The Tasmanian Breath of Fresh Air (BOFA) Film Festival is proudly Tasmania’s film festival. BOFA was the first major Australian film festival to go online in 2020. In 2021 we are conducting another online film festival reaching film lovers nation-wide from 3 – 30 May.

This year we are inviting short filmmakers to explore what it means to be Tasmanian. What is unique and specific about Tasmanian culture? What can only happen here on this island?

A little inspiration for entrants

It isn’t easy here. It never has been. People said it was impossible and for too long we believed it. This is why, for Tasmanians, good enough is never good enough. We work harder, we follow our obsessions, we support one another, and we protect what makes this place different.

Specifically, the short film entries will tell stories on either or both of the following themes:

1. Stories of Tasmania – In 2020 shorts of up to 10 minutes in length focused on Women of the Island ( and are a great role model (Note: these were not produced as part of a BOFA competition). In 2021 BOFA invites film makers to explore Tasmanian stories. Stories of our people – men and women, young and not so young. Stories of Tasmania and what it means to be Tasmanian.

The competition is an opportunity for film-makers to not only tell the story of individual people but also how they shaped the island’s history. Create a visual narrative that shows us their adventures, events they were part of, their interaction with the environment, their dreams, their nightmares!

The emphasis is on stories that go behind the scenery and dig that bit deeper.

2. Island of Ideas – We are also inviting film makers to tell us stories of Tasmanians with ideas, people who have gone outside the ordinary, people who have followed their passions and taken a risk, people who have collaborated to create something extraordinary, and people who have fought to protect what makes this place different.

The competition is supported by Tourism Tasmania and Brand Tasmania with prizes of $2,500, $1,500 and $1,000 for the top three rated films.

All shortlisted films will receive a year’s free subscription to Forty South the magazine for people who live in Tasmania, those who wish they lived here and those who wish they’d never left. Forty South will present ALL shortlisted films online (with your permission) to enhance your work’s exposure.

A People’s Choice of the top three short films will also be offered where the viewers can rate their preferred top three shorts.

A bit of background

Short films need to stand on their own merit and are not meant to be a direct tourism promotion of Tasmania, that is, they are not a destinational film. The island is indeed beautiful but there is so much more to our people – why they choose to live here and what they do. The films need to explore Tasmania’s cultural brand, which is part of everything our people do, make and create.

Have a read of Brand Tasmania’s TASMANIAN website ( to learn more about the TASMANIAN brand.

Who can enter the competition?

The competition is open to Tasmanians and those living elsewhere but who love all things Tasmanian. Both those at the beginning of their careers and professional film makers are invited to enter and use film as a medium to respond to the brief creating their film’s story in any genre: fiction, documentary, animation, or a mixture of all genres. It can be happy or sad, funny or tragic, light or dark.

The specifications

Films are to be from a minimum three to a maximum 20 minutes in length as this is both an easy-to-view duration and a way of powerfully distilling a story. A good example from a previous BOFA short film competition funded by Tourism Tasmania in 2011 is that year’s winner, The Grim Experience,

Films can be new work, existing films or re-edits of existing shorts. Films must be submitted by the owners of the work or have permission from the owners. All entries remain the possession of their content creators. Stills from the films must be provided for promotional purposes. The deadline for submissions is Midnight Sunday 28th March, 2021.

All shorts will be screened as part of the Tasmanian Breath of Fresh Air online film festival from 3 – 30 May. This will offer all film-makers exposure to a national audience with around half the viewers from Tasmania and half from other states and territories. All films will receive laurels acknowledging their screening at the 2021 BOFA Online Film Festival.

All entries will be assessed by April 18 and the top 20 shorts will be rated by a judging panel based on:

1. Creative response to the brief.
2. Quality of script-writing.
3. Quality of cinematography and production values.

Judges are:
* Martin Simpson, Film maker
* Natalie Otte, Film maker
* Tod Babiak, CEO of Brand Tasmania
* Andrew Lowenthal, co-founder of Engage Media

A People’s Choice of the top three short films will also be offered where the viewers can rate their preferred top three shorts.

An awards event will be held in Hobart on Saturday 29th May, 2021 at which the top three short films (and the People’s Choice winners) will be announced and their film-makers presented with their prizes. All film-makers who have submitted films will be invited to this free event.

Note: All selected films will be awarded a BOFA Film Festival laurel.