By Linda Wall and Amanda Blennerhassett
Many previous BBFF Young Australian Filmmaker Award winners have gone on to do great things in film. Nathan Hunt, winner of the Award in 2011 with his 7-minute film The Bleed, is now based in the United States, where he is currently making his debut independent feature film, The Savage Son, through his own production company, Proscenium Productions. The company is co-owned by Nathan Dale, The Bleed’s, co-Producer and Actor. Nathan Hunt returns as a guest of BBFF in 2014 and will no doubt be an inspiration to award nominees at this year’s festival.
Last week we got to talk with Nathan about his experience winning BBFF Young Australian Filmmaker Of The Year. He said, “BBFF was important for me, as it gave a platform to showcase a piece of work that we were proud of and get it in front of festival audiences finally. I say ‘we’ loudly with co-producer/actor – Nathan M. Dale, Co-writer/Editor – Nick McDougal, Composor – Andrew Sampford, Actor – Ian McKenzie, Actress – Abby Gracia.”
“Awards are always flattering to receive – I think, one, as affirmation that your work has made a tiny impact on its audience in some way and, two, it’s a nice fire in the pants to keep pushing forward.”
When asked about the opportunities the award has provided, Nathan replied, “This particular award has played a big part in pushing my career forward. The festival sits proud on an international stage and when people see you as a recipient of an award from a valid, legitimate film event – they take notice. I was able to secure a sponsorship deal with Lemac film rental house in Sydney to shoot a proof of concept piece for my feature film ‘The Savage Son,’ based on the confidence solidified from that one award. When your works are verified, vetted, approved etc, by peers and professionals in a festival setting – I feel it gives you these extra invisible legs to carry you to your next milestone. Filmmaking is hard and you can only block out everyone’s opinions (good and bad) for so long before you either start listening, learning or you go home. BBFF is a great place to listen and learn.”
“BBFF is a great place to listen and learn.”
Nathan then shared a little about the collaboration opportunities BBFF opened up for him. “That year, I was in competition with Lucas Crandles and his film Óf Land and Bounty starring Aussie actor Robert Grubb – an amazing film – and after the awards presentation he came up to me and we both commended to each other on our films yada yada – but within minutes of film chat we knew we’d found life-long creative collaborators. I love instant stuff like that. Ever since then we’ve become best mates, he was groomsman at my wedding and we’ve written a number of projects together. It’s awesome.”
Nathan continued, “Lucas is co-writing, with me, the final draft of my first independent US feature, The Savage Son, this year. I started in 2012 and we’re so close to the sweet spot now. So now we’ll begin pulling together resources to raise production funding over the next few months. I plan to shoot it on 35mm film, I’m getting quotes to buy one off the dusty shelves of a rental house – I think it’s important to embrace the discipline that shooting on film provides. I get excited when certain restrictions, parameters are put in place – free flowing creativity can be dangerously unfocused. We’ll see what happens.”
“I get excited when certain restrictions, parameters are put in place – free flowing creativity can be dangerously unfocused.”
We asked Nathan what his advice would be for other young filmmakers and he said, “For every exciting day, there’s a paralyzing day to ground you. We’ve picked an industry that is tumultuous in nature and is very much dependent on the creation of assets out of thin air. That’s pressure. And it should be hard. This has and will still be the hardest years of my life – authoring my own work, trying to remain disciplined in completing works and projects, seeing the sun over those tall dark hills is the challenge.”
He then added, “I’m in no position to give advice as I’m still learning and growing but I can offer suggestions: Don’t ever sit still, don’t focus on what people want you to do or be, always have something to say, question everything, learn everything, and give back through your craft. The most important part of filmmaking, for me, is the ability to impact and move people; through storytelling, to spiritually connect to an audience through the synergistic and symbiotic nature of vision and sound.”
Hear Nathan speak at the Young Australian Filmmaker showcase on Saturday 8th March, 3.30pm at Byron Community Centre. Tickets $12, to purchase click here.
Nathan Hunt lives in Massachusetts, USA where he is currently working on two projects. Trench, a short film set in world war one in Turkey and The Savage Son, an indie drama set in Boston about a terminally ill criminal who returns to his gangland roots with a limited time to repair his broken family. For more information about his work visit: www.prosceniumprod.com