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The Creative Issue – News for Creatives | September 19, 2019

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Interview with Michael Noonan

Interview with Michael Noonan
Cathy Dee

A short while ago I caught up with Australian filmmaker, Michael Noonan. Noonan’s newest short film, Captive was selected to screen at the 2013 Flickerfest.

This is the 22nd year for the International short film festival. Commencing in Byron Bay on the 25th of January, it travels around Australia until closing in Cairns on the 11th of May.

“Captive” is not Noonan’s first film to be included in Flickerfest. “Recall” was screened during the 2007 festival. Noonan is a big fan of the festival and had this to say, “it’s awesome … Flickerfest is really, really good. It’s a great festival to be involved with because they push your film to get seen”.

“Captive” tells the story of a confused old man who receives a disturbing leaflet in the mail, forcing him to consider that his name, home and ‘soul-mate’ may not be what they appear. “Captive” is such a unique story that I had to find out what inspired it. Noonan explained that he was back in Brisbane for a few months and was determined to film something before he left. But as he said, “we had a date and a crew, but we didn’t have a script”.

One morning while checking the mail he saw a flyer for a missing cat, and after seeing the same flyer again while going for a walk, an idea struck – what if you saw yourself on a flyer? “[I] thought about it for a few days … it came together and then I thought of an ending … that was the inspiration, the flyer in the mail”.

Noonan knew he wanted to be involved with film from a young age, however it was not a straight path. After finishing high school he missed out on a place in film school and so went with his second choice, accounting. After doing this for a few years he realised he couldn’t stay in this career. As someone who once had to struggle through an accounting subject, I understand this decision completely.

So at the age of 25 Noonan started his film and television degree at QUT, which he describes as, “probably one of the best [courses] in terms of making films”. Finishing in 1999 he then went on to complete both his masters and PHD in film and television and taught for a few years after.

When asked for any advice that would help future filmmaker wannabes he simply said, “If I had my time again, I would just try and make things regularly, just to keep learning. The more you make the more you improve. Think I’ve made about 16 or 17 shorts now and it’s great. Every one you make you learn something different, some work better than others. Just good fun, whether it leads to anything, it’s just good to do it”.

So there you go kids – get into it! For those worried about the state of Brisbane’s film industry it is not as bad as it seems. Noonan found great support in Screen Queensland and while he admits, “it’s hard because a lot of crew head off to Sydney, there’s still a really good, solid group of producers and filmmakers who make the [Brisbane] industry strong”.

At the moment Noonan is in Mexico on contract. But has plans to return to Brisbane and move forward with some longer productions. In the mean time you can check out all his works at www.michaelnoonanfilms.com.