AFTRS has announced Western Australia’s Celeste Franklin as the recipient of the 2020 Storytelling Scholarship.
The Storytelling Scholarship was created to support AFTRS’ mission to discover and support exceptional emerging storytellers from under-represented groups.
Celeste, who has worked in the film industry in costume departments for many years and has also had a career as a primary school teacher, is making the transition to a career in screenwriting and commencing a Masters of Arts Screen: Screenwriting this year. The scholarship will cover Celeste’s tuition fees for the duration of her course.
Celeste’s maternal grandfather was a Kalkatung man who fought in Jimmy Sharman’s boxing tents and is recognised as one of Australia’s boxing talents; while her maternal great, great, grandfather, was blackbirded from the South Sea Islands to be a kanaka on the northern Queensland cane fields.
Celeste was selected for the Scholarship based on her powerful creative response to the story provocations in the AFTRS brand campaign, Storytellers Wanted. The Storytellers Wanted campaign was developed by award winning agency 72andSunny and directed by emerging filmmaker and AFTRS alumna, Vedrana Music, with mentoring by Gillian Armstrong. The campaign features a number of vignettes, ‘stories waiting to be told’, and Storytelling Scholarship applicants were invited to complete a story.
Celeste said: “Working as a crew member, hovering at the director’s shoulder, I developed a real interest in visual storytelling as a medium that can serve as a tool of reflection and inspiration for us all. For the last 11 years I’ve worked to develop as a storyteller; to understand that my voice has the potential to promote understanding and change for our peoples and planet.
“I believe stories are seeded from a place beyond the writer. They find their way into the world as a means of communicating to others to hold fast, let go or let live. As someone who has lived the breadth of my country – from the stillness of rustling cane in the north, the rushing river rapids of the cleanest waters of the south, the wildest ocean shores of the west, and the vast red openness of Australia’s interior, to the bustling metropolis of the east – and whose cultural roots are heavily tied to this country, my aim is to breathe life into stories that enable a deeper understanding of how Australia has arrived where it is today, and how, as a connected global society, we all affect the future we live in tomorrow.”
AFTRS Director of Curriculum and Registrar, Nell Greenwood, said: “This Scholarship is a critical part of our strategy to find and support emerging Australian screen talent. We are so excited by the strength of Celeste’s writing and the life experience and distinct point of view she brings to it. We are delighted to be able to support the next step in Celeste’s creative journey and can’t wait to see what she does over the next two years.”
Since its inception in 1973 as the national film, television and radio school, AFTRS has empowered Australian storytelling talent. This Scholarship reflects the School’s determination to support the next generation of Australian talent and ensure audiences are enriched by Australian stories.