This week, GP caught up with amazing actress Jessica Tovey! She’s the ambassador for the Oovie Schools Film Project – a comp for aspiring filmmakers! You’ll remember her from her role as Belle Taylor on Home and Away.
So tell us all about the Oovie Schools Film Project.
Originally Oovie partnered with Dungog film festival to create the Schools Film Project for high school students. This year they’ve decided to expand it to the Cockatoo Island Film Festival in Sydney, so it’s really great. Each school pitches one idea for a three minute short film. Then those pitches are considered by a panel of industry experts and then three of those ideas are picked. Those three schools are invited to work with professional filmmakers and are given resources valued at a lot of money, $47600 dollars, and that includes a mentorship with writers, editors and producers and film equipment and editing equipment. What’s really cool is that kids get to come camp on the island for four days and make the film. Then they are premiered at the Cockatoo Island Film Festival.
That sounds like one cool sleepover!
Yeah it sounds like the best slumber party ever! It’s really cool, this year they have a theme and it’s “Island” and kids have to use that theme and work it into their pitch and if they get chosen then they are the luckiest kids in NSW and Victoria!
So did you ever make movies when you were in school?
Yeah I did. I was the first year that trialled the film studies subject so at the high school I went to I would study films and learn about how they were made and then we were given cameras and we got to go into the playground and make our own films. It was such a wonderful and fun subject to do at school. Now that kids are so much more tech savvy it teaches them skills they can use later on in life.
So you would have entered the film project if you could?
Absolutely, I was like, “I wish I could do this, it sounds like so much fun.”
What would you do if you had to make a film with this year’s theme ‘Island’?
Well, knowing now that there’s such diverse range of buildings on Cockatoo Island, there’s tunnels and you’ve got the jail, I reckon there will be quite a few horror stories and settlement stories coming out of the project because if you look around the island there are all these old industrial buildings. They recently had a festival of street artists which would make the best backdrops.
So what three things would you take with you if you were stranded on an island?
I would take a giant catalogue of books because I’d get bored. Even though I can’t play a musical instrument I’d take one because I’d figure I’d have a lot of time to learn and I’d probably take an avocado tree because it’s without a doubt the only food I could not live without. I would plant it on the island and have an endless supply of avocados.
The avocado tree is the strangest tree I’ve ever seen!
Yeah they are the weirdest looking trees. We had one when we were kids and it never had avocados on it and it took about 15 years and then all of a sudden it had so many on it! I think they are really temperamental, they are like “If I don’t feel like fruiting this year, then you’re getting nothing”.
Ha! So do you have any tips for aspiring filmmakers who might want to enter the Oovie Schools Film Project?
I think follow your own style and your own creativity, there’s no point in remaking someone elses stuff, let the judges see your personality of you and your school. Have fun with it too, the reason why people want to be in this industry is that it’s their favourite hobby and they get to do it everyday for a living. If you’re not having fun you’re not doing your job properly.
Do you have a message for any of our Girl Power readers who are thinking of entering?
Yeah, I’d just say I’d start sooner rather than later because this is a fantastic opportunity and I’m sure plenty of schools will be getting involved. Do it because if I was your age I’d be doing it and I hope someone gets to have all that fun!