Art Films: tell a story

One of the main outcomes of the Live WELL – COME Share project is a collection of short films that tell stories, using art. This story-telling can be done in a really short time, like a fleeting impression that provokes a shared emotion, or triggers a similar memory.

In the project, we’ll be collecting stories of how our community deals with difficulties. Difficulties of health, of culture and language, or economic challenges – all these difficulties are being encountered everyday, by those in our community. Our lifestyles often don’t give us the time needed to really describe our difficulties to others, to share the hardships and the triumphs. The isolation of the recent lockdowns has exacerbated this, leading to many people who are pretty lonely, right now.

A selection of short films to illustrate our aims

This first short film uses humans as the main content – their faces, the texture and colour of their skin, and environs where they are focused on each other or themselves. It uses a child’s narrative, with English subtitles, to describe moments of importance. In the Live WELL – COME Share short films, we may use a recorded narrative, similar to this example, to give our films their story.

“Time”, produced by Film Supply

This next film is created using simply-drawn illustrations, with small elements in the pictures animated for special effect. While we won’t have the animation skill portrayed in this example, you can see that almost-childlike drawings, in block colours can tell a really profound story. The birdsong, and nature sound effects complete the story.

“The Art of Change: Climate Change”, by Sois de Traca

This is another short film using simply-drawn and coloured illustrations, with added animated bits. It also uses a child’s voice for narration, and in just over a minute, it tells a great little story.

“Supergirl” by Henrique Barone

There are many really lovely short-films used as opening credits for movies and episodes. This one shows how the tools of making and crafting can be used to create a stop-motion, timelapse film to tell the story of creativity. It is an example of what a big budget can produce. We may well use similar techniques to this example, but we will add in participants’ stories of health, wellbeing, doom, or trouble! Our aim is definitely to create art, and share the love of that creating within each group. More importantly, though, we’ll also be seeking to find out how the art-making helps each participant with their health and wellbeing, and tell that story as well.

This next short film is a montage of places. There are still photographs, full of texture and form, and video clips showing human movement without faces. Along with the spoken-word poetry narration, the film describes the story of a place. It’s also about the people who create community there. The imagery is located within the poem – both images and word-sounds telling the story.

“Representing Butetown: Ali’s Poem”, by Gavin Porter

One of the things that I’m really looking forward to in this project is the crossover between art mediums. For example, how can a musician work with a painter? These kinds of collaborations have incredible power to tell a story.

One film I found is a visual interpretation of a poem by Shel Silverstein. It’s really short (less than two minutes) but tells a great story using poetry and theatre.

‘Masks’ (Shel Silverstein) by Laurel Sager

This next film is a big-budget one, and much longer (around seven minutes). As such, it’s beyond what we can create in our little project. However, it’s great inspiration. When animator Patrick Smith heard one of composer Karl von Kries’ compositions, this is what he created to match the music. Watch out… it’s

S C A R Y 😱

but it has a great ending 😊

I’m always keen to see really clever short films. If you happen to come across one, please send it to me!

de Gelehut!

I’m so excited to tell you about this new-retro classroom, rescued from an old portables graveyard over in Central Victora. At the moment, it is a sleeping shell, that we plucked from out of the dust and weedy scrub, and placed in our muddy paddock. It’s waiting for its next life! Over time, I’ll bring updates about how I transform this hut for art-making and life-affirmation sessions.

Retired portable classrooms, near Kyneton 📷 by LiveBird

A room for making in

I’ve been cooking this idea for some time, like a pot of soup on the backburner. It started as a ‘what if?’. What if we had a classroom for Arts & Health Gippsland, to share skills, and share our love of making, and our love of a whole spectrum of aesthetic pursuits? With the VicHealth arts project I’m managing, it would be great to have a kind of ‘headquarters’ for the work. Could it be done?

