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Nambour is a creative hub gaining even more momentum these days as a vital, thriving space for artists, musicians, performers and filmmakers. And now Burnside High student Audrey Etheridge brings award-winning animation to the mix!

by Rebecca Mugridge

Last year, Year 12 Burnside High student, Audrey Etheridge, won first and second place in the Senior Animation category of the STUFFit Film Competition with her animations Red Bandana Billy’s Misadventures in the West and Rubby the Rubber’s Adventures in the Forest.

A celebrated standout of creative talent, “We were thrilled to see Audrey awarded the Win and Runner-up because most of the outstanding animations are from… Melbourne, so to have a local win was fabulous,” said judge Judy Barass.

"We loved Audrey's work, the simple and effective elements used really showed her skill as an animator. We wish Audrey every success.”

Judy added, “There is some excellent variation in the shots and angles, and the way she has differentiated between the two main protagonists with small, easily recognised detail works well. The variety and detail in Audey’s sets (even the hands moving on the clock!), the willingness to make and animate such a variety of characters (and do it well), and her attention to the minute details of storytelling make this animation extraordinary. I enjoyed it very much.’”

Red Bandana Billy was based on the stereotypical genre of the Wild West that’s seen in old movies,” shared winner Audrey. “While Rubby the Rubber was made to be based on the theme of ‘Adventure’.“They’re both meant to have a super simple story that overly plays into the themes they were given.“It was quite a lot of work doing these films!

They’re only 1-2 minutes long but they both took about 40 hours each to make, including prop making and filming.“I will say that while the filming was time-consuming, the props were the hardest part of the film's process, as most of the props were quite small or had lots of details. Especially for Red Bandana Billy - each character was about the size of my palm and making them articulated enough to be moved properly was a real challenge!Audrey’s enthusiasm for her craft is evident and exciting. “I also worked on the filming and creating of these films solo, but I am lucky enough to have very creative friends who had helped me come up with some of the silly details that were featured, and were very helpful in keeping my ideas and motivation going.

“Stop motion was never something I had thought about doing myself until I made Rubby the Rubber, but I have enjoyed drawn animation, like flip books, since I was a kid. And after I got my school iPad, I found digital animation was also something that I enjoyed a lot.”

Audrey’s pet cats too wanted in on the movie-making action.

“While I was making Rubby the Rubber’s sets and props, which were primarily made of cardboard, I had to hide them away when I was finished so that my two cats couldn’t destroy any of the pieces,” Audrey laughed.“I kept a washing basket over Red Bandana Billy’s set just to keep them from tearing it up!”

Like many creatives Audrey wasn’t aware at first of just how good her work was, in fact she almost didn’t enter!

“My Media teacher was actually the only reason I was in the competition at all,” Audrey said.

“I didn’t want to put my films in at first because I wasn’t confident in them, but she basically forced me to enter them anyway. I am very grateful to her for pushing me to enter and for having such faith in my films; she’s very good at what she does and I’m glad she was my teacher.

“I was actually quite surprised that I’d done so well in the film festival! I didn’t go into it expecting to win anything, so when I won I was very excited to know that people enjoyed my films so much.”

Audrey’s Media and English teacher Miss Amanda Richardson said Burnside High encourages students and art opportunities. 

“Burnside High School indeed fosters a culture of encouraging students to explore their creative talents and pursue opportunities in the arts. 

“Arts-related activities such as animation, filmmaking, and participating in events like the STUFFit Film Festival and our school-based Burnside Short Film Competition are indeed popular among students at school. 

“The school has cultivated a strong arts program that offers various opportunities for students to explore and engage with different forms of artistic expression like the Nambour Show Art Competition and Wild HeART Competition run by the council.”

STUFFit is an amazing industry opportunity, born right here in Nambour, says Robyn Cook, founder and facilitator of STUFFit Student Enterprises.

“This year is our 13th season and I think our appeal with teachers and students is because we are a student-led film festival and our focus is on creative education and work pathways for young people,” explained Robyn. 

“It is a great opportunity for young people to gain meaningful experience and connections into these industries.

“The festival itself was founded in 2011 at St. John’s. Just for this year we are based at the Nambour Tramway building and will be looking for a new home for 2025.

“Nambour is the gritty arts centre of the Sunshine Coast, filled with the kinds of creative energy I’m seeking for my students.” Audrey encourages other young people with an interest in arts to have a go whenever they can, “I think that STUFFit and other film festivals like it are very important, especially to people who want to pursue careers in the film industry. 

“Even if you don’t win, or only make it to the semi-finals, it can be a valuable first step to putting yourself out there and finding your place in something you enjoy.”

You can watch both of Audrey’s award-winning films on Youtube



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