Wollongong is to finally get it’s own film festival thanks to a single mother of four.
The inaugural Wollongong Film Festival will screen at the Project Contemporary Art Space on Keira Street on October 29.
Film-maker Gia Frino has been trying to get an Illawarra festival off the ground for years to fill what she feels has been a desperate void.
“I grew up here and moved overseas straight out of high school ... and every time I’d come home there was that little bit of frustration, like this place can be so good and has so much potential,” she said.
“[When I moved back] I found that it’s really hard for filmmakers to get access to a lot of funding and resources, because they don’t have the experience or haven’t had access to film festivals.”
Every time I’d come home there was that little bit of frustration, like this place can be so good and has so much potential.Gia Frino
Ms Frino already has over eight hours of submitted short-films from all over the globe including Brazil, Portugal, Italy, Spain, the Phillippines, New Zealand and Australia.
They include documentaries, comedies, dramas, live action and animation.
The only prerequisite for submission was a woman had to hold a key position such as director, producer, writer, lead protagonist, editor or cinematographer.
Ms Frino said it was about giving a voice to female filmmakers and a voice to women’s stories.
“I am a pretty staunch feminist,” she said, “...every year I try and empower women in some shape or form.”
Not only does the festival promote females in the industry but proceeds from the event will go to providing impoverished African girls an education via One Girl.
Ms Frino chose this charity because they weren’t offering a band-aid solution but would “let a solution grow”.
“I love the fact it’s not about ‘here have some money’, it’s actually about giving the girls the power to change their lives,” she said.
The aim is to build the festival to a five-day event within five years and make it as prominent as the Sydney Film Festival and Tropfest.
“It’s shocking how many filmmakers there are [in the Illawarra] and we all have to go to Sydney!”
In the midst of getting the festival organised Ms Frino is juggling work on a documentary, studying and looking after her kids aged eight to 15.
Wollongong Film Festival Saturday October 29 at Project Contemporary Art Space, Keira Street in Wollongong.