Submissions have just opened for the Victorian Multicultural Commission’s Multicultural Film Festival, encouraging aspiring filmmakers to highlight stories of diversity and inclusion.
Swinburne’s Film and Television and Social Sciences departments have partnered with the Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC) on the festival since 2018.
This year, the Multicultural Film Festival will be held on 26 August at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI). After being cancelled in 2020, this year's festival will expand to include school film screenings and awards.
The festival also involves a new ‘roadshow’ element, where a selection of films are shown to local communities. The first Swinburne/VMC reel has just begun its three month public screening at the Bunjil Place entertainment precinct in Narre Warren, Victoria. Other roadshows will occur in September and early 2022.
The VMC Multicultural Film Festival will be held on 26 August at ACMI
The importance of culture
Swinburne final year Bachelor of Film and Television (Honours) student, Rachel Chen, is currently having her film One, Two shown at Bunjil Place.
Rachel won the film festival’s ‘Encouragement’ award in 2019. She says her experience with the VMC has bettered her as a person.
“The multicultural theme of the festival has definitely changed my morals and principles when producing films…I now ask more ‘whys’ and really try to get an acceptable answer to why the representation of our films cannot be more inclusive.”
One, Two tells the story of a young migrant girl who wishes to pursue her passion for AFL, inspired by Rachel’s own childhood.
As an Australian-born Chinese person, Rachel wants to show the experiences of multicultural children who feel like they belong in a place where their parents are considered foreigners.
“My culture plays a huge role in shaping me as a person, my morals, principles and how I treat the people around me,” she says.
Trailer for Rachel Chen's One, Two
Deputy Chair of the Department of Social Sciences, Dr Glenda Ballantyne, and Lecturer from the Department of Film and Animation, Dr Vincent Giarrusso, have worked on the film festival since the beginning of Swinburne’s collaboration with the VMC. They encourage all students to submit films.
They support Swinburne entrants in developing their ideas and bringing them to life. Their research brings sociology and film together to explore second-generation young Australians’ experiences of diversity, racism and belonging.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for filmmakers of all ages to reflect on the rich tapestry of our constantly changing multicultural community through the creative medium of film,” says Dr Ballantyne.
Striving for greatness
Rachel says her skills and perspective as a future film and television producer have evolved since entering the Multicultural Film Festival and she hopes to continue making a positive impact in the future.
“I want to share stories of positivity and optimism as those films are the ones I have always enjoyed – and they also have the greatest chance to force audiences to question their own prejudices and stereotypes.”
Rachel’s advice to aspiring creatives? Make sure you can say “I tried my best” at the end of the day. “The way even if your plans don’t work out, you can tell yourself it’s okay.”