RICHARD SOWADA – ON THE REVELATION FILM FESTIVAL IN AUSTRALIA
Posted by Vivek on September 8, 2013 | No Comments
The Revelation Film Festival, is one of the gems, for the true independent filmmaker. Here we talk to the “passion and the energy” behind the festival, Richard Sowada:
A little about yourself, from a film perspective?
I’ve always been a huge film fan, spending many, many hours in the dark in flea-pit independent theatres in the late 70s or watching late-night TV. As with many young film enthusiasts, my interdiction was through horror and science fiction films. The more I dug, the more I discovered and that introduced me to a whole world of independent spirit and independent cinema from the likes of Russ Meyer, William Castle, Ed Wood and others. Watching these alongside works from some of the Masters I developed a real love for the unusual and different. From there one thing led to another from working as usher, to ticket seller, to cinema manager, to programmer, to curator, to distributor – to basically anything I could do in the industry – which is what I still do right down to projecting when the opportunity arises.
Talk to us about the idea behind the creation of the Revelation Film Festival and how have you seen it evolve since inception to the current edition, which concluded recently?
Revelation was – and still is – a work in progress. Early in my journey in the film industry I tried very hard to find work in the distribution and programming area. I heard directly from some of the people I had my eye on working for that I was “too independent”. From there I felt they can have their audience and I can have mine – completely outside the established structures. So – I began to curate my own programs in bars and clubs around the country – just me and my collection of 16mm projectors. I’d do all the publicity including sticking up posters, find the films, do the artwork, project them and pretty well everything. Again one thing led to another and these free-er concepts really connected with audiences and evolved into the festival rather than one off events. As I began to be offered 35mm films I had to move out of bars as the only venue and into cinemas – which is where we are 16 years later. The heart is still the same and we actively encourage these other kinds of activities knowing that this microcinema movement is the new wave of film exhibition.
Special highlights of the current edition of Revelation?
It’s hard to put one of your babies above another but probably the most devastating film experience I’ve had in a long time is The Act of Killing – what an incredible film.
Given that a lot of our readers are global, talk about the state of the Australian film industry, both the studio backed and the independent?
I think the Australian industry is in pretty good shape – particularly the early career filmmakers. The short films seen in the last two years particularly are sensational. Imaginative, creative, individual and risky. The animations are second to none in the world and there’s also a very nice movement toward experimental works – and I’d say the two centres of this are South Australia and Western Australia. This bodes very well for the next crop of filmmakers – but they need to be allowed to break through. As to the current slate moving across our screens there’s something lacking in the power of the stories – it’s as if there’s some sort of lack of confidence.
Finally for our film buff readers from India, and for our Indian filmmakers, any message you would like to convery, vis a vis,Revelation/Australia/Perth?
We want your films! If you’ve got something unique to say we want to hear it. Perth is Australia’s most isolated capital city and the more voices we hear the better off we are for it.