Brodie Stephenson’s stop-motion short Fifty-Two is one of the films screening in Melbourne.
His graduate project has created waves on the international festival circuit: it won Best Animation at the Tiblisi International Student Film Festival, was shortlisted for the BAFTA Student Film Awards and also screened at the Cannes Film Festival.
The film was part of his Honours project, which explored ways to create independent stop motion movies on a shoestring budget.
The young filmmaker has been astounded at the response to Fifty-Two, a post-apocalyptic thriller with a powerful twist.
“It’s super exciting,” he said.
“Getting selected to screen at festivals here in Australia and overseas has given my film a wider audience – and it’s been fantastic watching it up on the big screen with an audience.”
This was Brodie’s first foray into stop motion – a notoriously time consuming, labour-intensive genre.
“I used this film to test new technologies that streamlined the stop motion process, but it was still a lot of hard work,” he said.
“I spent about four months fabricating the sets and puppets, and the next two months animating.
“It was kind of therapeutic – creating all of these tiny props and sets.
“I would often find myself lost in the process, and working for hours on end. Stop motion was completely new to me, but I found it came easily.”
Bachelor of Animation graduates Rye Elms and Jacob Mackay worked on Kid Phantom: Homework, an animated version of Kid Phantom – the popular comic strip currently illustrated by Griffith Film School lecturer Dr Paul Mason.
“It was a big project and an amazing experience,” Jacob said.
“My grandfather was a big fan of the Phantom, and I had read the comics as a kid.
“It was amazing to work with an established IP, rather than being faced with a blank slate.
“Getting to work alongside Paul, who creates the comics, was almost like an internship. He was a real mentor to us, and it was fantastic to learn from someone who is established within the industry, and has such a breadth of knowledge.
“Having our work shown at festivals was just an added bonus.”
Jacob said the Bachelor of Animation allowed him to pursue his passion.
“I’m passionate about visual storytelling, and animation was something I had to do,” he said.
“The course allowed me to challenge myself while doing something that I enjoyed.
“Even though you put your all into it, it never felt like hard work.”
The third project selected for MIAFF was Pink Ball by Song-Ei Hong.
Head of Griffith Film School Professor Herman Van Eyken said the animation graduates had produced stand out films.
“We are delighted to see our animation students enjoy such success with their graduate films,” he said.
“Being selected to screen at festivals around Australia and around the globe will help attract an audience for their work and lead to many more opportunities for these young filmmakers.
“The fact that many of our students have gone on to make films at this level speaks volumes about the calibre of our programs.”