Working for Change
We speak to award-winning Aussie filmmaker, Genevieve Clay, about her role in the first ever Live & Love Short Film Competition.
For Genevieve Clay, filmmaking is about more than just entertaining audiences. This talented young director believes that film can be a medium for change and has long been using her films to address issues of social justice.
"I love advocating for filmmaking as something that can be used for the purposes beyond entertainment," Clay tells FILMINK. "While a film should be entertaining, it can also make an incredible impact on a person through the themes and ideas it carries. I always want to make films that leave a message with people."
Indeed, Clay has received numerous accolades for her socially-conscious films. In 2009 she won the top prize at Tropfest for her touching and funny short film Be My Brother, a story about a young man with Down Syndrome which challenged social perceptions of people with disabilities.
Since then Clay has successfully continued to use her flair for filmmaking to question societal prejudices and promote a more socially inclusive film industry by working as a director for Beyond Vision, Australia's first theatre for blind actors.
It was her passion for film and her strong personal conviction that led to her involvement in the inaugural Live & Love Short Film Competition. The competition, an initiative of The Australian Herpes Management Forum, is aimed at destigmatising HSV - the Herpes Simplex Virus that is frequently associated with cold-sores and genital herpes.
Clay will be part of the judging panel, along with Beached Az series' creators Anthony Macfarlane and Jarrod Green, HSV experts Dr Catriona Ooi and Professor Adrian Mindel, and HSV sufferers Cassandra Hawkins and Paul Kerr.
Clay was eager to participate in the competition after learning that one in eight Australians have HSV.
"I thought it was important because awareness within society is key to understanding subjects and issues more clearly. I think that there is a need for more understanding on a wide range of different issues within our society, HSV is one of them," explains Clay.
The competition challenges budding filmmakers across Australia to create a 30-second film that dispels misconceptions about HSV. Entrants must choose from a list of messages (found on the competition website) and use their film to communicate this message to create open discussion and help reduce the stigma associated with HSV.
While Clay concedes that creating a 30-second film can be difficult, it's not an impossible feat. "The challenge of creating a 30 second film is an innovative and creative way of broadening a filmmaker's skills. I think entrants will need to think outside the box to get their messages across," she advises. As a judge, she says she will be looking for "entries that explore different genres and mediums and have clearly driven a point home in a creative and engaging way."
The finalist films will be screened at the Live and Love Short Film Competition Awards in Sydney on October 19, where the winner will receive a cash-prize of $10,000, while five ‘People's Choice' recipients will win $1,000 each.
Clay hopes that up-and-coming filmmakers will embrace the idea of using film to educate others and challenge perceptions. "The competition presents filmmakers with an excellent opportunity to use the power of film to implement social change by facilitating community discussion about a topic still considered taboo."
Entries for the Live & Love Short Film Competition close on September 24. For more information visit the website here.
Picture caption: Clay at Tropfest 2009, courtesy of Getty Images. Taken by Gaye Gerard.