Time to get filming for Understory

FILM makers have until October to get their entries in for the sixth Understory Film Festival.

Films in 7 categories, as well as the People’s Choice Award, will be considered for the prestigious award, which carries prize money as well as the coveted Understory Film Festival trophy.

Open to short films of any genre, last year’s Festival attracted 47 entries across various disciplines from documentaries and narratives, to experimental film, music videos and animations.

Mayor Bob Manning said the calibre of films being produced for the competition showed the film industry is alive and well in the Far North.

“If the last 5 years are anything to go by, the judges are going to have a really tough time coming to a decision,” Cr Manning said.

“We always celebrate when a big-name star or production house announces they will film in the far north, but it’s pretty clear that we have plenty of exceptional talent right here.”

Councillor Linda Cooper said the awards provided a springboard for existing and emerging film makers to share their stories with a broader audience.

“I’m certain that there are hundreds of residents out there who have a movie idea but haven’t had the chance, or the conviction, to commit it to film,” Cr Cooper said.

“The short-film format, just 8 minutes, is a perfect starting point for those who have a story to tell.”

In his first attempt at making a film, Zachary Harmer-Wise won the Best Emerging Talent category last year with My Parents.

“I’d always been interested in film so the Understory Festival was a great way to get motivated to produce my story,” Zachary said.

“I never thought that I would get short listed, yet alone win, so having My Parents included in the Cairns Queer Film Festival in June, is such an honour.

“I really urge other high-school students, and even younger kids, to just have a go, you never know what will happen.”

Applications close at 4pm on Friday 11 October or Tuesday 8 October for entries in the High School Student Category. The duration of films must be 8 minutes or less, including credits.

The sixth instalment of the official Understory Film Festival awards ceremony will take place in its new home at the Cairns Performing Arts Centre on Saturday 23 November.

Shortlisted entries will be shown and the winners announced, with the final category, the People’s Choice Award, to be determined by the audience on the night.

Tickets for the awards night will go on sale in late September via Ticketlink.

Find out how to enter


  • Best High School Filmmaker
  • Best Emerging Filmmaker
  • Best Music Video
  • Best Documentary
  • Best Screenplay
  • Runner-up Best Film
  • Best Film
  • People’s Choice

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