4 Quick Questions with Alice Stephens

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Every feature film screening at EFFA this year is preluded by an Australian short. 

We sat down (virtually, at our computers) for four quick questions with Australian filmmaker Alice Stephens. Alice's short film Lost Paradise will be screening alongside Drokpa - book now

Tell us a little bit about your short film screening at EFFA this year, and the process of making it?

Lost Paradise came together in a beautiful and unexpected way. I booked a flight to Israel last year with the thought in mind of making a film. Not knowing what it would be or who it would be with I kind if left it to chance.

Being abel to combine travel and exploring a new place and land while making a film is what I live for. So I just thought why not, I am going to Israel. I put out posts to find a co-director and connected with locals in the first 2 weeks of my stay. The Dead Sea is one of the most beautiful places I have been and realised after going there that it not only needed to show the rest of the world the damage to the environment happening to the sea and surround areas, but to show the unmistakable beauty of the area and land.

We decided to create a montage of both the stunning land and juxtapose it with the disastrous fate of the land to show what nature is and what it can become in human hands. 

How do you know when you’ve got a good idea for a film?

When something moves me it takes my focus and attention to a new level. When I am onboard a film I connect with I find I naturally devote myself to it without even knowing it at the time. I think when you meet someone or find an idea that makes you excited and jittery thats when I know there is something special and important there. When you know this film has to be made.

I am a big believer in attempting to share with audiences what I felt when I first heard about the subject or idea of the film. In essence that is what documentary is all about. Being able to communicate something that the filmmakers believe a larger audience need to know about and as a result may change their stance or opinion on a issue.  

What do you think is the power of film to change people’s minds about environmental, social or political issues?

I think the power of film is one of the biggest ways to make change whether it be environmental, social or political. Being able to see and feel a particular issue in an intimate medium like film can educate people but can also have an emotional impact and can relate directly to the audience in ways they may have not known possible. I think it is crucial to be telling these stories because film and media is everywhere and so accessible to everyone these days. 

What’s your favourite environmental film, doco or otherwise? 

The Cove is fantastic and the perfect example of a film uncovering the truth and making change as a result. 

Thank you for your time, Alice!