Jack Webb tries his Hand of Art

21 January, 2014 by Don Groves

Jack Webb didn’t go to film school and taught himself the art of directing. He’s just demonstrated that a lack of formal training is no barrier to writing and directing a feature film.

Hand of Art follows a young artist who pursues his passion regardless of the doubts and the costs to his relationships. Webb aims to finish a cut next month in time to submit to the Sydney Film Festival.


The cast includes Bradley Murnane as the lead, Dee Harding, Mercedes Porter as Dee’s high school sweetheart, Stephanie King and newcomer Ebony Nave.

He used two DOPs, Will Edmunds and Nathan Frost, with whom he had worked on his short films. He says the crew were paid and there are some deferred payments.

Webb spent 21 days filming on his parents’ historic farm near Canberra plus three days in Brisbane and a day each on the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast.

He produced the self-financed film via his company Inside Out Studios with co-writer/producer Jordan Glew and producer/production manager Melanie Gleissner.

Webb has found a mentor in Alan Harris, managing director of the Atlantic Film Group, a film and TV production company based in London and Sydney. His credits include the telepic Wallis and Edward and the films The Ferryman, Dean Spanley and Love Birds.

Harris saw an early cut and agreed to serve as a producer to help with post production and negotiating distribution and sales agent deals.

It took just 15 months from when Webb started writing the script to the end of shooting. He says the central idea was inspired by his own experiences as a budding filmmaker.

“I’ve ruined four relationships during my journey to become a director,” he says. “It’s a crazy story which I think will cause audiences to reflect on themselves in a critical way.”

Webb had the innovative idea of holding test screenings online with 25 people, a mix of industry people and cinemagoers. He was greatly encouraged by the feedback and, as a result,  changed the ending during the edit to give a clearer resolution to the story.

A prolific writer, Webb has eight screenplays in the pipeline, including Detox, the saga of a young guy who goes to his uncle’s house and discovers a murder mystery that happened 15 years earlier; he hopes to get Film Victoria development funding for that project. Another is Arcon, a thriller set in a 5-level nightclub, which he aims to shoot in Sydney.