Actor and comedian Matt Okine is lending his star power to a music video produced by Griffith Film School students.
The clip will accompany a new song by Townsville indie-folk songstress Greta Stanley, whose debut singles have featured on Triple J Unearthed.
After commandeering the main auditorium at Brisbane City Hall and wrangling a host of extras, dancers and smoke machines, the crew headed to the Sunshine Coast hinterland to shoot at Maleny’s famed One Tree Hill.
A dream come true
Director Brendan Schoenmaker and producer Nicole Collet were thrilled to have Matt Okine on board.
“I’m a huge fan of his work, and I knew he had great acting chops, so we couldn’t believe it when he said yes,” Brendan said.
“I don’t think we’ll stop pinching ourselves until we wrap.”
Star supports emerging talent
Possibly the busiest bloke in Australian showbiz, the former Triple J breakfast host will release his debut novel in September, moonlights as a musician, and is putting the finishing touches on the second season of his hit comedy The Other Guy, produced by Griffith Film School alumnus Angie Fielder.
He cleared his schedule to help make the passion project a reality after the students reached out via email.
“This project ticked every box,” he said.
“Every single element caught my attention – the song is amazing, and the concept for the clip was great.
“But the main thing that drew me to this project was their passion – the fact that they really put themselves out there and backed their idea.
“It felt like they wouldn’t let me down – I sensed that they were the sort of people with the drive and ambition to make this happen.”
Matt said the experience reminded him of his own university days in Brisbane, when he was struggling to break through as an actor and comedian.
“I know how important your grad project is before you go out into the world,” he said.
“When you’re a student you really have beg, borrow and steal to make what you want.
“I like to support up and comers and I’m happy to help them make their dream a reality.
“It’s been a real joy for me to spend a couple of days back in Brisbane and be part of a new project.”
A labour of love
After studying at the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University, Director Brendan Schoenmaker is in his final year of the Bachelor of Film and Screen Media Production at Griffith Film School.
He has joined forces with some of his fellow film students to establish a production company that captures live music around town. For the keen musician and filmmaker, music videos were the logical next step.
“I have a huge passion for music, and we are fortunate here at Griffith Film School to have access to amazing equipment worth hundreds of thousands of dollars,” he said.
“It is a great bargaining chip when you’re approaching an artist to work on their clip.”
Pushing the boundaries
Brendan is keen to follow in the footsteps of well-known directors who got their start helming music videos, including luminaries like Spike Jonze, David Fincher and Michel Gondry.
“As the writer and director, I’ve spent every waking moment on this project for the past couple of months,” he said.
“Music videos certainly throw up some challenges – you’re working without dialogue, so it’s ‘show, don’t tell’.
“This one is very visual, and we’re keen to push the boundaries and make it as big and beautiful as we can.”
Australia’s new filmmaking hub
Fellow Griffith Film School student, producer Nicole Collet, said Brisbane was an ideal base for young filmmakers.
“This is a great place to make films – people want to see you succeed and we had so much support,” she said.
“We’ve roped in dozens of our fellow students and our lecturers have been there to guide us every step of the way. Brisbane City Council helped us organise all of the permits to shoot at City Hall, and their events company, Epicure, provided funding for us to shoot in the auditorium.”
Richard Fabb oversees Griffith Film School’s production arm, LiveLab. The screen industry veteran said the project allowed the students to think outside the box.
“It’s certainly not a typical final year project, and it’s a great example of students thinking big,” he said.
“Students traditionally made a short film, but we encourage students to think outside the box, and we’ve had people tackle everything from TV commercials to web series and music videos.
Griffith Film School is sponsoring the inaugural Reel Music Video Festival, which will showcase the best Queensland film and music content. Richard Fabb said the medium offered emerging filmmakers great opportunities for exposure.
“The students recognise that a project like this has the potential to have more impact, and they’ve been savvy in identifying artists and performers that will give it an edge,” he said.
“Logistically and creatively it’s a huge undertaking, but it’s a great example of what can be done.
“The challenge for any emerging filmmaker is finding a seat at the table after graduation, and a project like this is a great calling card.”
The music video for Pour by Greta Stanley will be released on 9 August.