Alan Hicks wins David and Joan Williams Fellowship


Filmmaker Alan Hicks has been announced as the winner of the David and Joan Williams Documentary Fellowship for 2015.

Hicks has been awarded $50,000 to aid his future projects. The David and Joan Williams Fellowship is the most substantial fellowship awarded annually to Australian documentary filmmakers. “The Williams Fellowship is all about encouraging theatrical documentary as an art form”, said Bob Connelly, who announced the winner of the fellowship. “There was no doubt amongst the committee that Alan, whose debut film attreacted international critical and commercial attention, is on the threshold of what promises to be a bold and exciting career”.

Hicks’ debut film, Keep on Keepin’ On, follows the life of late jazz musician Clark Terry, and his relationship with pianist Justin Kauflin. Terry was also the first teacher of music legend Quincy Jones. “I was a student of the late Clark Terry, and also played drums in his band,” Hicks said. “I felt that Clark’s was an important untold story, and I was in a unique position to tell it.”

Hicks was born in Wollongong, and won a full scholarship to William Patterson University in New Jersey, USA, at age 18. He spent several years working with Terry. In an interview with The Iris‘s Chris Singh in 2014, Hicks stated that the process took five years in total, and that it was gradual and heavily dependent on funding. “We’d shoot in increments,” Hicks told Singh. “We’d shoot for three months and then run out of money and work for three months; I’d jump on a tour and play drums and Adam [Hart, cinematographer] would come back to Australia, work and save up for three months – this was a cycle.”

Hicks’ film has won acclaim worldwide, winning the Audience Award at the Tribeca Film Festival, and Hicks winning Tribeca’s Best New Documentary Director Award. Keep on Keepin’ On was also shortlisted for this year’s Acadamy Awards.


This content has recently been ported from its original home on The Iris and may have formatting errors – images may not be showing up, or duplicated, and galleries may not be working. We are slowly fixing these issue. If you spot any major malfunctions making it impossible to read the content, however, please let us know at editor AT