For a factsheet on Accelerator Lab, click here.
Nurturing tomorrow’s top screen directors on the journey towards their first long-form works, the selective-entry MIFF Accelerator Lab provides up to 20 short film directors four-days of workshops, screenings, seminars and networking events on the business and creative aspects of the film industry with leading local and international screen practitioners.
Previous participants include Matthew Bate (Shut Up Little Man!), Anna Broinowski (Forbidden Lies), Jub Clerc (Sweet As), Natalie Erika James (Relic), Mirrah Foulkes (Judy and Punch), Sophie Hyde (52 Tuesdays), Justin Kurzel (Snowtown and Nitram), David Michôd (Animal Kingdom), Noora Niasari (Shayda), Shannon Murphy (Babyteeth), Rodd Rathjen (Buoyancy), Goran Stolevski (Of An Age and You Won’t Be Alone), Taika Waititi (JoJo Rabbit), and Ben Young (Hounds of Love).
Accelerator Lab occurs during the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) mid-weekend, which includes public screenings of short films (with those by Lab participants in specially-branded Accelerator Screenings) and the MIFF Shorts Awards. MIFF is an Academy® accredited festival, so winners of the Best Australian and Best Documentary awards and the Grand Prix are eligible to enter the Oscars® competition.
Previous guest speakers have included directors Robert Connolly (Paper Planes), Joe Dante (Gremlins), Garth Davis (Lion), Greg McLean (Wolf Creek), Mike Mills (Beginners), Alex Proyas (Dark City), Matt Saville (Felony), Morgan Spurlock (Super-Size Me) and Thomas M Wright (The Stranger and Acute Misfortune), as well as editors Nick Meyers and Mary Stephen, composers David Hirschfelder and Cezary Skubiszewski, and distributors Joel Pearlman (Roadshow) and Paul Wiegard (Madman), writer Christos Tsiolkas (The Slap), inclusion expert Tracey Corbin-Matchett (BusStopFilms), and actors Emma Booth (H is for Happiness), Mark Coles Smith (Last Cab to Darwin) Kerry Fox (Shallow Grave), Melissa George (The Good Wife), Ed Oxenbould (Paper Planes), Tasma Walton (Mystery Road).
“Accelerator Lab was everything. It made me realise that being a director was possible and important. It created a platform for me to leap off from. Sometimes, you need moments of nourishment so profound that, in the hard times of creating a career for yourself, you keep remembering the periods of inspiration. To create, to be around like-minded people, to be inspired, to be listened to. To better support emerging talent, we just need to create forums that encourage young filmmakers to appreciate that their voices are important. They need to be treated as special. Accelerator Lab was a huge influence for me taking films more seriously. I also started to feel a tribe, know I wasn’t alone and that I had other people around me who thought film was essential.”
Justin Kurzel (Accelerator 2005 & Director, SNOWTOWN, MACBETH and NITRAM) endorses Accelerator Lab.
“In terms of my career, a lot of it stems either directly or indirectly from Accelerator. The best part of it was the connections I made. I met a lot of my current friends at Accelerator – and it’s been great seeing people in this career progress significantly alongside one another. It’s an amazing support system. I also met the programmers for Sundance as part of the Accelerator Lab.”
Goran Stolevski (AccLab 2016 & Director YOU WON’T BE ALONE and OF AN AGE)
“Participating in MIFF Accelerator Lab was an amazing opportunity to hear from some of the country’s most talented film professionals. To hear firsthand from such influential creators was a gift and definitely inspired me to take the leap into my first feature with courage. It was so informative, intriguing and creatively stimulating, which is just what I needed going into my first feature.”
Jub Clerc (AccLab 2018 & Director Premiere Fund-supported SWEET AS and ‘Abbreviation’ chapter of THE TURNING)
“Being immersed in this program allowed us to see one another’s films, swap information and reignite our passion for making great films. I feel completely re-energized after spending these four days together, meeting and hearing from industry heavyweights and unique characters from Australia and other parts of the world. I think I have also made some friends for life after participating in Accelerator, and these are relationships that I hope will have both professional and personal outcomes.”
Matthew Bate (Accelerator 2010 & Director, SHUT UP LITTLE MAN!)
“Being able to sit in a room for a week with people at a similar level of development and listen to visiting filmmakers talk about their craft, alongside watching their films, is a great way to focus ideas and get your mind bent. It was also great in that, for me, the relationships that came out of those few days have been durable and long-lasting.”
Rhys Graham (Accelerator 2006 & Director GALORE and “Small Mercies” chapter of TIM WINTON’S THE TURNING)
“You truly feel like you have a back stage pass to the festival and every minute is packed to the brim with screenings, chats, premiere drinks, lunches and panel discussions. There was lots of candid advice about the pitfalls and realities of making films of a bigger budget and the pressure of putting bums on seats to recoup the money. Relationships to sales agents and distributors were also a big talking point and that’s an area very rarely covered at film school and it’s a big learning curve.”
Johnathan auf der Heide (Accelerator 2008 & Director, VAN DIEMEN’S LAND)
“I couldn’t recommend it enough (and) it was great to return to the festival two years later with my film These Final Hours and share my war stories with the latest batch of Accelerator filmmakers. I have a very solid relationship with MIFF and look forward to bringing my next feature back there.”
Zak Hildtich (Accelerator 2011 & Director THESE FINAL HOURS)
“A really carefully considered and well put together overview of all aspects of filmmaking.”
Olivia Peniston-Bird (Accelerator 2010 & Director GRACEFUL GIRLS)