Sylvania filmmaker eyes festival circuit with new short

Sean Bell, centre, with the cast of The Junket. Picture: Julia Firak

Sean Bell, centre, with the cast of The Junket. Picture: Julia Firak

Sean Bell knows all about the slightly surreal world of celebrity press junkets.

The Sylvania filmmaker worked for five years as the head of video at Nova Entertainment, and spent many a day filming press junket interviews, particularly with radio team Fitzy and Wippa.

It was his experiences in those years that led to the director's latest endeavour - a horror/black comedy short film called The Junket.

"I did a lot of movie and music junket interviews and met a lot of celebrities and actors and pop stars," Bell told the Leader.

"You get a lot of colourful characters on both sides of the camera, and that's where the inspiration came from.

"It's quite an unusual environment, tucked in this little room together, talking to someone quite famous - strange things tend to happen."

The Junket follows a male interviewer who is a self-confessed feminist.

However, his ideals are challenged when the actress he's interviewing steps out in the middle of the interview to duck to the bathroom - but accidentally leaves her microphone on.

Bell said he has known of this very thing happening quite a few times, and in his film it raises some interesting questions.

"It's a lot about the intrusion of privacy, and what happens if he goes down that road," he said.

"There's topics of consent and those other ideas that are on the tips of everyone's tongues at the moment.

"I think that makes it quite a timely film with lots to explore.

"I don't want to give too much away, but there's a horror element to it all and a sense of getting your just desserts."

Bell said he loved horror and sci-fi, and wanted to see more genre films made in Australia.

"I'm a big fan of Australian horror like The Babadook, and sci-fi like Mad Max," he said.

"Anything offbeat and quirky.

"I would say that Interview with the Vampire was also a massive inspiration for The Junket - the visual look of it and the tone of it.

"The movie within our movie, which the starlet is promoting, is actually based around Interview with the Vampire, including the poster design."

Bell said The Junket was shot in a studio in St Peters over two days, and is currently in post-production.

He hopes to release it in festivals within the next few months.

"I also want to pitch it around to production companies as a web series," Bell said.

"I have so many stories from junkets that filmed that can be so easily translated into snack size, 10-minute episodes.

"This is essentially a pilot or proof of concept."

Bell said he was super impressed by his actors - Sarah Krndija, Cameron Hutt and Violet Simpson - and expected big things from them in the coming years.

Keep up to date with The Junket's journey at thejunketfilm.com.