Berlin Film Festival Win for Adelaide’s Tilda Cobham-Hervey with Directorial Debut

27 February 2018

Adelaide actress Tilda Cobham-Hervey’s directorial debut A Field Guide to Being a 12-Year-Old Girl was last night awarded the prestigious Crystal Bear for Best Short Film, by the Youth Jury of the 68th Berlin International Film Festival’s Generation KPlus Section.

A Closer Productions film, A Field Guide to Being a 12-Year-Old Girl was commissioned by the ABC and Screen Australia as part of the ABC ME Girls Initiative. The film world premiered simultaneously at the 2017 Adelaide Film Festival (ADL Film Fest) and on ABC ME on October 11, the UN’s International Day of the Girl. The film is currently available to watch on ABC iview.

Created by Tilda Cobham-Hervey with twelve 12-year-old-girls, this film is a cross between a documentary and a theatre piece, where real girls articulate what they hope for, what they remember and what it feels like to be 12. Performing themselves as part of a filmed field-guide, together these specimens investigate their own species.

The Youth Jury, made up of eleven children who award the Crystal Bear to the most outstanding film in Berlin’s world-renowned youth program, Generation KPlus said “In an unusual and creative manner, we gain insight into a complex species – one whose diversity not only girls can identify with. With a great deal of humour, the documentary demonstrates one thing above all: girls can accomplish anything they set their minds to!”

2017 marks Tilda’s third appearance at Berlin following Sophie Hyde’s 2014 breakthrough feature film 52 Tuesdays starring Cobham-Hervey, which was awarded the Crystal Bear for the Best Film Generation 14Plus, and in 2016, Rosemary Myers’ Girl Asleep, also selected in Generation 14Plus. All three films had their world premieres at Adelaide Film Festival in the previous October.

Writer/director Tilda Cobham-Hervey said “I am so overwhelmed and grateful for this award. This project means so much to me. Exactly 4 years ago Closer Productions and I were celebrating the premiere of our film 52 Tuesdays. To be back at the festival 4 years later with a film I wrote and directed in collaboration with them is such a special feeling.

I want to thank Screen Australia, ABC and the SAFC funded career accelerator program for giving me this opportunity and supporting young female artists. It is so important and I can’t wait to see where my cast of twelve 12 year old girls will go next. Maybe one of them will be presenting their own film at this festival one day. I feel so lucky to have had the chance to work and create with every single one of these incredible young women.

As I look back now on making this field guide, it was perhaps more about me asking them for guidance than the other way around. These brave, inspiring, proud girls are our future and that statement couldn’t make me any happier.

Unfortunately I can’t attend the festival as I am currently shooting a film in Poughkeepsie called Plume. But I am very grateful for my wonderful cinematographer and editor Bryan Mason and Audrey his beautiful daughter and one of the stars of the film for collecting the award on my behalf.”

In Berlin as a Juror of of the Berlinale’s Generation K+ section, Artistic Director of the ADL Film Fest Amanda Duthie said ‘It was such a rewarding experience to have the World Premiere of this knockout directorial debut at the Adelaide Film Festival, where Tilda and her twelve stars moved much of the audience to tears. To see the film win this major international award, and so soon after Warwick Thorton’s Sweet Country win at the Venice Film Festival, is an exciting moment that acknowledges the phenomenal creative talent coming out of our local industry across age, gender and cinematic platforms. It is a great honour to be able to celebrate, support and showcase this talent at the Adelaide Film Festival. ’

About A Field Guide to Being a 12-Year-Old Girl

Written and directed by Tilda Cobham-Hervey, A Field Guide to Being a 12-Year-Old Girl was produced by Katrina Lucas, Closer Productions, and executive produced by Sophie Hyde and Jan Stradling. Cinematography and editing by Bryan Mason, Music by Harry Covill, Sound and Sound Design by Leigh Kenyon, Production Design and Costumes by Renate Henschke. A Field Guide to Being a 12-Year-Old Girl was produced with the assistance of ABC Me and Screen Australia. The South Australian Film Corporation supported a mentorship for Tilda Cobham-Hervey.

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Photo: Nat Rogers

Cathy Gallagher
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Alicia Brescianini
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