SCENES FROM HOME: A still from Traveller, directed by James Latter and co-written with Indi Neish, pictured, who stars in it.
SCENES FROM HOME: A still from Traveller, directed by James Latter and co-written with Indi Neish, pictured, who stars in it. Contributed

Bundaberg short filmmaker cops Rising Star award

IT COST the price of a postcard, but a short film made by a boy from Bundaberg is going further than he expected.

James Latter, who co-founded the Bunderground short film festival, has picked up a Rising Star award for his film Traveller, shot in a variety of locations that Bundaberg viewers will find familiar.

On Saturday it screened at Gladstone's Capricorn Film Festival, where Latter received the gong.

It also screened at Port Douglas film festival Port Shorts, and next weekend it will kick off the inaugural Noosa International Film Festival.

"It's the first film on the program of the first-ever festival,” Latter said of the Noosa screening, "so that feels pretty special.”

RISING STAR: Local filmmaker James Latter has one an award for his short film Traveller.
RISING STAR: Local filmmaker James Latter has one an award for his short film Traveller. Mike Knott BUN280416LATTER1

In the film a backpacker, played by co-writer and fellow Bundaberg talent Indhi Neish, writes home to England narrating about the great time she's having, "but we see that she's a lot more miserable than she is letting on”.

"The only production expense was the postcard she's writing on,” Latter said.

Given the low production cost, Latter said the Rising Star Award was unexpected.

SCENES FROM HOME: A still from Traveller, directed by James Latter and co-written with Indi Neish, pictured, who stars in it.
SCENES FROM HOME: A still from Traveller, directed by James Latter and co-written with Indi Neish, pictured, who stars in it. Contributed

"We made it for absolutely no money and it was up against films that others spent thousands on and had large crews,” he said.

"It's this short, simple film and it's been recognised.”

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The film screened at Bunderground this year alongside another of Latter's films, Flowers, which had a higher budget.

"Flowers was a lot more complex, and it was the one I'd been backing as the film I was going to try and do something with,” he said.

"But Traveller has had a much warmer reception.

SCENES FROM HOME: A still from Traveller, directed by James Latter and co-written with Indi Neish, pictured, who stars in it.
SCENES FROM HOME: A still from Traveller, directed by James Latter and co-written with Indi Neish, pictured, who stars in it. Contributed

"It always surprised me that this film we produced for almost nothing, as a bit of stimulation for want of other projects, has caught the attention of all these festivals.”

The simplicity was likely what gave Traveller its appeal, he said.

"Flowers is very personal, and as such it rejects a lot of conventional structure.

SCENES FROM HOME: The Bundaberg Post Office clock tower captured by the Helios lens used to shoot Traveller.
SCENES FROM HOME: The Bundaberg Post Office clock tower captured by the Helios lens used to shoot Traveller. Contributed

"Traveller is shorter and a lot more universal in its themes/story. It's more self contained and to the point.

"That said,” he said, "I've met a few people who really connected with Flowers, all men who'd been through divorces.”

At the same time as Traveller screens across Queensland, a student film Latter made based on a story by horror author HP Lovecraft, Strange Aeons, will screen all the way over in San Francisco at a cult film festival.


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