Three Griffith filmmakers have been awarded a prestigious Crystal Bear award for their documentary ‘Wolfe’, which was named Best Short Film by the Youth Jury at the Berlin International Film Festival in Germany.
‘Wolfe’ is a 16-minute production from producer/director Claire Randall, who is an undergraduate in Film and Screen Media at Griffith Film School.
Pivotal to the production as well was producer Shannen Tunnicliffe and Director of Photography and animator Lachlan Morton.
The film was inspired by the director’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.
‘Wolfe’ was selected for the Generation 14plus category at the festival, part of a program dedicated to young people that attracts more than 65,000 film fans. The Generation 14plus section has previously featured other high-profile Aussie films like ‘Red Dog’, ‘Girl Asleep’ and ‘Bran Nue Dae’.
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. We thank the filmmaker for this factually informative and deeply moving work.”
Lachlan Morton said the experience had been “overwhelming”.
“We were competing against films from all over the world, all from very very talented filmmakers with powerful stories to tell,” he said.
“It is so important that stories like these get told, and we are so honoured to be recognised by the jury at Berlinale.”
The trio of young filmmakers has been making the most of the festival experience, attending world premieres, sharing the red carpet with stars like Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart and meeting a range of festival programmers.
“The whole Berlin experience has been amazing and we’ve 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.”
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.