Lucy Schacher with Anna WalkerLucy Schacher‘Hello Anna!’ is a short documentary exploring the work of Australian children’s illustrator and author, Anna Walker, and is the winner of the Eva Haller Women Transforming Media Award in MY HERO’s 18th annual Film Festival this year. Born in Sydney, Australia, Walker achieved a Bachelor of Design with Honours from Swinburne University before working for The Age as a designer and illustrator. A year later, she started working as a freelancer and creating her own books, such as ‘Hello Jimmy!’, ‘Mr. HUFF’ and ‘Snap!’, coming out in November this year.
The film was created and directed by second year Film and Television student (also at Swinburne University), Lucy Schacher, as a documentary assignment for her course. In an interview with MY HERO, Schacher explained that after complications arose with the group’s original subject, she called on her family friend (Walker), who graciously agreed to be interviewed for the project. Walker not only agreed to the interview, but also helped Schacher capture some stunning shots of her working in the studio for the B roll and ‘provided a load of resources that really do enrich the film.’
Schacher also explained that she was particularly drawn to Walker’s ‘quiet, quirky personality [which] shines through in her work.’ In watching the film, it is clear just how soft-spoken Walker is, and the ‘gentle kindness’ that Lucy saw in Anna is captured beautifully throughout. For instance, in lockdown, Walker used the spare time to create wonderful little scenes (set in wooden boxes with glass fronts), with various characters in different settings, to display at the front of her house in Melbourne. She describes the children walking past the front of the house, and even tells a rather charming anecdote about hearing an older boy exclaim, “What the hell is this? It’s a grasshopper, with paints!” The grasshopper that she’s referring to is miniscule and made in the same felt that she sometimes uses to create characters for her books.
Anna Walker creates all of her work by hand; sketching ideas, using watercolour and collages of a multitude of materials that really bring the images to life, before scanning them and adding finishing touches digitally. In an interview (available on her website) she explained that the images always come first, and that the words tend to come ‘organically as the story develops.’ Each of these stages can be seen in the film; in some shots she flicks through black and white story boards, she arranges paper leaves, in some she paints the hind legs of a frog with one careful stroke, and in others these steps are assembled in one image on a computer screen before editing. Schacher does a wonderful job of capturing Walker’s process, as well as her character.
There is a parallel between Anna Walker and Lucy Schacher in their exploration of quieter characters, and the way they both understand the importance of these voices. In the film Anna discusses the way in which she used to think that that ‘people who could write really well, and that were loud, funny or strong in their ideas’ should be the storytellers, but how she then realised that she could ‘write stories about quieter characters, but that still have that inner courage […] and can still have adventures.’ Similarly, when interviewed for this story, Schacher explained that she is ‘passionate about giving a voice to the voiceless and celebrating the small candid moments that make us human.’ Both seem enthusiastic about ensuring that the quiet characters of the world are allowed to shine!
At the special awards ceremony on Saturday 19th November 2022, Schacher said on winning the award, “It’s such an honor to have the opportunity to share my film with this community. It’s so exciting to have a platform where I’m able to share some films and get some feedback, and it’s just great to see that [MY HERO] is so worldwide and gives so many opportunities to people. Thank you, everybody!”
Watch Lucy accepting the award at the MY HERO International Film Festival here: https://myhero.com/2022-wtm-award
Eva Haller congratulated Lucy personally on ‘an extraordinary interview’ with Anna Walker, and her ‘beautiful job’ of putting the film together. On Anna Walker’s illustrations and books, Haller added, “They are giving young people courage. They give inner strength. The acknowledge fear that […] that maybe we cannot express verbally when we are young […] but Anna addresses those fears for them. Her illustrations liberate us.”
When asked why she presents this award, Eva Haller spoke of the privilege she feels to be a part of MY HERO, and added, “We [at MY HERO] do everything that nobody else does, and we cherish each other and feel a tremendous responsibility for the twenty million people that visit the MY HERO website, the many million teachers who get their teaching material from MY HERO, the students and the artists, and those who get awards for making films you wouldn’t believe a teenager could make, or even anybody at any age! […] It is a privilege to be part of the jury, and to be able to express our gratitude for all that you are doing.”
You can view 'Hello Anna!' at: /hello-anna
Find out more about Anna Walker at: www.annawalker.com.au
About Ave Haller and the Women Transforming Media Award:
MY HERO board member, Eva Haller, born May 9, 1930, is a Hungarian-American philanthropist and activist. She has mentored generations of activists, especially women, and has been honored with the inaugural Forbes Women Excellence in Mentoring Award and the Ban Ki Moon AI Mentorship Award by 8th UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. During World War II, Eva participated in the Hungarian resistance. She lost her brother during this time, which inspired her to help others. She continues to advise and mentor many humanitarian organizations, such as Asian Initiatives, Women for Women International, Free the Children and the Jane Goodall Institute.
At the 12th annual MY HERO International Film Festival, Eva Haller received the inaugural Women Transforming Media Award. Eva had the idea of establishing an award to inspire and support filmmakers, from elementary school to the professional level, who create outstanding work that features women changemakers or tackles women's issues. Hence The Eva Haller Women Transforming Media Award was established, with the support of The American Association of University Women. To find out more about this award, view here: https://vimeo.com/581658003
MY HERO are proud to be partnering with The American Association of University Women, who have been empowering and investing in women, both as individuals and as a community, since 1881. They have been doing through research and education, as well as educational funding, public policy, legal advocacy, leadership development, and global outreach. You can find out more about AAUW here: https://www.aauw.org/
The MY HERO International Film Festival brings together professional and youth filmmakers who honor local and global heroes working for positive change in the world. Thanks to generous sponsors, prizes are awarded to elementary, middle school, high school, college and professionals in a variety of categories including documentary, narrative, music video, animation, experimental, and more.
To find out more about the Film Festival go to: /Films/festival
Join us on November 19th at 2pm PST for the 18th MY HERO Film Festival Ceremony, the celebration of the best of humanity. The featured winning short films shine a light on activists, peacemakers, environmentalists, humanitarians, artists & others who make a positive impact in the world. Congratulations to the filmmakers for bringing these important stories to life. Thank you to our prestigious Awards Presenters for their vision and generosity! Register HERE.
Save the date for the Family-Friendly Awards Celebration on December 10, 2022, at 10 am (PST). Festival winners and their heroes will be on hand to answer questions and share their stories. Short clips from select films will be screened. Categories include narrative, documentary, music videos, animation, experimental, trailers, spoken word and PSAs. Awards are given to winners at Elementary, Middle School, High School, College and Professional levels. Register HERE.
To view the 2022 MY HERO International Film Festival Program,
View all winning films online:
 Louise. Wicker Interview: Anna Walker. [Online] Available http://astrongbeliefinwicker.blogspot.com/2017/05/wicker-interview-anna-walker.html.2017.
 See www.annawalker.com.au/books to see Anna Walker’s full list of works.