It began as a simple university assignment, a short documentary about a young man coping with mental health issues during his journey through adolescence.
But an application to the Berlin International Film Festival changed the course of Claire Randall’s third year of study at the Griffith Film School in an extraordinary way.
With Griffith graduates Lachlan Morton and Shannen Tunnicliffe, Claire travelled to Berlin in February 2017 to premiere their documentary, Wolfe.
Excited just for their film to be shown, elation soon followed when Wolfe won a prestigious Crystal Bear award for Best Short Film in the Generation14plus category. This is the same category that previously featured Aussie films such as Red Dog, Girl Asleep and Bran Nue Dae.
The win paved the way for a whirlwind year, with Wolfe screening at 11 other film festivals, including Cannes and Sydney.
The Griffith filmmakers also shared the red carpet with actors Hugh Jackman and Sir Patrick Stewart and, most importantly, raised awareness around mental health.
“My goal was to present a film about mental illness from the perception of the person experiencing it. I used a very personal story, so for it to resonate with audiences around the world is amazing,” says Claire.
The young filmmaker was informed by her own experience with depression and anxiety, and it has inspired her to study counselling after she graduates from a Bachelor of Film and Screen Media in 2018.
“I want to focus on mental health issues and making documentaries has made me realise how beneficial it would be to know how to talk to people from a professional understanding and point of view.” Claire says support from Griffith enabled her to showcase Wolfe on the festival circuit, while Lachlan Morton has secured funding from a production company for his next project.
The Wolfe crew also included illustrator Jacob Duroux, sound recordist Malcolm Bothma, sound designers Damon Sheridan, Shannen Tunnicliffe and Michael Laverty, co-editor Liam Keogh and original music by Jacob de Weger.