Meeting Adam on the Eve of Aussie Domination

[Left to Right: Adam Elliot, James Calvert & Eddie White at the 1998 Atom Awards]

With the announcement of the nominees on Tuesday, Oscar season is well and truly under way. It was great to see some truly diverse animated feature films make it into the mix that challenge people’s view of what stories animation could tell. Australians have traditionally done well at the Oscars and we were really rooting for Adam Elliot’s Mary & Max to get a nod. With his festival successes and Oscar win, Adam really had a lot to do with putting Aussie animation on the map in the 90s and 00s.

When I was a teenager in high school just starting to make short films, I remember seeing Adam’s short ‘Uncle’ for the first time. It was such a unique, hilarious and emotional short and to top it off, made by a fellow Aussie.

Throughout this time when my fellow PRA pioneers James Calvert & Hugh Nguyen and I were making student films in our garage, we would always keep track of Adam’s latest films and awards and drew inspiration from his style of storytelling, not to mention his honest, low-fi and unpretentious way of making an animated film.

In 1998 at the ATOM awards in Melbourne, we met Adam in person. He was young(er), energetic, approachable and an inspiration to talk with (we were 16 at the time).

In 2004, when Adam won the Academy Award for Best Short Animation for his masterpiece Harvie Krumpet we were thrilled – thrilled that an Australian animator had taken the big prize.

Then in the following two years, two more Australians would follow making it to the nomination stage; Sejong Park with Birthday Boy and Anthony Lucas with The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello.

With Warwick Thornton’s inspired Samson & Delilah missing out on a nomination for “Best Foreign Language Film”, Australia’s Oscar hopes this year rest on Luke Doolan’s Miracle Fish in the Best Short Film category. Good luck mate!

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