Not by magic (I wish)

The idea grew and changed. I wondered if it could be done with a shipping container. I applied for a grant for this, but was unsuccessful, so I let the idea subside for a while. Finding money to enhance a community is easy if you’re the right person and you know where to look. But how to truly prove that a thing enhances a community and is not driven instead by a desire for personal gain? That’s the hard bit, the almost-impossible bit. This classroom would be seen as a big personal asset, no matter what it offers in terms of community building. And so the money to fund it must come from personal savings (perhaps one day it might supplement my non-existent superannuation!).

it’s arrived, in all its wonky splendour…

yes, it is a wonky as it looks… the bottom-right corner is 4 degrees out, but it’s sitting on a [level] pad of bare Gippsland dirt.
trying out the new #artsforhealth location flags for the #livewellcomeshare project;
all those windows face North for soaking up winter sun 🌞


I’ve called it “de Gelehut” (pronounced der Haylahoot with a gutteral ‘H’ sound; ‘-hoot‘ like ‘foot‘). That’s ‘the yellow hut’, in Dutch. No, I’m not Dutch, but I’ve married into Dutch ancestry, I sign my paintings ‘Vandyk’, and my daughter is gleefully learning the language as if it is her own. VanGogh had his Yellow House (which was actually in France). This old classroom ghost shall be my own yellow hut. (If you’re a colour-player, you’re wondering ‘what kind of yellow?’ – I’m still deciding).

BYO hot water bottle in Winter?

For those who spent any amount of time in these portable classrooms (1970s, 80s, 90s and some are still in use because there’s no need to spend money on our offspring’s educational environment is there? 🙄 ) you’ll know that these are icy boxes in winter, and hot, airless boxes in summer (because if you open the windows the flies come in). I’ll be looking into sustainable ways of making it cozy in winter, and cool in summer.

I’m planning a Winter Solstice bonfire smudging ceremony to welcome in any creative sprites that might be hanging about… 🔥

Artists a-gathering

Gippslandia #18 has a page about the project and some of the great puppets by Jeannie and Amy

The Live WELL-COME Share project is in a very exciting phase – I’m in the process of responding to the expressions of interest submitted by local artists. The diversity is such a thrill! Poets, Psychedelia, Prosthetics, Puppets… and more. The project is evolving, and what results from this process is hard to predict. You might have seen our page in the current Gippslandia edition (get your digital copy here). If you have a great idea as a facilitating artist, or you have a community group that could love an artistic story-telling project, make contact!

The artist works alone…

Do you work alone?

The project has huge potential to inspire local artists. I find one of the difficulties about working in my own art practice is the sense of isolation. On the one hand, the isolation and solitary stillness is essential to creating art that is from my own voice. But on the other hand, the camaraderie of meeting with other artists creates a lively brain. The ‘play’ when trying a different medium is a creative challenge that can crystallise my method in my preferred medium.

Try a new thing on us!

Once each Creative Node is begun, local artists and creatives can participate in the group. They can create their own stories, guided by the leadership of the facilitating Artist, using materials they didn’t have to fund themselves. This ‘skillshare’ between artists has great potential to invigorate the whole Creative Node. The project can only fund 10 facilitating artists as leaders. BUT – there is an opportunity to try different artistic processes at very low, or no cost.

Trav Hendrick’s Sugar Glider original character


Jeannie Haughton, (with Amy Robson) has been working on the creation of the puppets from the story ‘Uno’s Garden’. This is thanks to a limited copyright licence given by Graeme Base, the author and illustrator. Hannah Comrie-Weston will contribute sound (hear her work with Sarah Brown and Sarah Vasiliades here), and Lauren Murphy has been working to digitise the puppet’s movements, and Trav Hendrick has contributed some of his original characters to round out the story. The current members of the node will create a short animated film to screen locally. The shared intention is to promote a balance between the real need for housing, with the crucial importance of maintaining natural ecosystems. Uno’s Garden: Drouin’s Trees will also provide some sessions in creating sets from reclaimed materials for the puppets to inhabit – where in Drouin would YOU looking for a snortlepig?

Arts and Health Gippsland