With the support of Screen NSW and Screen Australia, AFTRS graduate (2014) Cyna Strachan attended SxSW for the first time this year for the international premiere of her dramatic short Adult. Written and directed by Jamieson Pearce and co-produced by Liam Heyen - who Cyna met at AFTRS - Adult was one of only 17 films selected from over 3500 submissions in SxSW's Narrative Short Section, and one of the four Australian films screened at the festival this year.
For Rosie Lourde, who was on Screen Producers Australia's "Ones to Watch" list in 2015 and recipient of the prestigious Screen NSW Emerging Producer Placement in 2015, SxSW served as an educational mission on the emerging genre of Virtual Reality (VR). The Festival also provided Rosie with numerous opportunities to further develop her current VR project Breach, a 6 x 10 min VR series produced through the Screen NSW 360 Vision initiative and created in partnership with Sydney-based VR production company The Pulse.
"Working in VR it was invaluable to be in the room with the current leading practitioners at SxSW and hear them debate the industry landscape and where they think it's all headed," Rosie says. "With the technology and practices evolving so quickly, it's hard to keep up. To be able to connect directly with some of the people shaping the industry, hear about what drives them and experience the latest projects (those programmed and some not) was vital in not only framing how I see my own work but in inspiring how I want to participate in the development of the medium."
Ironically, it wasn't until after the Festival had concluded and both producers were in residence at Charlie's back in Los Angeles that they met for the first time. "It's so hard to find other people at these sorts of big festivals and conferences," Rosie says. "So it was such a random and lovely coincidence that we both happened to be at SxSW and Charlie's at the same time!
"I was actually the very first person to be in residence at Charlie's the week it opened and remember the guys from Screen NSW being so excited to get me in. So it's been really lovely coming back after all this time and seeing so many wonderful additions to the space, and meeting some of the other members," Rosie says.
According to Cyna, Charlie's proved a welcome and productive home away from home during what marked her first ever trip to Los Angeles. "Working from Charlie's has been a great way to recharge and refocus after SxSW, and collect my learnings as well as follow up on some contacts I made at the Festival," she says.
"I've been able to sit down and get budgets, schedules and creative material done for a few short films and projects I'm planning to shoot when I get back to Sydney in a beautiful, focused environment. It has also given me the opportunity to meet people - including everyone from Australians in Film - which is really important to me as I'm still very early in my career. And it's my first time in L.A. so it's been important having a base and somewhere to work from as it can be an overwhelming city," Cyna says.
As a producer, Cyna draws on her background and studies in music, art and design in her approach to filmmaking and has worked on productions for a range of commercial, television and film projects to date. She has also successfully crowd-funded and financed a number of short films and produced multiple music videos in collaboration with other emerging filmmakers.
As 2017 unfolds, Cyna's focus is on the continued promotion of Adult - the film received the Best Director Award at the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, the Emerging Filmmaker Award at the Sydney Queer Film Festival as well as inclusion at the Brisbane Queer Film Festival 2017, Toronto Inside Out Festival 2017 and St Kilda 2017. Further information about Adult can be found on the film's Facebook page: www.facebook.com/adultshortfilm
The rest of the year is shaping up to be just as busy for Rosie too - she is currently working on a number of other projects in addition to Breach including Torn, a 10 x half hour TV drama series created with Julie Kalceff and developed through Screen Australia's Gender Matters initiative; and supporting season 5 of the international multi platform drama series Starting From Now in which she stars as well as producing. The recipient of this year's IAWTV Diversity Award at the 2017 HollyWeb Festival, further information about Starting From Now can be found at www.youtube.com/user/startingfromnowtv1
Funded by Screen NSW, Screen Queensland, AFTRS and Film Victoria, Charlie's is based at Raleigh Studios in Los Angeles and was specifically built by AiF for Australian creatives visiting and working in Los Angeles.
AiF also welcomes American and international film and television industry professionals and companies to become members and recently celebrated the soft opening of its newest workspace The Creative Collective. Located below Charlie's at Raleigh Studios, The Creative Collective serves as a member's only workspace and the venue for AiF's industry and education panels. The venue will open officially in May with bookings for the space being taken now.
For further information, please contact Isabel on 323 433 1464 or firstname.lastname@example.org