Griffith Film School graduate Samuel Keene is generating serious industry buzz with his latest project – a black comedy shortlisted for development by local streaming platform Stan.
Samuel’s script for Love Is Dead has been shortlisted to take part in the Screen Queensland + Stan Premium Drama Development Workshops, an initiative announced at last year’s Logies Awards.
In an Australian-first, Screen Queensland and Stan have partnered to support the development of Queensland-created, high‐end drama series for local and international audiences.
Making industry connections
“I’m just happy to have made it this far,” Samuel said.
“As part of this process, I’ve had the chance to workshop the script with industry mentors, take part in a 3-day workshop with [US script doctor] Wendell Thomas and have a one-on-one feedback session with Stan’s head of original content.
“It’s been fantastic making connections with so many people in the industry and getting an insight into what they are looking for.”
A labour of love
Just 12 months after graduating from a Bachelor of Film and Screen Media Production, Samuel was awarded a Talent Development Grant from Screen Queensland to develop the script for Love is Dead, which he began working on during his final year at GFS.
“It’s a dark comedy about a woman who works in a funeral home and talks to the dead – think of it as Weekend at Bernie’s meets Wilfred, ” he said.
“It’s an extremely personal project – I lost a close friend to suicide a few years back, and a lot of the frustration and confusion I had was funnelled into this script.
“I think that’s why it’s had so much traction – the script comes from a brutally honest, very real place, and a lot of people have connected with that.”
Griffith simply the best
Samuel credits his time at Griffith Film School with setting him up for a successful career in the industry.
“It’s the best course I’ve ever done,” he said.
“I got the chance to study scriptwriting with legends like Priscilla Cameron and Shayne Armstrong and try my hand at directing and production.
“It’s crazy how much the course at GFS has helped me – it’s got me further than I ever dreamed.
“Every job I’ve got was through the Griffith network of creatives.”
National recognition for film grads
Head of Griffith Film School, Professor Herman Van Eyken, said the success of graduates like Samuel reflected the calibre of talent nurtured at GFS.
“We are very proud of what our students, graduates and faculty members are producing, and are delighted to see their work being recognised,” he said.
“Initiatives like this allow our filmmakers to make industry connections and build a wider audience for their work.”
Griffith Film School is the only film school in Australia to have a full-time commercial production arm, LiveLab.
Online content is king
LiveLab creative director Richard Fabb said student filmmakers are increasingly focused on creating compelling online content.
“This form is still in its infancy, but we’re starting to see students realising the potential of online,” he says.
“Young filmmakers have a means of putting out content that wasn’t available even five or ten years ago.”