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Brenton C. Halligan
Inspired by her time as a volunteer at last
year’s Sydney Fringe, artist, writer, (and now
curator) Bernie Burke decided to put on
her own series of film nights at this year’s event.
Over three days in September, Burke will serve
up a taste of the best in art house, international
and queer cinema for an avid local audience.
It’s a labour of love for Burke, who is
putting up her own funds to present the
events but one she considers well worth while.
“I made some great contacts [whilst
volunteering ] at the last festival. Some
of those people are now volunteering for
me, which is amazing. I became involved
because I guess it was the most logical
path to making my dream a reality.”
Burke’s dream of presenting engaging films
with captivating characters is well on its way.
The festival will showcase a plethora of little
known screen gems and locally produced
productions such as the web series The Newtown
Girls and acclaimed queer performer Glace
Chase’s short films. It’s all about shining a light
on arts, culture and life in our communities.
Burke, who once considered herself her
family’s “black sheep” given her artistic bent,
now realises art can be found in everything ,
including everyday life. “My mum is one of
the most gifted people I’ve ever met, sewing ,
knitting , cooking , conflict resolution.... You
name it she’s worked out her own way of
doing it. That’s art. My dad’s also big into
books and writing, and since writing is
my most natural craft these days.... I can’t
deny him a little artistic credit too...”
Whilst professing a love of film, and citing
The Dark Crystal as her all time favourite movie,
Burke says that her interest in filmmaking
came from watching her friends’ endeavours.
“I wanted not only to know how they made
them, but I wanted to get in on the action. It’s
the best fun a writer could possibly engage in.”
Her idea of a great film is “one that you
remember years later” and hopefully her Sydney
Fringe Film Festival event will spark fond
memories for its audience for years to come.
Whilst reluctant to say what she hopes the
audience will take away from the event, apart
from “the desire to come back and watch more
next year”, Burke is still keen to stress the
importance of providing a space and place
for queer cinema amongst the art house and
international film set and is a believer in film’s
ability to provide role models and
visibility for the community.
“ We need a shitload more
LGBTI role models.
Notice that I added an
too. I ’m a fan of alphabet
soup. Bring them on I
say. Role models that is, not
alphabet soup!” she laughs.
As for her favourite moment
from the films she has curated
for the event – Burke is quick to
name Glace Chase: “My favourite
moment was when Glace Chase
did an impromptu performance
in one of his films called Total
Bottom Support Group, which
was filmed in Taylor Square,
Kings Cross about a year ago.
It’s priceless, that’s all I can say...”
lotl.com • Lesbians On The Loose Magazine
Film | Arts
Bernie Burke delivers a slate
of art house, international and
queer films to the Sydney Fringe
I can see queerly now
Bernie’s Sydney Fringe Film Festival
takes place at the Dendy Newtown on Sept 13
(Art House), Sept 20 (International) & Sept 27
(Queer). All sessions start at 6:30pm with a 20
minute interval. Tix: $25 on the door or pre-
book at http://2012.sydneyfringe.com/
OF MAYLEI HUNT.
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