Finding Creativity is a captivating exploration of the creative process through the eyes of established glass artist Holly Grace, celebrated chef and restaurant owner Coskun Uysal, talented singer/songwriter Henry Brett and accomplished social entrepreneur Jan Owen. The subjects’ personal stories allow for an enlightening and informative look into how they came to work in creative fields and how they actively seek out inspiration. We hear firsthand accounts of their successes and struggles as they share their respective approaches to creativity. From this, we more deeply understand what it means to be creative and how all of us have the capacity to embrace it.

Editing: Roger Ungers

Cast:  Dr Tim Patston, Holly Grace, Coskun Uysal, Henry Brett, Jan Owen

Directors: Roger Ungers
Writers: Roger Ungers
Cinematography: Roger Ungers

Conducting interviews with five different creatives, director Roger Ungers’ Finding Creativity attempts to explore what makes a person creative, how different creative processes work, and how best to channel your creative energy. Most of the creatives featured in the film are exciting and provide an insight into their personal experiences, but the film never settles on a narrative arc, and when the fifth subject, Jan Owen, a social entrepreneur, it feels like the film is searching for a fitting closing act, but it never gets there.

Finding Creativity begins with the introduction of Dr Tim Patson, a researcher and consultant in creativity. Using Dr Patson as a bookend for each other subject in the film provides some context or insight into the different forms of creativity. However, the film never dives head-first into the struggles of creativity. Sure, some of the subjects talk about times it’s hard to finish a song or work hard to get the spices right in a dish, but everyone sounds very confident in their space, trusting in their abilities and speaking fluently about their creative processes. In a film about finding the creatives energy or inspiration, it would have been fitting to feature someone struggling to produce their creative flow — whatever their passion would be.

Featured in the film alongside the aforementioned Jan Owen and Dr Tim Patson is Holly Grace, a glass artist that’s had her works featured in and outside of Australia; Coskun Uysal is an award-winning Turkish chef, and Henry Brett is a Melbourne based singer/song-writer that performs as Rollo Grey. Grace, Uysal and Brett are the centre-piece subjects of the film, but there’s not quite enough time spent discussing their struggles. Grace talks briefly about the notion that artists live of the government, and it’s hard to make it as an artist. Uysal discussed how he thought about shutting his resultant down before a benefactor could free up his time to commit to cooking again. I’d love to have heard them discuss both interesting hurdles in their lives more, as to me, it is all part of their creative journey. Henry Brett doesn’t have the easy to spot success as the others, so I found it odd that the film didn’t grapple onto that subject more. Whereas Holly Grace and Coskun Uysal are working their creative endeavours full-time, I wasn’t sure about Brett and would have loved to hear about any balancing acts he has to do in his life to make his music career work.

Roger Ungers’ film is shot well with some beautiful cinematography, and although the interviews conducted in Finding Creativity and the subjects themselves are interesting, the film doesn’t pull all the elements together into a satisfying movie. If you pulled each interview apart spent more time extrapolating on their journey and struggles, you’d have a much more exciting mini-series.

Melbourne Documentary Film Festival Online is running until October 31st