Falmouth Animation in the Outback

Monday 30 July 2018
Outback Workshop - Dr. Peter Moyes

Senior Animation & Visual Effects Lecturer Katharine Nicholls has spent three weeks in Queensland, Australia to help run an international film-making workshop for film and animation students.

Katharine has been reinforcing links with Falmouth's international partners and forging new opportunities for students in the future, namely taking School of Film & Television students to take part in next year's programme. The fim-making workshop was organised by Griffith Film School, one of Falmouth's international partner institutions.

A group of sixty students from a number of institutions across Asia and Australia including Griffith University Brisbane, The Beijing Film Academy, University of New South Wales and Nanyang Polytechnic visited the historic town of Winton.

The town was to host the fifth annual Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival and the students were set the challenge of pitching and producing a short film in just two weeks, to be shown during the finale of the festival.

The first week was a full immersion in storytelling. Katharine commented: "There was a particular emphasis on story, on coming up with a good idea inspired by local characters, their history and connection to the environment. Students were given the time and space to look around them, take photos, paint, write, sketch and to discuss their ideas with their peers."

After a few days, they headed deeper into the Outback to the Bladensburg National Park to camp for two nights. Katharine reflected: "In getting closer to nature and experiencing the absence of a few home comforts, a creative mind-set emerged, as everyone pitched their film ideas around the camp-fire. The uninterrupted horizons of the Outback made us think deeply about survival, evolution and human history."

The Vision Splendid is the only film festival in the world purely dedicated to Australian cinema. All 250 films were shown to capacity audiences in Winton's renowned open-air theatre, including international hits such as The Greatest Showman and Peter Rabbit. 

The film students began work on their intense shooting schedules, while the animation students produced designs, concept art and storyboards for their project pitches.

Katharine worked closely on visual development with the animation students. They made clay character models and went out sketching in the landscape, whilst Katharine helped the film students with their stories and even took an acting role in one of the films.

Katharine reflected: "The finished short films were screened to an appreciative audience on the final night of the festival. The animation students, along with a small group of screen-writers from Griffith, pitched in groups on the final day and showed a showreel of their artwork on the big screen that night."