Help local filmmakers win a Webby award for ‘Why Australians love going barefoot’

Thirroul-based production company Painting in Pictures have been nominated for a Webby Award for their locally shot BBC short documentary Why Australians love going barefoot.

Painting in Pictures co-founders Kirsty Carter and Joe Harrison are thrilled to see a production based in the Illawarra considered for the award.

“It’s exciting for us that this started off that two people come up with a little barefoot idea in Thirroul and it’s kind of travelled globally,” says Kirsty.

Of the 13,000 entries submitted, Why Australians love going barefoot is one of only two BBC productions nominated for the Webby Awards, hailed “the internet’s highest honour” by The New York Times.

The six-minute doco explores how going barefoot is common in Australia. It was published on the BBC website and shot locally in Austinmer, Thirroul, Sandon Point and Wollongong.

“I thought it was an interesting story and what better place to film it but here in the Illawarra,” Kirsty says.

“We’ve got the city landscape in Wollongong, the cafe cultures in Thirroul and Austinmer, the boat sheds in North Wollongong. There’s just so many different backdrops of scenes that are quite idyllic and universal for a scene.”

Awarded for their work on the BBC’s The Miraculous Power of Seaweed and WhaleXKirsty and Joe aim to keep sustainability at the forefront of their production process.

“BBC is quite strict about using carbon calculators – which is kind of a new concept in Australia but we’ve been doing it for a while,” Joe says. “But it’s also the ethos of who we are.”

Kirsty adds: “Leave no trace, leave a low footprint, we drive a hybrid car, we bank with those who don’t invest in fossil fuels. It’s us and our business principles, but it’s also who we do business with and the services we use.”

The duo say that while kicking off our shoes and going barefoot is considered normal to Australians, many other cultures find the behaviour odd.

“Tourists and even international students that come here sort of find it to be really strange and dirty behaviour,” Kirsty says.

“There are a lot of barefooters – and we didn’t know this at the time, but the Barefoot Podiatrist, leader of the Australian barefoot movement, is based in Corrimal.”

The barefoot movement advocates for the psychological benefits of going barefoot or wearing shoes that allow freedom of movement and agility.

“I definitely became a barefooter in the makings of that production,” said Kirsty.

“A few OH&S issues, a few shards and a leech here and there – but it hasn’t deterred me.”

Fans can vote online to help Painting In Pictures win an award. Voting closes at 4.59pm Friday, April 19.