WHEN stop-motion animator Adam Elliot won an Academy Award for his celebrated film Harvie Krumpet in 2004 he thanked his boyfriend in his acceptance speech, becoming one of the first people ever to thank a same-sex partner at the Oscars.
The couple are still together 12 years on.
[showads ad=FOOT] “I didn’t really think about it at the time,” he told Star Observer.
“I’m just a run of the mill gay man.”
Elliot, 44, has become a darling of not only the Australian film world, but also internationally thanks to his heartwarming and quirky animated films.
“My films have a lot of myself in them… they’re reflections of myself and my imperfections,” he said.
“I love underdogs. I love any film or documentary or novel with people who are perceived as different or marignalised.
“I’m not into heroes.”
The Melbourne-born animator pours his heart and soul into his films whether they be features or shorts as seen in the closing credits of his latest film Ernie Biscuit, where Elliot is named as writer, producer, director, constructor, editor and animator.
“Animators like being in total control… all animators by their nature want to play God,” he said.
Ernie Biscuit is screening at this year’s Flicker Fest, the short film festival at Sydney’s Bondi Beach and tells the story of a lonely, deaf Parisian taxidermist (Biscuit) whose “life is turned upside down and back to front when a dead pigeon arrives on his doorstep”.
Shot in black and white, Ernie ends up living in a hot, suburban Australian town where he befriends a fish and chip shop owner and eventually falls in love with a blind woman living in a lighthouse.
The story is undoubtedly quirky but deals with wider issues such as acceptance, bravery and the plight of immigrants in Australia during the 1960s.
“I love suburbia, I like to have a lot of suburbia in my films,” he said.
“I wanted to have a contrast between Paris and Australia. I really tried to get that ‘Frenchness’ and in Australia I wanted lots of got corrugated iron roofs.
“I wanted the characters to look alien from the points of view of others.
“These are migrant stories… Australia in the 60s was very racist and I’ve been fascinated by how migrants have had to learn to assimilate and been forced to assimilate.”
Ernie Biscuit has already won a swag of awards in Australia and overseas and Elliot loves still being involved in film festivals despite all of his success.
“When I first started out, festivals were one of the only ways of getting films out, but now we have YouTube… I’m a traditionalist as in I prefer to do things the old fashion way,” he said.
“Festivals are very important… with Harvie Krumpet, had we not entered festivals we would not have been shortlisted for the Oscars.”
Elliot “missed the boat” for an Oscar nomination this year and thinks winning another Academy Award would be like “getting struck by lightning twice”. For now, he is focused on making more animation.
“I’m averaging about five years (per film). That’s the nature of animation,” he said.
“I was giving a talk to kids at a primary school last year and a little boy put up his hand and said, ‘if it takes five years for you to make a film, I’ve worked out you’ve only got four left before you retire’.”
For Elliot, his films are his darlings and he simply wants the best for them.
“They’re like children, I just want them to do well and hope no one bullies them once I send them into the world,” he said.
For screening times and details for Flicker Fest visit the website.[showads ad=FOOT]