Tropfest 2018 receives a mysterious Ballarat entry

Screen dreams: Ballarat resident Elizabeth Wilson has entered short film 'Correspondence', which she wrote and directed into Tropfest 2018.
Screen dreams: Ballarat resident Elizabeth Wilson has entered short film 'Correspondence', which she wrote and directed into Tropfest 2018.

A young aspiring filmmaker from Ballarat is hoping to see her hard work make it on the big screen at the world’s biggest short film festival. 

Elisabeth Wilson has submitted the short film she wrote and directed, Correspondence, for the 2018 Tropfest competition. 

Correspondence follows an inquisitive young woman who starts a written dialog with an unseen man.

But nothing is what it seems on first glance. The story is told retrospectively by a narrator, eventually revealed to be on the other side of the correspondence. 

Elisabeth said the focus isn’t so much on the narrative as it is the characters, inspired by films like Amélie and The Grand Budapest Hotel

“We don’t know what happened to her, and he’s telling the story, and can tell it any way he likes,” she said.

“It’s kind of this very in-your-face male gaze, and we did it like that so people would watch it and wonder.

Currently studying graphic design at Monash University, she said her visual sensibilities informed the way the picture was constructed, with a restricted colour scheme and symmetry dominating the picture. 

“The film has a unique visual style with very quick edits to keep the pace of the story,” she said. 

“Colour is so important when conveying a story, and we’ve thought about space and patterns. It’s less of a conventional approach to filmmaking. 

“A lot of our shots are set up in a way that is symmetrical, to subtly create connections between scenes.”

Tropfest started from humble beginnings at Sydney’s Tropicana Café in 1993, where 200 people showed up for a screening organized by founder John Polson.

Elisabeth said while the film was originally conceived as a class project with two friends, it became clear that aiming for Tropfest would provide a launching pad for future work. 

“I like how Tropfest in a short film format, and how a lot of the films have very challenging ideas and they have a bit of a weird twist,” she said. “They’re always a bit dark, usually black comedy.”

“It’s encouraging to see that Australia has so much creativity in its film industry, and even undiscovered talent as well.

“The idea was to enter and get ourselves out there, and Tropfest is a step up towards make industry-level films.”

Taking care with what film looks like ... that's where it becomes more of an art form, rather than just about making money.

Elisabeth Wilson