Support for film stars of the future

A new film fellowship to support the careers of future South Australian talent has been launched by Flinders University and independent filmmaker Peter Hanlon.

The initial five-year screen fellowship has been established by SA Film Corp chairman Peter Hanlon, in honour of his friend, collaborator and industry luminary, the late Flinders University screen production lecturer Cole Larsen.

It will support an aspiring, innovative screen-maker with a $35,000-a-year (cash and in-kind) fellowship each year (for an initial five years), paying homage to the creativity of experimental producer-director Mr Larsen.

In addition to cash support of $25,000 a year, the Mercury Cinema has also provided $10,000 of direct support to the successful awardee, who also will be eligible for an Adelaide Film Festival screening.

“From Iceland to outback South Australia, Cole loved to tell great stories in film,” says Mr Hanlon, who worked with Mr Larsen on several projects by the Adelaide-based independent film company Living Not Beige Films.

“His stylish perspective focused on the relationship between aesthetic considerations and performance in sometimes dystopian long-form film narrative and experimental moving image works that focused on human intervention in topical landscapes.

“Cole inspired a generation of filmmakers, script writers and other screen professionals, and we want to remember his life’s work through this enduring fellowship program.”

In 2010 Mr Larsen undertook part of his creative arts PhD with Flinders University colleagues Dr Tom Young and Dr Matt Hawkins, with Helen Carter as photography director, on the low-budget feature film Double Happiness Uranium.

Cole Larsen, right, with Flinders colleagues Dr Matt Hawkins and Dr Tom Young.

They say the fellowship is well named.

“Cole Larsen was the sort of filmmaker who always thought outside the box and encouraged bold experimentation,” says screenwriting lecturer Dr Matt Hawkins.

“A worthy recipient of this fellowship will be a film artist whose work challenges the way we think about the world and seeks to actively subvert the dominant paradigm of filmmaking.

“Let’s be brave, take risks, and keep the avant-garde alive!”

Funded by a Helpmann Academy grant, Double Happiness Uranium depicted a “dystopian science fiction narrative set in the near future Independent Republic of South Australia, where uranium is the new oil and Adelaide is the new Middle East.”

After a start in photo-journalism, children’s television, corporate, community and medical documentary-making, Cole Larsen’s 15 years as a lecturer and academic at Flinders University also led to the successful Community Voices Program.

The collaboration between the University and State Government Office for Volunteers has produced a valuable community resource of short docos and free television commercials to promote, support and recruit volunteers.

The Hanlon Larsen Screen Fellowship is open to applications and will be announced at the Mercury Cinema in July.

Flinders University students have worked on free videos for community groups under the Community Voices Program.
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