Victoria Thompson Don't Forget to Go Home
"I was able to reclaim identity of queer women of colour with an honesty for the struggle, the dichotomies and the loneliness. I truly believe stories are the way that we can forge a new national consciousness." – Director Victoria Thompson on her new film Don't Forget to Go Home screening at Flickerfest 2021.
How does it feel to have your film Don't Forget to Go Home chosen to screen at Flickerfest 2021?
It feels great to have our NSW premiere at Flickerfest. My first short film Swallows played here a few years ago. It’s a great festival and one of the highlights of the Sydney Summer.
Don't Forget to Go Home tells the story of two sisters who miss their cousin’s wedding to go on an all-night bender. Did you draw on your own experiences to write this story and what motivated you to bring it to the screen?
I am half Fiji-Indian. I’d been trying to make the film for a while always waiting on external factors. But it was only last year I felt confident enough to bring it to screen on my own terms. The film is inspired by my own experiences, and my family’s, of falling in love and coming of age in an alienating white youth space of Sydney.
Identity is a significant theme in Don't Forget to Go Home. Why was this important to you to explore in the film?
Identity was important to me to explore because that is at the heart of a coming of age experience and key to the genre. More than that I was able to achieve a political purpose through the conventions of the genre. I was able to reclaim identity of queer women of colour with an honesty for the struggle, the dichotomies and the loneliness. I truly believe stories are the way that we can forge a new national consciousness.
This is one of the first stories of Fijian-Indian diaspora to be told on screen. What do you think needs to be done in order to give diverse voices an opportunity to share their experiences on screen and to make the industry a more level playing field?
A lot! I have found the industry includes many spaces, sets and offices for example, which are not safe spaces for people of colour. It is mentally exhausting to be confronted with racism every day. There is no lack of diverse voices wanting to be heard. At the very least, there needs to be equity and radical change in policies, procedures, protocols and workplace culture to help nurture diverse voices and so that they can sustain careers in the industry. A good place to start is the Creative Equity Toolkit put out by Diversity Arts Australia.
What advice would you give other emerging writers and directors wanting to break into the industry?
From personal experience I can say it’s hard to find a way to develop your filmmaking and voice while trying to pay rent. I eventually started working as a director’s assistant in TVCs, which has allowed me to pay rent, save for my films, have access to directors and develop my filmmaking skills.
To break in, find the production companies, the writers, the directors, the producers, the crews, the people whose work inspires you and just reach out, not just for information but for a job. When you’re emerging, you’re able to not contribute experience but are able to contribute your perspective, enthusiasm and passion for storytelling and filmmaking. Always believe and understand your value.
Know that as a creative what you have to offer is you, so be true to yourself, and protect yourself. Find people that do the work you want to do, the people you want to make stuff with. The journey is long so remember to drink water.
Don't Forget to Go Home
Screening in Best of Australian Shorts 2.
View the full Flickerfest program now.
Celebrate 30 years of Flickerfest with a special SBS on Demand collection
January 2021 marks 30 years of Flickerfest, Australia’s leading Academy® Qualifying Short Film festival. SBS On Demand has partnered with Flickerfest to present 49 short films that celebrate the very best of Flickerfest.
The collection includes 42 much-loved Australian and International films, as well as seven short films that celebrate the LGBTQI+ experience. Films include Academy Award nominees Butter Lamp and The Eleven O’Clock starring Josh Lawson, and Ralph, written and directed by Deborah Mailman.
Audiences can experience the 30 Years of Flickerfest collection now on SBS On Demand. Flickerfest festival will take place in Bondi from 22 – 31 January 2021.
Image: Still from Don’t Forget to Go Home with Monica Kumar and Nadia Zwecker. Credit: Harri Sharp.