2016 BUFTA Winner – Willem Kingma

Q&A with Willem

1.       How did you hear about BUFTA and why did you decide to enter the competition?

I heard about BUFTA through my teacher Michelle Liddy, and I probably wouldn't have made the deadline had she not reminded me to check my emails (something I usually have a tendency to neglect). I guess I entered the competition because I figured if I didn't, nothing would happen, so I gave it a crack because maybe something would come out of it. I have a tendency to be a bit spiteful towards my own work, so had Michelle not egged me on I probably wouldn't be in the position I'm in now! 

2.       What was the most rewarding experience you gained from BUFTA?

The most rewarding experience I gained from BUFTA was simply the recognition. Being nominated alone was thrilling, because I really wasn't used to my work being recognised so literally. It was pretty overwhelming hearing my name being called up to receive an award as well, because I was used to sitting in the audience whilst people received praise for footy or cricket. The extent of my trophy collection was participation awards for cross country and cricket, and a medal for tap dancing when I was age 5 (I'd like to note that I was particularly bad at both cricket and tap dancing).

3.       You entered a number of films in different genres, what is your favourite genre and why?

I would have to say that my favourite genre is Comedy, and I think it's because i really don't know how the audience will react when watching it. I initially wrote my film "NOT QUITE RIGHT" believing it potentially had humorous qualities, but I never envisaged any form of out loud laughter like I heard in various screenings, especially at the BUFTA awards night, I found that completely bizarre. I love this unknown quality, because I don't have any preconceptions about how the film will be received, it makes the whole experience really interesting I think. I like this genre as well because whilst music videos are great, andI get to build upon the creative works of others and interpret their meaning, with comedy I get to start completely from scratch, and make something that is entirely my own, and contains my own meaning.

4.       What were the main motivators/ideas behind your two winning films ‘Suicide – Tiny Giants’ and ‘NOT QUITE RIGHT’?

When making 'Suicide' for Tiny Giants, I really wanted to tap into this upbeat melancholia that the song conveyed. We knew the song clearly tapped into a lot of touchy subject matter, with it's pretty upfront lyrics that develop as the song progresses, so thats why we had to make sure that visually it was all pretty tame, but implied the meaning behind the song. Depression is something that I have experienced first hand within my family, my Mum suffering from Bipolar Disorder. This was the same for Jasper, George and Ettiene, so I believe the main idea behind the video was to portray this state of disarray that accompanies mental illness, and in particular the bizarre toll that adolescence takes on so many people. A big motivator behind making this clip was that, for the guys, I think they wanted this to be a sort of break out album, though they wouldn't say that themselves because they're much too humble. The album is on vinyl now, so I think it made sense to break away from our spur of the moment videos we had been making, to actually story board something special.

"NOT QUITE RIGHT" was something of a compilation of scattered ideas that I had developed over a span of two years in the form of drawings, scribbles and writing in notebooks. I had all these characters that I had intended to make short animations for each individual story, but it was something that I never completely got around to. When it came to creating our final production for year 12 media, I knew i wanted to use these ideas in someway shape or form. I realised that the interest point of my characters was their flaws, so the underlying theme of the film became the beauty of imperfection. This is a value I actually hold, so the film is literally me expressing my interest in the off beat qualities of life. I guess one of the big motivators was to finally create a book ended piece of work that I had really put a lot of thought and effort into, because too often I began to doubt my capabilities as a filmmaker, especially as adulthood began to approach. It's daunting not knowing where your place will be in the world, especially in the creative industry which is constantly stigmatised as leading to financial instability. So a big motivator was also the cathartic feeling when creating something I loved. 

5.       What is your ultimate career goal?

I think at this point my ultimate career goal is to keep making films and art until I die. I just want to do what I love, and a big component of that is telling stories. Whether I convey stories as a screenwriter, an animator or a director, I'm not too fussed, I just love to make ideas come to life.

6.       Do you have any advice/ tips and tricks for future BUFTA entrants?

My only tip or trick for future BUFTA entrants is to make a film for yourself. As soon as you go into creating something with the sole intention of fitting an audience criteria, you lose your connection with the film, and you don't allow for people to interpret the meaning you created for yourself. Make something for yourself, and the experience will be much more surprising, because the only expectations you initially had evolved from yourself.