Southern Tablelands unlocks inspiring filmmaker

Lights, camera, action: On the set of Broken Line North is filmmaker Sunday Emerson Gullifer with a member of the cast. Photo supplied.
Lights, camera, action: On the set of Broken Line North is filmmaker Sunday Emerson Gullifer with a member of the cast. Photo supplied.

The Southern Tablelands features as the location of an intimate short film made by Laggan-based filmmaker Sunday Emerson Gullifer.

Her film, Broken Line North, premiered on Tuesday, June 11 at the Sydney Film Festival.

It follows a Lao-Australian woman driving to reconnect with her dying mother who picks up a teenage hitchhiker at a highway petrol station.

Ms Gullifer explores a moment of connection and intimacy between two broken individuals.

"I was interested in exploring isolation and grief. The relationship with parents as we grow older and they grow older with us," Ms Gullifer said.

She also sets the mood of a "meditative" long-distance car drive.

"It's a quiet film, very visual and constrained, we were the first film that screened and you could feel the audience getting quieter until you could hear a pin drop."

It was shot over four days at the Gunning Motel, United Petroleum at Sutton, a restaurant outside of Goulburn and on the Hume Highway.

"It's set mostly in a country motel, the Gunning Motel was our main location.

"It's a part of the world not often seen on the screen," said Ms Gullifer.

She has been based in Laggan for four years.

In 2018, the filmmaker was one of four recipients of the Lexus Australia Short Film Fellowship and received $50,000 to make a film to premiere at the 2019 festival.

It's not the first time.

In 2017, Ms Gullifer was nominated for two Australian Directors' Guild Awards. Her highly commended short film Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow premiered at the 2017 Sydney Film Festival.

Broken Line North was filmed with a crew that Ms Gullifer has worked with for five years and she said the fellowship was recognition of their hard work.

"The Lexus Australia Short Film Fellowship enabled me to further hone my skills and voice, while taking bigger risks.

"In a landscape where financial support for emerging filmmakers is increasingly rare, I'm grateful to the Festival and Lexus Australia for believing in what I have to say.

"I've been working with the same team for the last five years. It meant I was able to pay my team and stop calling in favours."

It was also a chance to dream big.

"It's a project I first started writing five years ago and I've been fine-tuning it," Ms Gullifer said.

"It gave us the budget and gave us an audience.

"We could make it at the level and the standard we aspired it to be."