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Griffith Magazine

Griffith filmmaker cleans up awards

Claire Randall, Griffith Film School Alumni and Documentary Director & Producer

Griffith Magazine

First Edition November 2017

A trio of young filmmakers from Griffith Film School has made 2017 a year to remember.

The three have spent most of the year earning plaudits and taking bows for their graduate film at scores of festivals across the globe.

Wolfe is a short documentary from director Claire Randall, who studied Film and Screen Media at Griffith Film School.

Also on the creative team were producer Shannen Tunnicliffe and director of photography/animator Lachlan Morton.

The journey began in February with the film’s selection for the prestigious Berlin International Film Festival. Berlinale is considered one of the world’s top film festivals, alongside Cannes and Venice, with more than 350,000 tickets sold and 20,000 industry attendees annually.

Wolfe was named Best Short Film by the Youth Jury, winning a Crystal Bear award.

The filmmakers made the most of the festival experience, attending world premieres, sharing the red carpet with stars like Hugh Jackman and Sir Patrick Stewart, and meeting a range of festival programmers and filmmakers.

“The whole Berlin experience was amazing and we learned so much,” Lachlan said.

“Someone said that getting into a festival this huge with our first-ever film was like diving in head first, but I like to think we’ve dived in feet first and hit the ground running.”

“I believe these kinds of films can help other people who are struggling and encourage them to seek help.”

The Festival jury praised Wolfe for its “impressive honesty and intimacy”.

“By means of its authentic narrative and tactful approach to a sensitive subject, this documentary manages to demystify a taboo without sentimentality or judgment.”

“With impressive honesty and intimacy, the protagonist discloses his experiences of psychological illness, accompanied by lovingly animated memory sequences…an informative and deeply moving work.”

The film was motivated by Claire’s own encounter with mental illness as a teenager. It uses interviews and animation to explore a young man’s journey through adolescence with undiagnosed schizophrenia, and his relationship with an imaginary friend, Mister Wolfe.

Lachlan Morton, Claire Randall and Shannen Tunnicliffe winning a Crystal Bear award at Berlinale

“I knew it was a big responsibility taking on this story, but I think we handled it respectfully,” she said.

“I believe these kinds of films can help other people who are struggling and encourage them to seek help.”

The film also received a special mention at the International Short Film Festival, Oberhausen – a place where filmmakers and artists ranging from Roman Polanski to George Lucas have presented their first films.

Closer to home, the film had its Australian premiere at the Sydney Film Festival in June, screened to a local audience at the Brisbane International Film Festival in August, and recently took out an award for Best Student Film at the Heart of Gold Festival in Gympie.

This month, Wolfe continued its dream run on the international festival circuit: it was named Best Short Documentary at the Antenna International Documentary Film Festival, and will screen at the Film School Fest in Munich as well as the Austin International Film Festival before the end of the year.

Claire said the film’s reception had been “overwhelming”.

“It’s absolutely amazing,” she said.

“Getting the opportunity to accompany our film around the world has been such a privilege, and it’s taught me so much about the industry.”

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