Teen filmmaker basks in misguided limelight

The number of online hits for Doug McNeil's <i>Head Over Heels</i> has soared.
The number of online hits for Doug McNeil's Head Over Heels has soared.

A MELBOURNE teenager is enjoying unexpected attention because an obscure film he made has the same title as an Oscar-nominated short.

Doug McNeil, 16, of Hawthorn, says individual views on website Vimeo of his five minute stop-motion film Head Over Heels spiked after a British film was nominated as best animated short.

The higher profile Head Over Heels didn't win an Oscar, but Doug was amused when online interest in his Melbourne film soared, from its recent zero views a day to more than 556 on Sunday.

A film buffs' website, soundonsight.org, posted Doug's film for viewing, it said, ''in advance of Oscar night'' and urged readers to ''let us know who you think has the best chance in winning''.

On February 19, a reader, Ingrid, posted on the site: ''Is this really the right film? The photo doesn't match with the film, and in the text it says that it's 10 minutes long, but the film above is only 05:48.''

But Doug's film has remained on the site.

He said he had entered it in the 2012 Tropfest short film competition but it didn't make the finals.

It's the quirky tale of a disembodied pair of sneakers that ''fall in love'' with a pair of glitzy high heels; but are threatened by a vacuum cleaner, a gang of tough sneakers, and a jealous pair of business shoes.

Doug, a Year 11 Scotch College student who wants to be a professional filmmaker, said he and his brothers Angus, now 21, and Josh, 15, put together the film in late 2011 at their family home. ''We sort of created the story as we went.''

The Oscar-nominated Head Over Heels, made by 11 students from the UK's National Film and Television School, is the claymation story of long-married couple Walter and Madge, who have grown so estranged that he lives on the floor and she lives on the ceiling.

Doug described the mix-up as ''a complete misunderstanding'' and ''pretty funny'', but admitted ''it's good to get a bit of exposure.''

This story Teen filmmaker basks in misguided limelight first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.