In summary

  • Swinburne student Julia Madeleine Stella will have her film Star Thief shown at the Melbourne International Animation Festival’s Australian Student Showcase
  • Star Thief was created by a team of Swinburne students, who spent over a year creating the animation virtually during COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020
  • Ms Stella will be interviewed and have her animation shown at the virtual event on International Animation Day on 28 October

Swinburne student Julia Madeleine Stella has been selected to show her film Star Thief at the Melbourne International Animation Festival’s Australian Student Showcase.

To celebrate International Animation Day on 28 October, six graduates from each university with an animation course in Australia will be interviewed and have their film premiere via a virtual event.

Ms Stella is currently in her final year of the Bachelor of Games and Interactivity/Bachelor of Animation double degree and says during her studies she has met ‘amazing and inspiring people’ that have given her opportunities to work on great projects.

‘Hard skills and coursework are great of course, and I've learned a lot through those. But it’s the projects I've worked on with the amazing people I've met here that have been some of my most memorable uni experiences.’

Writer, director and animator Julia Madeleine Stella will be interviewed at the event 

Animation star

Star Thief is the story of the Moon's journey to restore the night sky after the Sun steals it away. The Moon must use her control of the ocean tides to overcome the Thief and bring back the stars that were stolen from her.

Writing, directing and animating were just some of the roles Ms Stella took on in the creation of Star Thief. The animation was created entirely remotely during COVID-19 lockdowns with a team of Swinburne students Celene Eddie AminMarc AgostaCaitlin MiricCharlotte O’Neil-DonnellonJames Crea and Samantha Tan in addition to Bryan Jardim from Swinburne’s animation partner, the Institute of Art Design and Technology.

The team of Swinburne students created Star Thief virtually during COVID-19 lockdowns

Being creative during hard times caused some burnout, according to Ms Stella, who says the efforts and support from the whole team should be recognised.

‘Any creative project is a mix of highs and lows, often at the same time! But for me, there’s nothing quite like working for weeks on a shot, obsessing over every detail and then finally seeing it all come together. We all learned so much in making Star Thief, and even through the challenges I was glad to be working on a project I believe in and doing what I love most.’

Ms Stella says being in the festival feels ‘surreal’ and was a ‘complete surprise’, with her teachers submitting the film for the showcase. 

‘My little film has been selected for a few festivals now, but I can’t quite wrap my head around it being on any screen other than my laptop! My team and I spent over a year working on Star Thief, and there were times when we felt like it would never be finished. To have it not only done, but be shown in Australia’s biggest animation festival, makes me so proud of all the work we put in.’

Register for the free event here

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