Berlinale win for Tilda Cobham-Hervey’s ‘A Field Guide to Being a 12-Year-Old Girl’

‘A Field Guide to Being a 12-Year Old Girl’ (Photo: Nat Rogers). 

Tilda Cobham-Hervey’s directorial debut A Field Guide to Being a 12-Year-Old Girl has been awarded the Crystal Bear for Best Short Film by the Youth Jury in the Generation KPlus section of the Berlin International Film Festival.

The film, described as “a cross between a documentary and a theatre piece” sees 12-year old girls articulate their hopes, memories and what it feels like to be 12, and perform as themselves as part of a field-guide.

Of the film, the Youth Jury, made up of 11 children, said: “In an unusual and creative manner, we gain insight into a complex species – one whose diversity not only girls can identify with. With a great deal of humour, the documentary demonstrates one thing above all: girls can accomplish anything they set their minds to!”

A Closer Productions film, A Field Guide to Being A 12-Year-Old Girl was originally commissioned by ABC/Screen Australia as part of the ABC ME Girls initiative, designed to boost the skills of female filmmakers. It premiered simultaneously at the 2017 Adelaide Film Festival and on ABC ME on October 11, the International Day of the Girl.

It isn’t Cobham-Harvey’s first collaboration with Closer Productions; she starred in Sophie Hyde’s feature film 52 Tuesdays (which won the Crystal Bear for the Best Film Generation 14Plus at Berlinale in 2014), and and more recently, the series Fucking Adelaide.

Cobham-Harvey, who is currently in the US shooting feature film Plume from director Mike Gan, said she was overwhelmed and grateful to receive the award.

“This project means so much to me. Exactly four years ago Closer Productions and I were celebrating the premiere of our film 52 Tuesdays. To be back at the festival four years later with a film I wrote and directed in collaboration with them is such a special feeling.

“I want to thank Screen Australia, ABC and the SAFC funded career accelerator program for giving me this opportunity and supporting young female artists. It is so important and I can’t wait to see where my cast of twelve 12 year old girls will go next. Maybe one of them will be presenting their own film at this festival one day. I feel so lucky to have had the chance to work and create with every single one of these incredible young women.

As I look back now on making this field guide, it was perhaps more about me asking them for guidance than the other way around. These brave, inspiring, proud girls are our future and that statement couldn’t make me any happier.”

Watch ‘A Field Guide to Being a 12-Year Old Girl’ on ABC iview.