This page is over 10 years old. Some things have changed since then.

Oscar-Winning Aussie Animator Gets Finance For a First Feature


A 20-year correspondence with a pen pal inspires a feature

Adam Elliot - Oscar winning Aussie animatorWhen Adam Elliot was making the Oscar-winning short film Harvie Krumpet, he worked in a storage unit. Conditions were so tough that during hot weather he stripped to his underpants to keep filming his claymation figures. Now the Australian animator can work on a grander scale after getting approval from Australia's Film Finance Corporation for his first feature - the "comedy-tragedy" Mary & Max.


"Those days are over, luckily," Elliot said with a laugh. "We'll be able to have a hundred storage units with a hundred animators."

The $8.5 million film, which has taken two years to write, is based on 20 years of letters between Elliot and an American penpal that he has never met.

Their relationship has been fictionalised into a story about a lonely girl in Melbourne who has a New Yorker as a lifelong penpal.

"Penfriends is a dying thing," Elliot said. "We all email now.

"Years ago, when email arose, my penfriend wondered whether we should go that way but we both decided there was something quite lovely about receiving a handwritten letter."

The Harvie Krumpet Oscar win in 2004 led to extensive Hollywood interest in a new project.

The full report in the Sydney Morning Herald can be accessed HERE