Award-winning Filipino-Australian filmmaker Vonne Patiag has launched a community campaign for his latest authentic Western Sydney short film Tomgirl.
The writer-director aims to overturn negative stereotypes of Sydney’s West and represent nuanced portrayals of contemporary Australian identities and the intersection of queer and ethnic identities in his latest film which celebrates Blacktown’s Filipino community.
Tomgirl follows a young Filipino-Australian boy named Justin, who receives an enchanting crash course in his homeland culture when his uncle reveals himself to be a cross-dresser in the ‘bakla’ tradition. The film is in Tagalog and English and stars locals Callan Young, Ala Paredes and renowned performer Marcus Rivera.
The short film is part of Create NSW and SBS’s emerging filmmaker initiative to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Mardi Gras. Local community partners include the Information + Cultural Exchange in Parramatta, Blacktown Arts and Penrith Visual and Performing Arts.
“There’s a wonderful creative atmosphere here in Western Sydney, a real indie spirit despite the odds of geographical prejudice, and we’re thrilled to be one of many teams forging a new path to create high-quality local content,” said Western Sydney-based writer-director Patiag.
“I used to work in advertising in the city,” he continued “which was well paid but I had to whitewash my identity to fit in. Now I’ve moved back home and am proud to be one of the local filmmakers representing the Western Suburbs authentically from personal experience, and celebrating the diversity of stories in our communities.”
Vonne Patiag last year won ‘Best Film’ at St Kilda Film Festival’s Olympus Filmmaker Challenge for his last short ‘Window’, which was set in Minchinbury and featured Rooty Hill’s iconic Big Chiefs Burgers, and won multiple awards at Made In The West Film Festival for ‘Yang’ and ‘‘The Dead Man’s Face Was My Own’.
Tomgirl is the first production for In-Between Pictures, a company co-founded by Patiag with producer Maren Smith, known for multi-award-winning feature film ‘One Less God’ which releases theatrically this November.
The short film is raising additional finance through the Australian Cultural Fund and has raised over $2,800 at the time of writing.
Tomgirl crowdfunding campaign: https://australianculturalfund.org.au/projects/tomgirl/