Digital Media students take to the screens in short film debut

30 January 2023
Rockhampton brothers and current CQUniversity Digital Media students Callum and Cormac Mateer have put their director caps on to screen their short films at the Capricorn Film Festival in Yeppoon' Central Queensland' with Cormac Mateer awarded as the CQ Rising Star.
Their films ran as part of the CQ Shorts segment that featured an exclusive selection of films from other filmmakers in the region' including two previous CQUniversity Digital Media students' Kokoda Cadzow-Smith and Keiran Deeth who was the winner of the CQ Shorts segment.

With a curiosity for filmmaking sparked from childhood memories and family home videos' the Mateer brothers are making their mark with their own creative direction and areas of film exploration.

The brothers reflected on their humble beginnings that have led them to their chosen course and love of sharing stories on film.

"When we were kids' my mum used to make these home videos of us' so we were constantly in front of a camera'" Callum said.

"What made it really interesting though was how she would add digital elements to the videos by making other images and characters appear' like animals or elements from Doctor Who which was one of our favourite TV shows."

Cormac added that his interest in film spanned back to his childhood fandom of fan-made Star Wars and Doctor Who LEGO stop-animation films' and he has been experimenting with a similar type of animation since he was nine years old.

"My personal technique has of course refined since then and I've followed my interest through to high school and now university.

"It was a natural progression as it was something I've always done and seen my family members experimenting with."

The Mateer brothers predominantly work on their own projects as solo artists' setting the creative direction and exploring differing concepts.

The brothers entered thriller and action films into this year's short film competition.

"I've currently been experimenting with comedy' but I enjoy making films that evoke an emotional reaction' that lead one to question their moral perspective or ideals'" Callum said.

Cormac brought with him a similar motivation' and explained how different techniques can evoke audience response.

"I enjoy exploring the visual and storytelling aspects of film' particularly throughout editing and watching a story unfold – the auditory elements like sound effects and music can really make the viewer feel something."

Now in the third year of their Digital Media degree' the brothers have enjoyed being able to put their knowledge to practice from colour correction and camera positioning to pre-production expertise' scriptwriting and cinematography' and both commented on how valuable their course had been in bringing their filmmaking dreams to a reality.

"I had always known I wanted to make films' but I had very little idea of how to actually carry this out' and it's been great practice for me to look back on old films I've made to see how my skills have progressed'" Callum said.

"Having classes on all the different aspects of filmmaking such as scriptwriting really helps to show me where my strengths and weaknesses lie which allows me to develop further – there is always something more to learn'" Cormac added.

Of the Capricorn Film Festival involvement' the brothers both commented on just how vital it was to have local showcases.

"The experience with the film festival has been great – along with seeing our films on a big screen' it was great to meet and network with other filmmakers and also see their creative projects come to life'" Cormac said.

"It's so important to have local showcases such as this as it gives those who live in the local area the opportunity to not only attend and be exposed to this type of creativity but to also create and submit a film of their own."

Callum added that he was looking forward to the opportunity to connect with other like-minded creatives and was glad that local filmmakers had a platform to showcase their abilities.

"Festivals such as these are extremely important for up-and-coming filmmakers as it provides a platform to meet others and showcase abilities among peers' along with creating new network connections with fellow filmmakers who can assist with film projects in the future'" Callum explained.

"Honestly' I hope to see these films have an impact on people' that's the best part'" Cormac said.

"If people enjoy the films I make' then all the time and effort it took will have been worth it."