Young filmmaker’s light vision catches judges’ votes

Filmmaker, designer and animator, Flinders University alumna Emma Hough Hobbs, has taken out the inaugural $35,000 Hanlon Larsen Screen Fellowship from a competitive field of 50 candidates.

Her project, ‘Film On Film’ (Working title), is a 3-6 minute experimental doc-animation hybrid exploring the compelling charm of celluloid, which Emma says aims to showcase “how to spot when a film has been shot with the good stuff”.

“It will be shot on Kodak stock and the animation will then be captured frame by frame on Kodak film itself, allowing the audience to realise and appreciate the feeling celluloid can lend to a film,” she explains.

While locally collaborative, the project taps into the worldwide fascination with the capturing of light.

The animated short will pair soundbites from experts and film-centric directors (think Hirokazu Kore-eda, Sean Baker, Sophia Coppola) with lucid and flowing handcrafted 2D animation, to create an exquisite ode to the medium against the backdrop of 35mm’s contemporary renaissance.

Emma (BCreatArts(DigitalMedia) 2018) is a queer artist and film graduate from Flinders University, receiving the Chancellor’s Letter of Commendation 2017.

She’s an emerging designer, animator and filmmaker who is a vibrant and passionate member of the SA film industry. Emma was awarded Young Inspirational Filmmaker at the 2018 Fleurieu Film Festival.

Last year she was nominated twice for Best Production Design at the SASA Awards. She has worked on TV shows including Tim Minchin’s Foxtel series Upright and Anna Kokkinos’ SBS series The Hunting.

Her work as an animator has led to collaborations with Madeleine Parry (director of Hannah Gadsby’s Nannette) and inclusion in the international animation project Loop De Loop. Emma also wrote and directed the SASA nominated animated short Umi.

Launched in April this year, SA’s new Hanlon Larsen Screen Fellowship funds an experimental film project with production and in-kind support of $35,000 in partnership with Flinders University and Mercury CX.

The completed project will screen as part of the Adelaide Film Festival.

The screen fellowship has been established by SA Film Corporation chairman Peter Hanlon, in honour of his friend, collaborator and industry luminary, the late Flinders University screen production lecturer Cole Larsen.

This is the first year of this annual fund, which is planned to run for a minimum of five years.

Cole Larsen, right, with Flinders colleagues Dr Matt Hawkins, left, and Dr Tom Young.

Submissions were assessed by a panel of representatives from Flinders University, the Mercury CX, the Adelaide Film Festival, and a former student of Cole Larsen.

The wide range of approaches in the projects submitted reflected the intent of the very minimal guidelines – no rules other than pushing the boundary of screen language while remaining true to the identity of the artist.

Judges said: “We were deeply impressed by the range and quality of projects, making the task of selecting a single project from a field of ambitious, innovative, and inspirational projects, a difficult one. However, Emma’s project was conceptually strong, with an innovative path to execution that we all found compelling. We congratulate Emma and look forward to seeing the results of her work”.

“I’m honoured to be able to support this Fellowship in recognition of my friend, Cole Larsen. This year, we have the support of the Mercury CX, Flinders University and the Adelaide Film Festival. I’m hoping in years to come we are able to organise even more support from across South Australia’s screen industry” says Peter Hanlon.

“This award is an exciting addition to Australia’s screen industry, in that it requires no marketplace commitment, but rather seeks to champion a singular vision” says Flinders University’s Dan Thorsland, from the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.

“It’s thrilling to uncover this depth of distinctive talent in the South Australian industry and look forward to supporting Emma on her creative journey,” adds Mercury CX CEO Karena Slaninka.

Mat Kesting, Adelaide Film Festival CEO and Creative Director, says: “The spirit of the Hanlon Larsen Fellowship is super exciting as it provides a new opportunity for diverse and possibly unorthodox voices that may otherwise be overlooked by existing funding structures, to push creative boundaries of form and medium.”

The Mercury CX hosted the online announcement of the inaugural recipient as part of the National Screenmakers Connect 2020 Conference this week.

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