Life & Style

Manager of Screen Hunter and Director of the Real Film Festival

Working tirelessly to not only keep Screen Hunter ticking, but in her spare time, Annette brought to Newcastle and the Hunter its very own film festival, known as the Real Film Festival

First established in 2001 Screen Hunter was created to foster a film-friendly environment within the Hunter region, at the same time assisting to open the world’s eyes to the beautiful Hunter region.

Enter Annette Hubber in 2008, continuing on with the mission Annette has been without doubt the driving force behind Screen Hunter ever since. Working tirelessly to not only keep the organisation ticking, but in her spare time, bringing to Newcastle and the Hunter it’s very own film festival, known as the Real Film Festival.

An accomplished and experienced film practitioner with over 20 years of film, television, documentary, commercial, video and broadcast production, Annette's passion to foster the industry and help all budding film makers get their start is evident immediately.

In addition to her work at Screen Hunter, this year also sees the 8th Annual Real Film Festival launch on November 8th. Once again Annette has pulled together an incredible line up of independent international, national and local storytellers along with a whole lot more.

Interested to learn just what motivates Annette to take on this almighty task we caught up for a chat.

Thanks for your time Annette, before we talk about the RFF can I start by asking how your career in film began? And what was your first job in the industry?

My Career in Film + TV started at John Singleton Advertising in Sydney in 1990, where I studied part time to achieve a Graduate Diploma in Film & Television Production at AFTRS (Australian Film Television and Radio School). 

You’re career has spanned more than 20 years and has taken you to all corners of the globe, which sounds incredibly exciting and glamorous, is it perhaps a lot more hard work than what most people would expect? 

From the outside, Film & TV Production looks like a glamourous career, however in reality it’s not so glamorous. it’s certainly not a 9-5 job. It is a job that I have thoroughly enjoyed and I’ve had the opportunity to meet and work with some incredibly talented people and experienced some amazing locations and countries, however, the reality is you work incredibly long hours to make sure everything that is scheduled happens, and your attention to detail and understanding of the entire process is spot on.

Can you take us through perhaps one of you most trying moments in your career?

Probably the political campaigns of Bob Hawke’s last term and Paul Keating’s first term. Sitting in an office with all the Labor Party heavyweights like Rene Rivkin, Senator Graham Richardson and Bob Hogg, brain-storming ideas and then having to produce a commercial in a matter of hours was pretty crazy! Working on political campaigns normally meant being on call 24-7 for 6 weeks straight working around the clock, living on 3-4 hours sleep a night was quite challenging.

There would have obviously also been a lot of career highs, is there one that stands out in particular?

When I was Head of TV at George Paterson Bates in Melbourne, the creative director wrote a script that was all based on Italian locations. We headed over to Italy for almost a month where we shot in Tuscany and on the border of the Swiss Alps, followed by post editing and sound mixing in Venice. The language was a bit of a barrier (and a laugh), but the people were beautiful and the locations were spectacular. A wonderful life experience and career highlight.

What is your connection to Newcastle? Are you originally from the area? 

Yes, I’m a Novocastrian girl who grew up in Valentine. I left Newcastle when I was 19 and headed to Sydney to start my career. Ten years later I moved to Melbourne and spent some time in between working overseas in China and Hong Kong, however once I started a little family of my own, I realised I couldn’t do it without the support of my family so we packed up and moved back to Newcastle.

You started working with Screen Hunter in 2008, the role was quite a departure from your career in film, how did you handle that transition? And what made you take on this role?

I took on the role as I couldn’t keep travelling all over Australia and overseas with young kids and a Nanny in tow. The role at Screen Hunter offered some work location consistency and the opportunity for me to use my industry knowledge and experience to help promote and grow the local film industry.

Whilst it was a little different to what I was used to, it still enabled me to use my skillset in an industry I love.

Can you give us a brief overview of what your role at Screen Hunter involves now?

I spend a lot of my day facilitating and licencing film productions for the 10 local council areas as well as many other public and private sites as well as promoting the Hunter region to the industry to increase screen production in the Hunter region. I also help the production companies source local crew, accommodation and services, so they tap in to our local filmmakers and businesses while they are in town.

My real love is to help grow and develop the local film industry, which is why we run programs to educate, connect and provide opportunities for filmmakers. This is where the Real Film Festival comes in to play. There’s never a dull moment.

In 2012 you launched the Real Film Festival, I imagine it’s a massive task and each year the festival has gone from strength to strength, what prompted you to start the RFF? 

The realisation came that there wasn’t a Film Festival in Newcastle where local emerging and established filmmakers could screen their films. Nor was there an opportunity for students and Newcastle’s creative people to learn from some of the industry’s best film practitioners, so I decided I’d collaborate with the two local institutions (TAFE NSW and the University of Newcastle) and create a festival that provided both.

Each year we hear from local filmmakers advising they are now collaborating with other local and interstate filmmakers on projects, and some of our emerging filmmakers are now working with the established filmmakers because they met at the Festival.This is worth all the effort it takes to pull off this huge program each year.

Can you provide some insight into the film industry in the Newcastle/Hunter area in regards to the opportunities for young film makers and those wanting to get into the industry, would you say it’s a growing industry?

Yes, it is a growing industry. Screen Hunter has given many students, volunteers and interns the opportunity to meet and network with some industry professionals and as a result quite a few have secured film industry jobs. If you are looking to get in to the industry, you should check out the Film, Animation and Digital Effects courses at Hunter Street TAFE or the Creative Industries degree at the University of Newcastle.

Finally do you have any tips for those wanting to get into film making? What’s the best advice you’ve been given? 

Keep making content (films) and get them seen. Pop them online, create a YouTube channel. Repeat!

Oh, and make sure you meet other filmmakers!