Celeste Franklin.

Emerging Western Australian screenwriter Celeste Franklin has been awarded the Australian Film Television and Radio School’s 2020 Storytelling Scholarship, which supports AFTRS’ mission to discover and support writers from under-represented groups.

A former primary school teacher, Franklin worked in costume departments for more than 20 years on numerous productions including Paper Planes, Lockie Leonard, Last Train to Freo and Water Rats.

This year she began a Masters of Arts Screen: Screenwriting so the scholarship will cover her tuition fees for the two-year course.

Her maternal grandfather was a Kalkatung man who fought in Jimmy Sharman’s boxing tents. Her maternal great, great, grandfather was blackbirded from the South Sea Islands to be a kanaka on the northern Queensland cane fields.

She won the scholarship based on her creative response to the story provocations in the AFTRS brand campaign Storytellers Wanted, which was developed by the agency 72andSunny and directed by emerging filmmaker and AFTRS alumna Vedrana Music, with mentoring by Gillian Armstrong.

The campaign features a number of vignettes, ‘stories waiting to be told,’ and scholarship applicants were invited to complete a story.

Celeste said: “Working as a crew member, hovering at the director’s shoulder, I developed a real interest in visual storytelling as a medium that can serve as a tool of reflection and inspiration for us all.

“For the last 11 years I’ve worked to develop as a storyteller, to understand that my voice has the potential to promote understanding and change for our peoples and planet.

“My aim is to breathe life into stories that enable a deeper understanding of how Australia has arrived where it is today, and how, as a connected global society, we all affect the future we live in tomorrow.”

AFTRS director of curriculum and registrar Nell Greenwood said: “We are so excited by the strength of Celeste’s writing and the life experience and distinct point of view she brings to it and are delighted to support the next step in her creative journey.”

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