Graduate film debuts at Berlin International Film Festival

Thursday 25 January 2018

The crew of short film Paper Crane behind the camera.

The short film was produced by a crew led by director and Swinburne graduate Takumi Kawakami.

In summary

  • Short film directed by Swinburne graduate will premiere at Berlin International Film Festival
  • ‘Paper Crane’ deals with the struggles of living up to family expectations 

Short film ‘Paper Crane’, directed by a Swinburne graduate, will premiere at the 68th Berlin International Film Festival in February.

Directed by Swinburne film and television graduate Takumi Kawakami, ‘Paper Crane’ deals with the struggles of living up to family expectations.

“It feels unreal that our film will be shown at the Berlin Film Festival,” says Mr Kawakami.

“For a few days after the initial invitation I was worried there might have been some sort of mistake, but we are now close to the screening date and no retraction email has come so I am super excited!” 

Defying expectations

Initially, Mr Kawakami says he envisioned the film to be much different, but once he realised his young lead actress could play the violin he decided to include it in the film.

“From there, it slowly developed into a film focused on her violin,” he says.

The story follows Sora on her seventh birthday on a visit to her grandmother’s house. Her family desire her to become a violin prodigy, but during this trip Sora sees a glimpse of the world outside of the one her family envisions for her.

Short film crew in a living room/kitchen.

Swinburne experience

Mr Kawakami says that the ‘Paper Crane’ wouldn’t be possible in the first place if not for his studies at Swinburne.

“This bachelor degree has been sometimes frustrating, challenging but always rewarding,” he says.

“The professors are consistently striving to improve our skills and are always readily available to help when we need it.”

Dr Vincent Giarrusso, Swinburne film and television lecturer, says that Mr Kawakami’s success is reflective of Swinburne’s hard-working film and television students.

“We are thrilled with Takumi’s success with ‘Paper Crane’,” he says.

“His success is indicative of the work ethic, passion and academic tenacity of Swinburne film and television students. Our students have great success at local and international festivals because they work hard and they work smart.”

Other recent Swinburne film and television successes include:

  • A Life Together’ awarded Best Documentary at the Noosa International Film Festival
  • The Kiss’ awarded Best Student Short at California Film Awards
  • Burning in the Mekong’ awarded Best Student Film at London Film Awards

To follow ‘Paper Crane’ on its international journey, see: Paper Crane short film