From Dream to Screen: Tim Carlier’s Journey to making Paco

Paco promotional image


Imagine getting to pursue the career you dreamed of at 15 years old. Tim Carlier is doing just that! 

Having graduated from the Flinders University Screen and Film degree in 2016, he went on to win the annual Hanlon Larsen Screen Fellowship in 2021 and used the funds to make his debut feature film ‘Paco.’ 

Tim has a wealth of experience under his wing and sat down with us to talk about the film which will be screening during the Flinders Festival of Creative Arts, his experience at Flinders and his advice for aspiring filmmakers. 


Director, Tim Carlier


What inspired you to get into filmmaking?

I’ve always loved films growing up, and so many of my friendships were based on films we liked and also when we made little films together. I was around 15 when I locked in and decided filmmaking was what I wanted to spend my life doing.  


Can you tell us a bit about the film, Paco?

Paco started as a short film I made during my final year at Flinders. It was part of an experimental course, and I had this idea of a scene where the sound recordist walked into shot and you could see where their microphone was and hear sounds disconnected from the camera. It was something that I just liked experiencing when I was making it. Several years later I thought it’d be a great idea for a no-budget feature starring the original lead actor Manuel Ashman. We spoke about it for many years and almost started it a couple of times before the Helpmann academy and the Hanlon Larsen Fellowship gave us the means and the motivation to do it. (Deadlines. Deadlines are motivation)

We properly started making the film in June of 2022, with a 22 page script. We filmed for about 10 days over the course of 3 months, and then played an almost finished version at the Adelaide Film festival in October of that year. Which is a crazy turnaround. We had 99 people in the film and about 5 crew most days (2 crew, including the lead actor, on other days) and 20 or so locations. It was an incredibly hectic time, but it’s really paid off. I loved making the film and making it with everyone involved. Since It’s first screening it’s played at the International FIlm Festival Rotterdam, Perth Revelation, SXSW Sydney! Just to name a few! It’s been very exciting and opened a lot of doors.

There’s a lot to talk about with the film, but, I would say the main takeaway for me throughout the process was learning to really listen. The focus of the film is sound, and the perspective of sound. I really enjoyed playing with that perspective.

I’ve seen the film hundreds of times now. I edited it myself. But each time I watch it I still hear or notice something else going on. 

BTS picture from the film set of Paco 


What was the creative process like to create this film?

I mentioned the script was 22 pages long, and most of that is the opening shot of the film. Otherwise scenes were written in paragraphs of action and suggestions of dialogue. I was really interested in improvisation and giving the film an almost documentary style. Many of the people in the film aren’t actors, but they’re friends who I think are much funnier in person than anything I could write. So the script existed as a structure for the film, then we’d fill in the gaps. 


What was your experience like with the Hanlon Larsen Fellowship?

It was really wonderful. There was so much freedom and support. Also having the opportunity + the deadline to screen at the Adelaide Film Festival was incredible. It’s also opened a lot of doors for me in terms of other festivals and opportunities.  


What advice do you have for aspiring filmmakers?

Make stuff and release it. For a long time I never wanted to show my work to other people, but eventually I realised that one of the best parts of making things is seeing the finished product. No matter if it’s not the best thing you’ve ever made, you learn so much from showing your work to other people, and you learn so much from everything you make. Stop waiting for permission or ‘the right moment’ go out and make the dang thing while you’re excited about it. 


Why should people come to the Festival of Creative Arts, and why should they come to the screening of Paco?

Communities aren’t just born, they come from people like you going along to events like this. Adelaide is such an exciting place to live when you engage with it. There are so many people doing cool things, and you’ll get to be at the ground floor at the Festival of Creative Arts. I loved my time at flinders because I got to meet and work with so many different artists from so many different walks of life and completely different disciplines. It’s really exciting and inspiring.  


What else are you excited to see at the Festival this year?

I sadly won’t be in Adelaide for the festival, but I’m zooming in for the Paco Q&A! So please come to that to see a very sleepy me give very sleepy answers on a big screen)

BUT! I would definitely go and see the Flinders University Chamber Ensemble. I played Cello with them for a long time, and it’s a very fun group with a great repertoire. I’d also go to the screen student showcase. I’m always blown away and scared of how good the next generation of filmmakers are. And the ongoing exhibition. There are always so many interesting things being made at Flinders. Also just go to everything. 


Don’t miss your chance to watch the film and meet the filmmakers at this years Flinders Festival of Creative Arts or find out more about Paco and watch the trailer here.  



Event details: 

  • Film Screening and meet the filmmakers: Paco 
  • Tuesday 14 November
  • 6.00pm – 7:30pm
  • Humanities Building, North Theatre 1, Flinders University, Bedford Park 

Register Now  


Posted in
Alumni Career Flinders Festival of Creative Arts Screen Screen and Media

Leave a Reply