A few years ago, filmmaker Liubov Korpusova had to put her next big project on hold, after she was unable to secure funding. Now, she’s one of the four winners of the Campari – Posters to Production competition at this year’s MIFF, and her dream project Marj’s Garden is a step closer to reality.

“It’s very exciting,” she says. “I tried a few ways to get it started a few years ago. I started with some friends of mine, then I tried to send it to some animation companies. And after that I thought ‘Okay, I'll put it aside for now’.”

The competition was created as an initiative to drive awareness and provide the four winning filmmakers with much-needed funds by creating movie posters out of their unmade film ideas. It’s a natural next step in Campari’s long history of supporting movie poster designers, which dates back to the early 1900s.

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The result is four eye-catching posters now on display for the duration of Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) at the Campari Cinema Lounge. Visitors can stop in at the lounge to view the posters before seeing a film. Each poster also features a QR codes, which takes visitors to a donation page if they wish to assist in crowdfunding the films. On top of this, a portion from each Campari cocktail sold at the Campari Cinema Lounge will go to each of the four chosen film projects.

Korpusova’s project, Marj’s Garden, is an animated short film that’s based on a true story but with a timeless, fable-like quality. “It’s the story of an old lady who lives in a rural area in New South Wales,” she says. “And in 2019, with the drought and bushfires happening, her beautiful garden that was everything to her started drying out. She tried to save it, but with everything in drought she was not able to – until she came up with a creative solution.”

Despite winning the Best Short Script award at the Sydney Women’s International Film Festival 2021, funding the project has been the biggest hurdle for the Melbourne-based VCA Film and TV Foundations alumni.

“All my previous short projects I self-funded, and you can’t possibly self-fund every single time if you want to keep making films,” she says. “The challenge comes when you try to outside fund a project – there’s essentially no funding for short films.”

When Korpusova entered the competition, her script had been in a drawer for close to three years. The competition was a chance to look at her project from an entirely new angle, particularly when it came to meeting with the Campari design team.

“We had a conversation about some of the key material that could possibly be the poster, with some key images from my script. They put together a couple of versions and we worked through them together,” she says.

Beyond MIFF, Korpusova is already looking ahead to the crowdfunding campaign based off the back of this bump in publicity.

“Getting crowdfunded is really key,” she says. “Obviously I will share the poster on all my social channels, but the reach and the number of people who will see the poster at the Campari launch is much, much greater than I could ever crowdfund on my own.”

For the moment at least, she can take a moment to admire the poster for a project that’s soon to come.

This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Campari. Korpusova’s winning poster is on display, alongside the work of fellow winners Julian Curtis, Josie Montano and Murray Enders at the Campari Cinema Lounge at MIFF from August 3 to August 20, 2023.