An interview with Teresa Carante about her Antenna screening

The Antenna Documentary Film Festival will this year celebrate it’s fifth anniversary of celebrating the best in local and international non-fiction on screen. The festival will run from October 13-18 this year at Chauvel and Verona Cinemas in Paddington and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney.

Sydney Film School is extremely proud to be one of the major sponsors of this year’s event. We are also proud to have three of our students and alumni have their short films featured as part of the festival’s program. One of these current students is Teresa Carante, who’s film, I’m Coming Home will be featured with Thank You For Playing on Sunday October 18 at Verona Cinema. I’m Coming Home is a short documentary that looks at the crossover between the sinking of the South Korean ferry, MV Sewol in which many students lost their lives and Carante’s own personal story of her brother being lost in a drowning accident.

We would like to thank Teresa Carante for having a chat to us about her short documentary and about the upcoming Antenna Documentary Film Festival.

teresa caranteInterview and article by Nicole Newton-Plater

How did you make the decision to make such a personal short film? 

Originally I wanted to make a documentary about the impact of the sinking of MV Sewol in the Korean community. Unable to produce such an ambitious short documentary, I then decided to use my voice to bridge my family tragedy to the one of the many families who lost a child in the South Korean ferry accident. Following closely the news of the tragedy, I realized an old wound surfaced and I had to say how I felt.

What are some of the challenges associated with making a film based on your experiences as opposed to one which is removed?

The most challenging thing is probably to accept that your vulnerability, your weakness, will flow on a screen for many to see. This is especially if trying to reach the crushed hearts of families who lost a child, there cannot be hesitation in fully embracing the wounds.

I’m Coming Home features a beautifully shot underwater scene. What is the secret to filming underwater so neatly?

Underwater filming is extremely challenging and I have to admit, I was extremely lucky to be surrounded by a great team of experts. I was able to get on board a professional underwater photographer who brought his experience in dealing with models and actors in underwater performances. Moreover I cast an actress who was also a free diver, able to hold her breath underwater for 3 minutes. My Director of Photography was also extremely skilled in lighting the scene making it look nothing like a swimming pool. Regardless, it was challenging. Unexpected situations do happen and having a prepared crew able to assist and support you achieving your vision is priceless.

How did Sydney Film School encourage you to make a documentary that is autobiographical?

Sydney Film School prides itself in being of support to it’s students as members of their extended family, so it generally supports film based on family struggles and connections. Also, autobiographical stories bring a different and more intimate layer to the film, something that SFS has always being encouraging.

What have you learned from the making of I’m Coming Home that you will take into your next film?

I have definitely learned to trust my intuitions more regardless of what other people might say. It was a harsh start with I’m Coming Home, but in the end nothing compares with the joy of seeing people appreciating your work and feeling the message of the film. If you feel it in your bones there must be a reason, so let your imagination take over your mind and start writing!

What are you looking forward to most about your film being screened at Antenna?

I am extremely glad that my short documentary was selected by Antenna because more people will see it and remember the South Korea ferry accident that happened over a year ago. I wish for my film to reach a vast audience, a Korean audience, and I feel that thanks to Antenna my dream could come true.

What attracts you to documentary filmmaking?

People! People and their amazing, messy, unbelievable, depressing and wonderful stories are what attract me to documentary filmmaking.  Raising awareness about different life styles, broadening the viewer mind to something they thought they could never understand, creating windows for curious eyes to see through, what more rewarding feelings there can be out there?!

For more information on the Antenna Documentary Film Festival or to purchase tickets, please see their Official Website.

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