“It’s exciting being part of something that big that’s at the same time so immersive… Our mainland guests in particular and for that matter people outside Launceston love the fact that they come here, turn their brain off and just immerse themselves in film.”

A Breath of Fresh Air Film Festival Director Owen Tilbury sat down to talk about this year’s Festival, which in its 7th year boasts 42 Australian and international features representing 16 countries and dozens more short films spanning three competitions. Sponsored by the Tasmanian State Government (which likewise supports the Dark Mofo Festival) and taking place amidst Launceston’s vibrant centre, many of the shorts screening at the Festival were produced locally by Tasmanian filmmakers.

“What a lot of our mainland guests say when they come if they’re from the film industry is that they just love the access that they get, we bring down quite a lot of interesting folk – here you’re up close and personal with people at the top of their game,” said Tilbury. “The Tassie industry is an interesting one in that it’s not Fox Studios in Sydney and it’s not Hollywood on the Gold Coast and so on but it is a very vibrant, almost artisanal film industry down here with a lot of really passionate people pushing the boundaries and doing some weird and wonderful stuff.”

Screening at BOFA following its recent world premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival will be the excellent Aussie thriller Killing Ground, directed by Launceston local Damien Power who will formally open the Festival.

“Damien’s in the film industry on the edges if you like and he’s a terrific filmmaker, in fact a film of his was submitted to our shorts competition in 2012 and won the prize,” explained Tilbury. “The fact that a young Director is able to snare someone like Aaron Pedersen who’s really at the top of his game these days is a credit to him and a credit to the film and the writing that he put into it. We like the film apart from the fact that its local boy makes good, it actually turns the shock-horror genre on its head.”

Pedersen’s Goldstone, which opened this year’s Sydney Film Festival will also screen at BOFA, with Power also set to run a half-day short filmmaking masterclass alongside Kenny Director Clayton Jacobson for local filmmakers keen to break into the industry and see their treatments make it to the big screen.

“We’re very much focused on the ideas that come out of films and using film to inspire people to see the world differently on a personal, community or more global level and for that reason we choose films that are entertaining, and challenging,” said Tilbury.  “We try to tread a line where the films we get stand on their own as a fine piece of filmmaking and also due to very interesting ideas and cinematography but at the same time have a message to them. We’re proud that we managed to get that right this year.”

BOFA will run from Thursday 10th – Sunday 13th November, 2016