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Fame machine kickstarts young filmmaker's creative efforts

Canberran Oliver Levi-Malouf whose film   "I know I am a sensation"    has reached the finals of Tropfest Jr.

Canberran Oliver Levi-Malouf whose film "I know I am a sensation" has reached the finals of Tropfest Jr. Photo: Supplied

Oliver Levi-Malouf, 14, titled his Trop Jr entry I Know I'm A Sensation. He wanted to make a film that ''might mirror the journey I would go on'', figuratively at least, as someone coming from nowhere who becomes well known.

And it worked. Out of about 250 entries, his was among the final 16 that will be shown on Sunday at Commonwealth Park before the main Tropfest short film screenings. Canberra hosts the biggest Tropfest event outside Sydney.

Oliver said the film - which he wrote, directed and acted in - was about two siblings (played by himself and Renee Doyle) who want to become famous. They order a machine over the internet that is supposed to achieve this but decide to test it on other people first.

Production still from  "I'm A Sensation" (Tropfest Jr).

Production still from "I'm A Sensation" (Tropfest Jr). Photo: Supplied

''Havoc ensues,'' he said.

For Oliver, though, it was a better experience - ''it's pretty exciting'' - especially since it was the first time he had entered: he thought he had better do it since it would be the last year he was eligible.

Oliver's parents gave him a camera when he was about nine and he made stop-motion films in his bedroom out of clay figures. His first live-action movie, Into the Woods (2011) - about a search for the corpse of adventurer Bear Grylls - was the result of a bet with a friend that he couldn't make a feature film.

''I don't look back at that as my finest work. I won the bet and collected my $20 but I haven't watched it since.''

I Know I'm A Sensation was filmed with many of his friends as castmates over several weekends in December.

The cinematographer was Sophie Howard, daughter of the media teacher at Daramalan College, where Oliver goes to school and from whom he borrowed the camera to make the film, which runs for just under seven minutes.

''My parents supported me all the way through,'' he said.

''They made sure everyone was fed and happy and kept bringing out water and ice blocks.''

Oliver, Renee and Sophie will be going to Sydney for Tropfest.

''We'll be in the VIP section of the Domain,'' said Oliver.

■ Tropfest is on Sunday February 17 at Commonwealth Park from 3pm to 11pm. The site opens at 3pm and Trop Jr starts at 3.05pm. Website: www.tropfest.com/au/canberra

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