares, podcast interviews as well as on stage during a few Q&A’s. It doesn’t feel like there should be much more to say about it. At a certain point, it feels like its time to dig into new material to talk about online ad nauseum. But the life of a short film is interesting.
When we set out to make this little film, the intention wasn’t necessarily to set the short film festival circuit on fire. Now, would that have been nice if it happened? Absolutely, it would have been validating – and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want that. But we knew it probably wasn’t going to be that kind of film; it wasn’t shaking up narrative structure or playing with cinematic form in some unseen way or pulling the rug out from underneath you with a final twist and turn. The aim was to present something “simple” in narrative design, due to the limited runtime, but emotionally complex, filled with character motivations that had relatable contradictions. Hopefully, it would tap into something universal with its specificity.
After completing the film, we were lucky to have a few screenings here in Western Australia, including a couple of festivals, and getting to actually witness an audience response felt far more rewarding than getting a laurel to slap onto the poster – as nice as that feeling is. Getting your work seen in an age of nearly endless content is difficult, to say the least, and we find ourselves, as of writing this, in yet another snap lockdown. It’s in that moment of life coming to a brief halt that we’re releasing our film to the wider public.
Releasing such personal work is exciting and a little daunting. When it’s something you made years ago, there’s a fear it’ll no longer resemble a point of view that you believe in. At a recent screening, where there were a few friends of mine in attendance amongst a mostly fresh and unknown audience, I was relieved to feel that I could still connect with its message. After basically writing off my own work as “old news”, or as something which I now mostly just see the flaws in, it was a lovely experience seeing how fresh eyes and open hearts responded to the material. And despite all the things I wish I could go back and rewrite or reshoot, feeling the emotional response in the room made me remember that connecting with an audience is the most important part of cinema. The conversations had with audience members after the program ended were vulnerable and authentic. While that may be more difficult over the internet, we feel it’s time to turn off the password protection on the Vimeo link, upload it to YouTube, and get it to your screen if you want it to.
We hope that you choose the biggest display in your possession to watch it, with the best audio possible. And we hope it connects with you in some way. It was a film made with love about love … and we’d love if you watched it too. Lastly, we’d like to once again thank our GoFundMe contributors who made the production possible to begin with and allowed us to tell our story independently. We are forever grateful.