2019 BUFTA Winner – Austin Macfarlane

2019 BUFTA Winner – Austin Macfarlane

1. How did you hear about BUFTA and why did you decide to enter the competition?

I first heard about BUFTA was when I was in Year 9. Our media teacher, Mr Stephen Taggart, brought it to our attention and encouraged students to share their stories through this platform. Other Churchie students were nominees in previous years which motivated me to enter. I was fortunate enough to attend BUFTA as a nominee in 2018, and subsequently attended Bond’s cinematography course the following year. Both experiences demonstrated the friendly community & environment that Bond University provides.

2. What was the most rewarding experience you gained from the BUFTA experience?

There were a variety of great experiences I gained from BUFTA, most evident of which is gaining a full scholarship to attend Bond. In addition, I found that meeting like-minded people passionate about film, as well as people currently in the industry, was incredibly rewarding. The amazing work presented on the evening has pushed me to keep experimenting and keep improving my own work.

3. Are you looking forward to working on BUFTA behind the scenes?

To be a part of BUFTA as a nominee was an incredible experience – everything was conducted so professionally and seemed to run without a hitch. Yet it’s the behind-the-scenes working of BUFTA that really seems interesting to me, especially considering it’s Bond students who work tirelessly to run the whole event. During my BUFTA experience, all students created a welcoming environment for all the nominees, and it’s clear they have an energy and desire to showcase others works. It’s definitely something I’m looking forward to being a part of.

4. What is your favourite film genre and why?

I don’t really consider that I have a strong favourite genre, however the ones that come to mind are coming-of-age (The 400 Blows, Lady Bird, Swiss Army Man) and drama/thriller (Parasite, Whiplash, The Prestige). As much as film can be considered escapism, the relatability that comes with the coming-of-age genre is often unmatched. I really enjoy films that feel personal – films that I can connect with. On the other hand, there’s nothing like gripping your seat in a cinema, freaking out over a genuinely suspenseful scene.

Both films I entered into BUFTA – one about students skipping school, the other exploring the dynamics between friends under frightening circumstances – contain elements from both genres to a certain extent.

5. How long did your films ‘Mates’ and ‘White Knuckles’ take to make from start to finish?

It took about 4 weeks to produce White Knuckles alongside my other schoolwork, yet almost 3 months to create Mates from first generating the idea to the final export. Even now there’s a variety of things I’d change about both films, so it’s always difficult to tell when you’re really ‘finished’ with a particular project.

6. What is your ultimate career goal?

My career goal is to create films for my own and other people’s enjoyment. To work on a feature film in Australia or elsewhere would be the pinnacle, as I’m sure it would be for countless others. Ultimately, I’d like to be satisfied with the final result – if other people enjoy them that’d be pretty cool too. In the short-term, I’m looking forward to furthering my own filmmaking style over the course of the next 2 years at Bond.

7. Do you have any advice/tips and tricks for future BUFTA entrants?

I often come up with an idea for a film and think to myself that I’d love to see that story be told. Either I wait until someone miraculously produces it, or I make it myself. So, make the films you want to watch. Your unique passion and drive will be made known in whatever you set your mind to.

From a technical standpoint, many of the techniques I employ in my films derive from the films I love. So, keep watching movies!
Likewise, write what you know. If you hear a cool story or a funny joke, then I recommend you write that down. You never know, it might turn into a great film one day.