Film School glory screens at Cannes Festival

Young Australian filmmaker Isabel Stanfield is in France this week, taking her two films to the prestigious Cannes International Film Festival.

The 23-year-old Griffith Film School graduate plans on spending ten days soaking up the atmosphere, making contacts and networking with the world’s best.

“It will be amazing to just be there and be a part of the world’s biggest film festival,” she says.

Griffith is the only Australian film school invited to screen at the prestigious Festival and this trip marks the seventh year students have been offered the invaluable opportunity, says Professor Herman Van Eyken.

Isabel during filming of Gokanosho: Lost in Time, which she produced.

“It is the ideal opportunity for the next generation of filmmakers to make industry connections that may launch a coveted international career,” he says.

“We give students all the logistical support they need to attend — we send their films, we organize their artwork, provide all the supporting documentation and prepare them for the immersive environment.

“Being at Cannes is incredibly intensive, but that’s exactly why it works and can’t be replicated anywhere else.”

Each film from Griffith will be screened in the Cannes Court Metrage; an initiative within the festival designed to encourage emerging talent, featuring more than 2,000 registered films from more than 90 countries worldwide.

Isabel’s solo film Solitaire will screen at Cannes, along with Gokanosho: Lost in Time, a film she produced with her partner and Director Caleb De Leon during their graduate year at the Griffith Film School.

Gokanosho: Lost in Time is a short documentary about family, tradition and culture in the modern age, as it captures the lives of residents from a collection of villages in rural Japan.

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The Griffith Film School graduates on location in Gokanosho, Japan during their final year of study.

Isabel explains that some 700 years ago, samurai lost a battle and fled into the mountains, establishing the idyllic village of Gokanosho in Japan, which still remains today.

“With only 350 residents, and one third aged over 75, the region sadly faces depopulation and is now at risk of fading away,” she says.

“Being from a small town myself, growing up in Boonah, my heart really went out to them, so it was the people and their lives and stories that we wanted to capture.

“Our final interview was with Shingo, one of the direct descendants of those samurai who was able to roll out a scroll for us with his entire family tree spanning all generations from the last 700 years,” she says.

As an Honours College student at Griffith, Caleb was awarded federal government funding as part of the New Colombo Plan, which allowed he and Isabel, alongside two other students, to journey to the tiny village in Japan.

Gokanosho: Lost in Time premiered at the Silver Springs International Film Festival in Florida, US last month.

Watch a sneak peek of the short film on the crew’s facebook page.