“Last year in October 2013, I was given the opportunity to travel outside of Queensland and experience another part of the country, something I thought I would not have the chance to do for a long time.
As I am self‐taught and have had no formal training in the art of creating short films, I could never have imagined that receiving a scholarship was a realistic possibility.
The Matt Clark Travelling Scholarship not only equipped me with the means to go on this unexpected adventure, it also gave me confidence in my own creative abilities and encouraged me to try and follow a dream. Someone believing that I have enough potential to fund this trip has provided me with an incredible amount of motivation and hope for the future. I am so grateful for all of the opportunities that have manifested as a result of receiving this award, and to the person whose talent and dreams of travel inspired the scholarship, Matt Clark.
I initially chose to travel to New South Wales to attend the Sydney International Film Festival, which celebrates ‘courageous, audacious and cutting edge cinema’. As I excitedly booked flights and made plans, I also decided to save enough money to travel to Melbourne around the same time. While in Melbourne I had the chance to spend a week in a recording studio, photographing and filming some amazing musicians. This was a wonderful experience, as I would love to eventually collaborate with local musicians to create music videos in the near future.
When I arrived in Sydney, I was instantly immersed in the constant commotion of thousands of different people rushing around. I met with fellow Townsville artists, John Bradshaw and Chey Pike, and together we roamed the bustling streets of Newtown, captivated by the exquisite old buildings and the overwhelming amount of creativity that seemed to inhabit every corner of the city.
We explored some truly extraordinary places, starting with Mays Lane, a veritable explosion of vivid colours and culturally diverse artistic expression. We stocked up on Zines at The Black Rose, an anarchist library that has existed in various places and guises since 1982, operating solely on donations and the hard work of volunteers.
We discovered the Camperdown Cemetery, which has stood for over a century and a half. There we met a Newtown artist who told us some interesting tales surrounding the historical site, including that of the cemetery’s most well known inhabitant, Eliza Emily Donnithorne, who is said to have inspired the character of Miss Havenham in Charles Dickens’ novel, Great Expectations.
We were able to attend multiple film screenings within the architectural masterpiece that is the State Theatre, described as retaining “an unparalleled history, and a reflection of a dynamic city’s changing face”. The magnificent beauty of this nearly hundred-year-old theatre blew my mind; I’d never seen anything like it.
The Sydney Film Festival Hub, a free event that took place each night, provided the chance to meet and connect with many other like-minded people, and also to attend talks and exhibitions throughout the festival.
Exhibitions, talks and films that stood out to me include:
• Vladmaster Viewmaster –
At the beginning of the Viewmaster experience, we were each given a ‘viewer’ and a set of disks. With an interactive soundtrack of narration and music to guide us, we clicked our way through three amazing and bizarre stories of cockroaches, train chases and deer hunting. The Viewmaster reels were designed, photographed and hand-assembled by Russian artist Vladimir Kush.
• Trippy Films –
Richard Haridy of the Australian Film Critics Association spoke about different representations of altered states in cinema, and of filmmakers who have tried to create sensory experiences designed to stimulate feelings similar to those created by hallucinogenic drugs.
• Frank –
A clever and comedic film about a young man who joins a band led by the strange, eccentric and utterly charming Frank, who never removes his paper Mache head.
• All This Mayhem –
A documentary, which follows the life of Tasou and Ben Pappas and their rise to skateboarding prominence. After viewing this film we were able to meet and speak with the renowned skate legend himself. During the meeting we were able to obtain and bring home a signed message from Tas to Adrian Alderson, a much-loved local who owns Townsville store Cre8ive Sk8 and runs an annual gravity sports event, Beat the Bastard, which raises money for cancer charities.
• Ruin –
An Australian film based in Cambodia which tells the tale of an intense romance between two Cambodians whose souls have been nearly destroyed by the poverty and hardship that surrounds them. Some of the scenes were so confronting in their stark depiction of a country overrun with corruption, violence and sexual exploitation, that people walked out of the cinema. I was fascinated by the way the director used almost no dialogue but instead focused entirely on sound, imagery, expressions and movement. Each truly unique shot was intricately woven together to reflect the internal state of each character.”
“In the three weeks since I’ve been home, I’ve been working closely with local musician Luke Thomas and the band ‘Lost Boys’.
I have been busy filming shows and documenting their progress as they write and record their new album. We are aiming to put together a film to coincide with the release of the album. I also plan on being involved in LuxLumin, Townsville’s first digital projection festival, which will take place in October this year. Being a part of this event will allow me to incorporate ideas and aspirations taken from my experiences in Sydney and Melbourne; to combine them with my own style of ‘fly on the wall’ photography and filmmaking to produce an original digital artwork.
Aside from these projects, I have also been working on a personal endeavour to create short films for each season of the year, using the footage I’ve collected so far and the moments I’ve yet to capture.”