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Gold Coast Film Festival p3

Some favorite books of film makers at the Gold Coast Film Festival...

Daniel Monks is the lead actor, editor, co-producer and writer of Pulse, a movie about a gay, disabled teenage boy who is offered an experimental medical procedure: he can have his mind placed into the body of a young beautiful woman. He agrees, hoping it will bring him the love he wants. Mr Monks liked Actors at Work by Rosemarie Tichler, which he said he’d read about 25 times. It’s a book of interviews with a dozen actors, including Philip Seymour Hoffman and Dianne Wiest.
Cargo is a sort-of zombie movie: a mysterious virus is turning people into flesh eaters. Andy, a father, is bitten by his infected wife and has 48 hours to find someone to care for his children before he turns into one of these zombie-like creatures. The co-director of Cargo with Ben Howling, Yolanda Ramke, liked The Natural Way of Things, a novel by Charlotte Wood.
She also liked Making a Good Script Great by Linda Seger.
I saw a couple of short horror and thriller films at the festival (horror should have a supernatural element). And I caught the feature length movie Strange Colours. Alena Lodkina won the award for best independent feature film at the Gold Coast Film Festival for Strange Colours. It’s a beautifully shot film about a young woman, Milena, fresh out of uni, who heads to the picturesque, semi-arid Lightning Ridge opal fields, in western New South Wales, to visit her ailing, estranged father.
Other outback films, like Wake in Fright and Walkabout add to the tension of Strange Colours, as you expect the main character to face violence at any moment. Instead the colourful and somewhat alcoholic local miners, living in their home-made shacks in the scrub, seem solicitous about Milena, as they hopefully would be in real life. But you could take Max (Milena’s father) and his companions a couple of ways. There is a feeling of menace immanent in the film because Max could be manipulating his daughter into staying just so he’ll have someone to look after him. Manipulation is a form of violence: it causes pain and harm, and can wreck lives. Maybe Max only told the other miners to look after Milena so she could look after him. These miners include Frank, a young man who walks around in a fog because of a past trauma where he caused a death and spent time in jail. Max talks to Frank like he’s garbage, and Frank seems too broken to do anything about it. Maybe Milena will come under Max’s control, too.
The director of Strange Colours, Alena Lodkina, liked Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust. The book is the first of seven in the series In Search of Lost Time, in which the narrator attempts to recapture his past, writing about his memories of his bourgeois life in late 19th century, early 20th century Combray, in France.
She also liked Under the Sign of Saturn, a collection of essays by Susan Sontag. Another favorite was The Anarchy of the Imagination, which is a collection of essays and working notes by, and interviews with, film maker Rainer Werner Fassbinder.
If you’re a budding film professional, the GCFF is worth checking out, especially the free talks. Festivals, whether literary or for film, are positive, as long as they don’t exclude film makers for their politics or religious and other beliefs. Check out the Gold Coast Film Festival next year.

-copyright Simon Sandall