Music finds a new beat
ANIMATOR (GDipFT 1996)
Adam Elliot rocketed to global fame when his short film Harvie Krumpet, narrated by another Australian Oscar winner, Geoffrey Rush, won an Academy Award in 2004.
It was the culmination of years working on clay animation projects. While still at the VCA, Elliot completed Uncle, and a professional debut work, Cousin, soon followed.
After his Oscar success, he went on to make a feature film, Mary and Max, in 2009. His obsession with storytelling, he says, continues to shape films such as the recent short Ernie Biscuit.
“I’m certainly not an experimental filmmaker, I’m pretty old-fashioned, I tell pretty basic narratives.”
“I remember the very first time I screened one of my films at the St Kilda Film Festival opening night. Just that buzz of hearing people laugh at what you’ve created. Any award opens doors and the Academy Award certainly did. I got to make Mary and Max, which opened the Sundance Film Festival.”
CAREER AND INFLUENCES
A self-confessed ‘lost soul’ before his time at the VCA, he was selling hand-painted T-shirts at art and craft markets.
Choosing an animation course, he knew he had to study hard.
“But it really transformed me. I discovered animation was an amalgamation of all the things I loved — making things, telling stories, entertaining large audiences.”
WHAT BEING AN ANIMATOR MEANS TO ME
“You can reach so many people with a film whereas with a sculpture or a painting it’s more limited. I get letters from people who’ve seen my films in Iran and Argentina and Iceland, so it’s very validating when you hear from people who have been moved or educated or enlightened or inspired.”
A UNIVERSITY MEMORY
Elliot recalls the day the highly respected director and producer Fred Schepisi paid a visit.
“We were all in awe of him. When someone so well-known takes the time to come to film school you realise it is a generational thing.”
Elliot is also keen to support emerging talent. “So that’s why I go back (to school) and talk as well, because you never know who’s sitting in the audience and might make a fabulous film.”