ALAN HICKS WINS 2015 DAVID & JOAN WILLIAMS DOCUMENTARY FELLOWSHIP
Alan Hicks' debut feature doco, Keep On Keepin' On, has won the $50,000 David and Joan Williams Documentary Fellowship; the film, which had its premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, is based on the life of jazz musician Clark Terry.
Keep on Keepin' On
“Alan, whose debut film attracted international critical and commercial attention, is on the threshold of what promises to be a bold and exciting career,” said Bob Connolly, speaking on behalf of the selection committee.
Former Foxtel and News Corp CEO Kim Williams created the fellowship in memory of his parents, who died in 2008 and 2009. Williams said, “I am committed to supporting great effort in documentary for some years to come – it is a vital crucible to examination and thinking in accessible and creative ways which matter, driving necessary national conversations.”
Hicks said: “I am extremely fortunate to have discovered documentary filmmaking in an unconventional fashion. I was a student of the late Clark Terry, and also played drums in his band. I felt that Clark’s was an important untold story, and I was in a unique position to tell it. I was surprised to discover that it was Clark’s teaching that would guide me through the filmmaking process.”
Hicks added: “What I learned studying jazz with Clark Terry was how to use patience and diligence to produce art. This was the key to his teaching of jazz and—thankfully—it translates across art forms. Patience mixed with diligence, while developing an eye for "connection", was how we achieved a high level of storytelling in Keep On Keepin' On. Although it was my first film, I treated it like I was studying a new instrument. It took five years to complete, but I consider that to be just my first five years of studying the craft of documentary filmmaking.”
The fellowship has been awarded by the Australian International Documentary Conference and has now transferred to the Documentary Australia Foundation and in future will be biennial.
Justin Kauflin and Clark Terry in Keep on Keepin' On
Kim Williams with his wife Catherine Dovey (right) and his parents David and Joan Williams after receiving the Order of Australia in 2006.