DIVERSITY is key in the inaugural SBS Short Film Festival premiering on SBS On Demand from September 13 to 15.
Showcasing 14 short films from emerging Australian creatives, each film focuses on underrepresented members of our society.
Curtin University film and television graduate Emilia Jolakoska produced Molly and Cara with writer and director Miley Tunnecliffe.
The dark comedy is about an unlikely friendship formed between Aboriginal university student Cara and bigoted elderly woman Molly.
“There are some serious issues running throughout it and the humour is what makes it more real and fun to digest,” Jolakoska said.
“I don’t think it would have worked as a straight drama because these issues can be quite heavy in Molly needing to be looked after and Cara’s community having their home taken away from them.
“I think in the real world there is light as well as shade.”
Molly and Cara is the largest scale production Jolakoska, of Yokine, has produced, which proved challenging with up to 30 people inside the small Girrawheen house while filming.
“We had an ensemble cast, as well as two of our leads coming over from Sydney,” she said.
“We were very fortunate to work with industry legend Lynette Curran who played Molly, as well as the gorgeous and talented Rarriwuy Hick who played Cara.
“Working with those two, we all elevated our professionalism.”
The cast also includes WAAPA graduate Hayley McElhinney (Doctor Doctor) as Molly’s daughter Dee.
Jolakoska and Tunnecliffe’s filmmaking partnership began just as the 33-year-old producer finished her graduate diploma in education.
“I’d produced a couple of shorts including The Fan which got into some festivals overseas and had a bit of buzz around it,” Jolakoska said.
“Then I went back to uni to become a teacher and got a call from Miley the day I finished my last prac, asking to produce a short for her.
“It was a fantastic script, we got the funding and Calling was made. “That went on to do really great things for us both and it’s kind of snowballed from there.”
Jolakoska is the vice-president at Women in Film and Television WA and said Screenwest, who along with the four other Australian screen agencies partnered with SBS, ran a variety of different initiatives.
“This initiative came up and Miley had the Molly and Cara idea brewing,” Jolakoska said.
“I had another team approach me as well so I had two projects in development with SBS and Screenwest; Molly and Cara is the one that got greenlit.
“We ended up in the development process getting two other writers onboard, Jub Clerc and Andrea Fernandez.
“We had quite an intensive writing period to make sure the script was where it needed to be to go through to production.”
Jolakoska said not only was it important to nurture and develop diverse voices, but it was also imperative to see them on screen as well.
“So often on television you don’t see such diverse stories but in this SBS Short Film Festival that’s what they all are and they’re so different in their own way,” she said.
“Ours focuses on two underrepresented women in society. It is important for me to tell those stories not just about women but those who are often invisible as well.
“The struggles of elderly character Molly and the young indigenous student Cara aren’t necessarily that different.
“I’m now just itching to do it again and hopefully people want to see more of Molly and Cara.”
Molly and Cara screens September 14.