Short Personal Film by Bernadette Smith

Under sunny, blue skies and the all-controlling gaze of the state apparatus you soon learn that if you don't laugh you'll only cry… This biting comic satire follows the travails of Connie a disabled welfare recipient struggling for the right to exist while navigating the paternalistic Australian social welfare system. This is a welfare recipient with one hell of an attitude problem because she won’t take second-class citizenship sitting down. Using stand-up comedy as a weapon for the oft-silenced voice of the other, Connie tells a story of survival bearing witness to the dehumanising regime that controls Australia’s underclass. Fracking, breaching, the job service, charities, surveillance and inequality all get a serve from the bottom up as Connie talks “crapitalism”.
Work Makes You Free is an 8 minute 58 second digital personal film.

Work Makes You Free

Bernadette Smith is an artist, educator, performer and independent media producer based in Sydney, Australia. She has a Master of Fine Art in Film from San Francisco Art Institute and was awarded the Louis B. Meyer Award for Postgraduate Film. Her work is included in the ARCO Experimental Cinema Library, Madrid, Spain and the Australian National Film Archive. In 2011 she was selected for the Cinco de Mayo Cinepobre film festival in Mexico. Her films have been screened at the Millenium Theatre in New York, San Francisco Cinematheque, Fringe Festival at the Lounge in Melbourne and the Art Gallery of NSW. Bernadette Smith is a former Vice President of Octapod, a not for profit independent arts and new media organisation and was part of the media team for This Is Not Art Festival. She has performed in Sydney’s Hive Bar, The Roxbury, Blue Space and Shannon Bar.

Connie performing at the Hive Bar, Sydney




2012 experimental social satire "Work Makes You Free"

2010 “Newcastle’s Cold War Secret” personal film documentary

Cameraperson for Octapod media team’s This Is Not Art Festival digistory

“Looking Back at Stockton Bight” video short documentary

“Something in the Air” music video

2007 “Ostalgie” flash animation

1998 “Chance Encounter” camera and editing for Crossover collaboration performance video and installation at Art Forum Gallery, Singapore.

video installation for Progeny dance performance September Art Festival, at the Substation, Singapore.

1997 “Big Sky Horizon - Singapore Artist Camp South of Darwin

Australia” 31 minute SVHS video documentary.

1996 “San Francisco Trip”, 10 min. 16mm film and live performance.

“Images of Identity”, 20 min. Wollotuka Centre video compilation.

1995 “Maiangal Dreaming” SVHS video documentary, 17 min., produced

for the Community Channel, Sydney. See also

1993 “Olympic Hopefuls?” youth video workshop, Sutherland YAS.

“Had a Dad” youth rock video, Sutherland YAS.

1992 “Shifting Sands”, 12min.,experimental 16mm silent film.

1990 “YOU!”, 8 min. 16mm experimental film.

1988 “Crystal Gaze”, 10 min. 16mm experimental film.

1987 “On Schizoid Farm”, 14 min. 16mm experimental film.

1985-86 Researched and wrote shooting script for “Dinetah - A Portrait of

the Navajo People” proposed 50 minute documentary video.

1985 “First Works” Umatic video art compilation, 20min.

“Searching For The Spare Rib”, Super 8 experimental film, 25min.

1984 “Broken English”, 20 min.16mm drama, Australia.

1983 “Is There Anything You Must Tell Us?” 20 min. Super 8 docudrama.

1982 “Tunnel Vision”, 15min. Super 8 experimental film.