Griffith Film School students have launched a short film featuring renowned Aussie actor Hugo Weaving.
The project was a deeply personal one for Weaving, whose screen credits include Lord of the Rings, the Matrix trilogy and Priscilla Queen of the Desert.
Living with autism: Ky’s Story follows Hugo’s 16-year-old nephew, Ky Greenwood, who has autism spectrum disorder.
Blending live action sequences with cutting-edge animation, the film aims to raise awareness of the disorder and will be available as a free resource for organisations working with autism.
The film was produced through LiveLab, the commercial production arm of the Griffith Film School in Brisbane.
LiveLab Creative Director Richard Fabb said it was the only school in Australia with a permanent in-house commercial studio.
“We believe it’s vital to offer students year-round opportunities to gain industry experience while they are studying,” he says.
“Projects like this are a fantastic opportunity for our students, offering a wide collaboration on an important social issue.”
Film school student Cameron March directed the live action sequences featuring Hugo and Ky, and said the experience was ‘a real honour’.
“I was really humbled to be chosen to direct the live action elements,” he says.
“It was important to me to build a relationship with Ky, and make sure that he was comfortable with me and the environment.
“It was also an amazing opportunity to work with a Hollywood A-lister like Hugo Weaving.”
Cameron says he was pleasantly surprised by the actor’s approach.
“He was the most genuine, down to earth guy – he was very open and approachable.
“Still, it was a very surreal experience, sitting behind the monitor, thinking about all of the other directors like Peter Jackson and George Miller who have worked with Hugo.”
Griffith Film School student Ashley Spiteri worked on the animated sequences, mentored by Luke Harris and Griffith graduate Alexis Dean-Jones from Brisbane-based animation studio Hotel Lima.
“This project turned out to be much larger than we imagined, so it was a real learning experience,” she says.
“Animation definitely stands out and has its own personality. It was a punchy way to tell Ky’s story and a great way to show a younger and older version of Ky, which was an integral part to the story.”
Ashley volunteered to work on the film after hearing Ky’s story.
“I found his story touching and it made me want to understand more about what he’s going through so I could reflect that in my character designs and storyboards. I learned more about autism and how it changes family’s lives, but most importantly the strength and love they have to help their family,” she says.
“Meeting Ky was definitely inspiring – I wanted to do him and his life story justice on screen.”