Griffith filmmakers win Crystal Bear at Berlinale

Three filmmakers from Griffith Film School have been awarded a prestigious Crystal Bear award for their documentary ‘Wolfe’, which was named Best Short Film at the Berlin International Film Festival.  ‘Wolfe’ is a 16-minute production from producer/director Claire Randall, who is an undergraduate in Film and Screen Media Production at Griffith Film School. Director of Photography and animator Lachlan Morton and producer Shannon Tunnicliffe were also part of the creative team.

The film was inspired by the director’s own encounter with mental illness as a teenager. It uses interviews and animation to explore a young man’s journey through adolescence with undiagnosed schizophrenia, and his relationship with an imaginary friend, Mister Wolfe.

‘Wolfe’ was selected for the Generation 14plus category at the festival, a program that attracts more than 65,000 young film fans. The Generation 14plus section has previously featured other high-profile Aussie films like ‘Red Dog’, ‘Girl Asleep’ and ‘Bran Nue Dae’.

The Festival jury praised ‘Wolfe’ for its “impressive honesty and intimacy.”

By means of its authentic narrative and tactful approach to a sensitive subject, this documentary manages to demystify a taboo without sentimentality or judgment. 
With impressive honesty and intimacy, the protagonist discloses his experiences of psychological illness, accompanied by lovingly animated memory sequences.
We thank the filmmaker for this factually informative and deeply moving.
— 2017 Berlinale Festival jury
 Cinematographer/Animator Lachlan James Morton, Director/Producer Claire Randall, and Producer Shannen Tunnicliffe after the Berlinale Generation awards night.  Photo by Max Kullmann / Berlinale

Cinematographer/Animator Lachlan James Morton, Director/Producer Claire Randall, and Producer Shannen Tunnicliffe after the Berlinale Generation awards night.

Photo by Max Kullmann / Berlinale

For Claire, the film was a labour of love:
"I was looking for someone who had a powerful story, and Nick and I were introduced by mutual friends and actually shared a flat together for a few months,” she said.“I believe these kinds of films can help other people who are struggling and encourage them to seek help.”

Lachlan Morton said the festival experience had been “overwhelming”:
“We were competing against films from all over the world, all from very very talented filmmakers with powerful stories to tell,” he said. “It is so important that stories like these get told, and we are so honoured to be recognised by the jury at Berlinale.”

The trio of young filmmakers has been making the most of the festival experience, attending world premieres, sharing the red carpet with stars like Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart and meeting a range of festival programmers. 

“Someone said that getting into a festival this huge with our first ever film was like diving in head first, but I like to think we’ve dived in feet first and hit the ground running.
— Lachlan Morton, Photography / Animator

Berlinale is considered one of the world’s top film festivals, alongside Cannes and Venice, with more than 350,000 tickets sold and 20,000 industry attendees annually.

Griffith Film and Screen Media lecturer Dr Peter Hegedus said the film's success was "huge". 
"To be an undergrad filmmaker and win at a festival of this calibre is a massive achievement," he said. "It introduces you to the international film making community, it's an excellent opportunity to make connections and perhaps pitch a new project. Claire is a very talented filmmaker. She took out the best director award at Griffith Film School last year, and she is obviously destined for big things.”

The convenor of the Griffith Film School’s Bachelor of Film and Screen Media Production Dr Dean Chircop said the course was an important training ground for young filmmakers.
"This is a very popular course, and we have been successful at creating a pathway for the next generation of filmmakers," he said. "Our final year students produce phenomenal work that features at festivals all around the globe."


You can see the film trailer for 'Wolfe' here

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