Six Young Aussies Who Are Doing Awesome Stuff In Film
You have so many great things to catch up on.
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“The first week I moved to Australia I watched The Castle,” a French pal told me recently. “I thought it was the stupidest thing I had ever seen — terrible! But after two years living here I watched it again and it’s now my favourite movie. So funny. I dug a hole!”
The idea that to really appreciate Australian films, you have to be well-acquainted with their birthplace isn’t a new one — but I’d never heard it so neatly explained. And in a time when so many of us are struggling to find pride in the news our country makes overseas, film is a great respite. Overwhelmingly, Australian films are creative, genuine and individual.
After a massive year in 2015, with Australian films producing one of the largest payouts in box office history, 2016 has been a year of slightly more epicormic growth. In celebration of that, here are six Australians doing interesting new stuff you should be watching.
Hunter Page-Lochard (Actor)
With both parents being accomplished and acclaimed dancers, it’s not entirely surprising Hunter’s career in dance stretches back to when he was just six months old. But it’s his lead role in Spear, a thrilling dance film directed by his father Stephen Page and featuring the company of the Bangarra Dance Theatre (of which his dad is the Artistic Director) that’s seen him find his feet.
The film, which premiered at last year’s Adelaide Film Festival and played the Toronto Film Festival, is a dance flick like no other, telling the story of a young Aboriginal man’s path to manhood through movement. It showed off his skills as a dancer and as an actor.
But his biggest role yet was just around the corner. As Koen West in the ABC superhero series Cleverman, Hunter was the face of one of the most celebrated Australian shows in recent memory. The new and unique program, which employed an 80 percent Indigenous cast and , struck a chord with audiences and critics and will return for a second season that delves further into its world. Between this and a role on the most recent season of prison drama Wentworth, it’s obvious that Hunter Page-Lochard is only going to get bigger and better.
Odessa Young (Actor)
Anyone who saw Odessa Young in this year’s standout release The Daughter (a film adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s classic play Wild Duck) will immediately recognise her as the title character who quite honestly rips your heart out in the final scene. In this, and January’s Looking for Grace, Young is so relatable, so funny, vulnerable and clever, that she stays with you for days after.
She’s currently involved in a new Stranger Things-ish series for Hulu, When The Street Lights Go On, about a suburban town that is rocked by the brutal murder of a high school girl and her teacher in the summer of 1983.
Ariel Kleiman (Writer, Director)
At just 31, Ariel Kleiman already has the kind of intimidating artsy resume that speaks towards an exceptional future. 2015 saw him release the full-length film, Partisan, a thriller about child assassins, starring the king of so-weird-but-so-sexy Vincent Cassel.
But he’s been overachieving since uni (the Victorian Collage of the Arts, naturally) too. In 2010, his film Young Love was awarded an Honourable Mention in Short Film Making at the Sundance Film Festival — which was just his second year of film school.
His graduating film, Deeper Than Yesterday, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival’s, Semaine de la Critique, and took home the Kodak Discovery Award for Best Short Film. It went on to win best film prizes at over 20 film festivals, from Leeds to Beijing, including 2011 Sundance Film Festival where it won the Jury Prize in International Filmmaking.
Alice Foulcher (Writer, Actor)
Alice’s first feature length film, That’s Not Me, which she both co-wrote (with her husband and director Gregory Erdstein) and starred in has just gone into post-production and Foulcher couldn’t be more proud.
The film follows an aspiring actress whose dreams are thwarted by the success of her identical twin sister and features a winning ensemble Aussie cast including Isabel Lucas, Offspring’s Richard Davies, Andrew S. Gilbert (Tony Twist from Round the Twist) and a cameo from national treasure Andrew O’Keefe.
Painfully awkward and relatable, Foulcher takes her cues from US comedy queens like Greta Gerwig and Lena Dunham and has built up an impressive body of work over a number of well-received shorts, including 2014 Tropfest finalists A Bit Rich and Picking Up At Auschwitz.
In 2014 Foulcher and Erdstein spent eight months in a Paris artist residency writing That’s Not Me and being the physical personification of #couplesgoals. During the sojourn they also made the short film Paris Syndrome, which screened at CinefestOz 2016 last month.
Mark Bradshaw (Film Composer)
Jane Campion doesn’t mess around when it comes to employing as many tools of pathos in her films as possible, and one of her best employees is composer Mark Bradshaw. The two worked together on her ten-part mini series Top of the Lake, short film The Lady Bug and her Oscar nominated feature Bright Star (on the set of which he met his now-husband Ben Whishaw, the actor who starred as Keats in the film).
Bradshaw composed music for the Welsh thriller Resistance and several other short films including The Mirage, which he also produced. Most recently he was the composer for the (above mentioned) Australian release The Daughter.
Benjamin Rigby (Actor, Photographer)
Being an actor in Australia can be hard, being an Australian actor who also hopes to be an actor in places that are not Australia is marginally harder. Landing a (modest but still verbal) role in Ridley Scott’s latest Alien movie, which is now in production, the same year as an appearance in Garth Davis’s anticipated November release Lion qualifies this as a very good year for Ben Rigby.
Having earned his stripes in both theatre (he’s the co-creator of independent theatre company Exhibit A), commercials and TV (Neighbours, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, The Secret River), Rigby has rounded out this huge year with a short film at the Palm Springs film festival titled Bridge, and his first photography exhibition Greetings from California earlier this year in Melbourne. We asked him what advice he’d give to any actors starting out today and he said, “Don’t sit around waiting for the phone to ring. Create your own work and you’ll learn invaluable skills as a writer/producer/artist and gain access to characters telling stories that you identify with.”
Short films got every one of these guys where they are today, so stop waiting for the phone to ring and make your own for the chance to win US$30,000 with the awesome Connect5 short film comp. Create your own five-minute film around the theme of ‘Connecting Lives’ and enter HERE now.