Each year the Hanlon Larsen Screen Fellowship provides a $45,000 grant to filmmakers with an experimental or avant-garde project. Applications are now open!
Established by Mercury CX chair Peter Hanlon in honour of his friend, collaborator, and industry luminary, the late Flinders University Screen lecturer Cole Larsen, the Hanlon Larson Screen Fellowship is a collaborative fellowship supported by philanthropist Peter Hanlon, Flinders University, Adelaide Film Festival, Mercury CX and Light ADL.
This year the fellowship will focus on projects that have already commenced or can guarantee completion for the 2023 Adelaide Film Festival.
We spoke to previous winner Tim Carlier who used the funds from the Fellowship to make his debut feature film Paco, an experimental comedy which premiered at the Film Festival Rotterdam 2023.
How the Hanlon Larsen Screen Fellowship was used for Paco
Paco is the perfect example of how this fellowship can support new artists. Tim tells us the story of his first feature film, “Paco is a surreal comedy about a sound recordist named Manny. When an actress runs away with one of Manny’s microphones he must retrieve it or face dire consequences. Hearing only the sound from Manny’s boom microphone, and the runaway actress’ radio mic, we follow Manny on a treacherous journey through Music Videos, Timetravellers, the dreaded Sound Council and more.”
For Paco, the cast, crew and collaborators consisted largely out of Flinders graduates. “The scope of Paco grew quite large, to the point where we had over 110 cast and crew across the whole shoot. I couldn’t have managed a film like this without my producer Tim Hodgson, with whom I’ve been making films and comedy musicals for over 5 years. We also had our star Manuel ‘Manny Paco’ Ashman who really is the soul of the film. Almost everyone on screen is a friend of mine and someone who works in film.”
The film premiered in Rotterdam in January 2023. “The International Film Festival Rotterdam was an incredible experience. Myself, my producer Tim Hodgson, and the lead actor Manuel Ashman, were all supported by Screen Australia to attend. It felt like a huge rush having only finished this ‘experiment’ in October, to suddenly be attending the world premiere in Rotterdam.
“The film had a great reception and we learned so much about the next steps for film festivals and the distribution of our film. It was also great to meet so many other incredible filmmakers and feel a part of a worldwide filmmaking community.”
Studying Screen at Flinders
At Flinders, Tim completed a Bachelor of Creative Arts (Screen). “Flinders University was crucial to both my growth as an artist and as a film professional. When I started the course I had a very thin idea of what I wanted to be when I finished, but throughout the course, I was able to experiment with different roles and different sides of screen work.
“Because of this, I found opportunities to start working professionally in the camera department on shorts, TV series and features. But I was also able to experiment with my own creative work and learn how to collaborate with a variety of people.
“One of my favourite experiences was a project called ‘Encounter Planet’, where we made a trailer for a space film, featuring live action, rotoscope animation, 3D printed miniatures and more. It was an incredible opportunity to collaborate with multiple artists and do something overly ambitious. I’m still surprised by what we made today.
“Even nowadays, I still apply our learning at work. The films and theories we studied opened a lot of doors for me in terms of discovering filmmakers and techniques that I still study and steal from today. It was also a great training ground for my first steps onto a film set and learning about the creative collaboration that comes from filmmaking.”
Cole Larsen’s lasting influence
Tim fondly looks back on his time with Cole. “Cole was one of the first people I’d ever met who genuinely enjoyed experimental cinema. He was avid about it and you could always tell how much he enjoyed watching and talking about films.
“Paco was a film that I’d been talking about making for years. But it wasn’t until the Hanlon Larsen Screen Fellowship that I was able to take it seriously. It’s very difficult as a freelancer to convince yourself, let alone others, to work on an experimental film without pay. You have to take work where you can get it. So to have the opportunity and money to pay people you want to work with to have the time to make something is incredibly important.
“Organisations like Hanlon Larson and the Helpmann Academy are also crucial in building confidence. The money is one thing, but what really helps is the backing of an arts organisation saying, ‘we believe in you, make the thing.’ I wouldn’t be making anything if that support didn’t exist.”
Tim’s tips for prospective Screen students
“The screen industry feels like it’s constantly changing. Opportunities come and go and change a lot. But you should be following the Helpmann Academy, Carclew, the South Australian Film Cooperation and the Mercury CX. There are lots of opportunities and you should go for as many as you can.
“From the outside, the screen industry can seem impenetrable, but it’s surprisingly easy to get in contact with industry professionals and everyone is actually pretty friendly. Join mailing lists and Facebook groups to keep on top of any opportunities.
“And if you want to make your own films, make them. Applying for grants is an important skill, but you can also make films on your phone or any camera you have lying around.”
Submit your application now
Interested in winning the Hanlon Larson Screen Fellowship yourself? Be quick. Applications close on 31 March 2023.