Artist profile | Bill Bleakley

A Birthday Party is a short film directed by Melbourne-based W.A.M (Bill) Bleakley and produced by Lucy Knox and Sunday Emerson Gullifer that explores themes of violence and power dynamics within groups of young men.

Bill’s aim was to raise $5,000 enough to produce the film with a small cast and few locations. Thanks to a clever crowdfunding campaign focusing first on friends, then on social networks, Bill exceeded his stretch target of $7,500 and raised more than $8,000 from 78 supporters, allowing him to film in his preferred 16mm format.

After exposure at the Victorian College of the Arts graduate screenings, the film had its world premiere at Sydney Film Festival 2017, where it was a finalist in the Dendy Awards for Best Australian Short. It was also selected for the Melbourne International Film Festival’s Accelerator talent campus in 2017, a program of short films by emerging filmmakers.

Bill said the tax deductibility offered through the ACF was a real incentive to his donors.

“The tax deductibility and credibility of the ACF gave me more confidence when ringing people up and asking for donations.

“Through the whole process of crowdfunding I felt like I could call (the ACF team) and ask questions about my campaign and strategy. I’m not aware of any other platforms that feel this personal,” he said.