For Australian actress Phoebe Tonkin, taking risks is part of her DNA. Last year, the actor and model launched her sustainable, Los Angeles-made loungewear label, LESJOUR! and now in 2021, Tonkin is taking on a new role, making her directorial and screenplay debut for her new film, Furlough.
Making its Australian debut as part of Flickerfest's landmark 30th anniversary program, Tonkin's Furlough joins another 55 Australian premieres and 36 world premieres across the event's Academy-qualifying and BAFTA-recognised competitions. The 19 minute drama, which was shot in New South Wales's Hunter Region, follows a day in the life two teenage sisters, played by actors Markella Kavenagh and Milly Alcock, who embark on a wild adventure in search of freedom and new experiences.
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Speaking in an interview with FILMINK, Tonkin shared that she wanted to share the female teenage experience through Furlough in a way that felt honest and transparent. "Sometimes we fall into the trope of trying to either represent women as either really strong or really feminine, but there are a lot of very complicated, flawed, messy young women. I wanted to see a representation of that."
"I wanted to tell this story about these two troublemaking young girls who are really pushing the boundaries, but then you eventually understand the greater purpose for why they’re pushing these boundaries and trying to have really normal, if somewhat dangerous and naughty, experiences," she continued.
Flickerfest has long been commended for its celebration of diverse films and creators, with features created in more than 100 countries and more than 50 percent of directors represented in the Australian competition female. Other notable mentions in this year's program include 'The Story Of Lee Ping', a 12-minute tale about a young Chinese woman's journey to find freedom starring Jillian Nguyen and the NSW premiere of 'Roborovski', a VR animated project from Tilda Cobham-Hervey and Dev Patel about a hamster seeking revenge.
Produced under the high profile production company Dollhouse Pictures (formed by Krew Boylan, Rose Byrne, Jessica Carrera, Shannon Murphy and Gracie Otto), Furlough, the first film by Phoebe Tonkin at Flickerfest's Bondi Beach event from 22-31 January 2021.