Alumni Update


 For photos of Accelerator 2017 click here


Accelerator Classic - participants with films at MIFF 2017


W.A.M (Bill) Bleakley (A BIRTHDAY PARTY)

Bleakley began making films while studying Economics at the Australian National University and A Birthday Party is his MFA graduate film from Victorian College of the Arts (VCA). Bleakey’s earlier writer-director shorts credits include Joyride and The Swagman, and a producing credit on documentary short I Will Treasure Your Friendship.


Nina Buxton (MWAH)

Buxton’s award-winning debut short film ‘WOOF!’ played at international festivals and was distributed by Flickerfest in 2016. She has also directed award-winning music videos and works as an EPK director for Matchbox Pictures.



A Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) Masters of Film & TV graduate, Lefoe’s award-winning queer short Plunge (2014) screened at 45 international festivals. In 2016, she spent three weeks at Italy’s International Filmmaking Academy learning from award-winning directors Danis Tanovic and Claudia Llosa. Her earlier credits include Under Pressure (2010), Ladies without Lipstick (2014) and Age, Height, Education (2014).


Frank Magree (SENGATAN)

While Sengatan is Magree’s debut as writer, director and producer, he is a 30-year screen-acting veteran with film credits including Romper Stomper, Redball, Ned Kelly and TV credits including Rush, Underbelly, Satisfaction, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Blue Healers, House Husbands, Secret Life of Us, Janus, Sea Change, Halifax.



Winning Clermont Ferrand’s Prix Etudiant de la Jeunesse award, The World in your Window follows three earlier shorts from McIntosh including 2010’s Tribeca-selected Day Trip. Her film was feature documentary Lost in Wonderland. McIntosh won Young Director of the Year at Cannes 2013 for her work as a TVC director.


Victoria McIntyre (MIRO)

Having won more than 60 International awards, including BAFTA and AACTA, McIntrye’s credits include Eldest of None (2014), Life’s A Drag (2015) and If You Love Your Children (2016). Her film The Telegram Man has played as part of the dawn service at ANZAC Cove Gallipoli for the last five years and is part of the permanent collection of the OSCARS Academy Awards Film Archive.


Greta Nash (LOCKER ROOM)

A Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) Bachelor of Film & TV graduate, Nash’s film Karma Police premiered won 2016 Willoughby Shorts Festival’s Best Narrative Short Film. In 2016, she co-directed an online campaign for Disney Australia and in 2014 she received a scholarship to film her first short documentary Happy Dance in Suzhou, China.



A Griffith University & QCA graduate, Pang’s earlier filmmaking credits include Finding Daniel’s Drive (2006), Siesta (2006), For Melponene (2008) and The Pale Moonlight, which premiered at 2014’s Fantasia International in Montreal alongside The Spierig Brothers’ Predestination. In 2008, Pang completed a USC Universal Producing and Directing Workshop in Los Angeles, culminating with development internships at Color Force/Dreamworks and Vendome Pictures.


Simon Portus (PASSENGERS)

Portus’ previous shorts credits include 2009’s Tomorrow, which  premiered at Berlinale and won Best Film, Best Director and Best Actor at St Kilda and Best Director and Best Writer at Flickerfest, and 2005’s

Adrift, which premiered at Sydney.


Nikki Richardson (LOSING IT)

A graduate of Melbourne’s Monash University, Richardson’s first short We’re Here Now (2015) received awards for screenwriting and audience choice. She was recently shortlisted for the Smart for A Girl: ROAR screenwriting initiative with Imogen Banks and Alice Bell.



A 2011 graduate of the South Seas Film School, Ross received a New Zealand Film Commission Talent Development Grant to spend eight weeks writing the feature length screenplay for Have you tried, maybe, not worrying at New York’s Film Academy.


John Sheedy (MRS McCUTCHEON)

A graduate of the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), Melbourne-based Sheedy is an award-winning stage director of drama, musicals and opera. Mrs McCutcheon is his debut in film.


Nick Waterman (AFTER THE SMOKE)

A graduate of Sydney’s University of Technology, Waterman’s debut short From Here (2012) premiered at Palm Springs ShortFest followed by 2014’s short Vote Yes launching Flickerfest. After the Smoke world premiered 2017’s Berlinale. He has also worked with various brands including Harper’s Bazaar, Volvo, Westfield and Virgin Australia.


Dave Whitehead (POSSUM)

While Possum is his directorial debut, Whitehead is an award-winning 20-year veteran of sound designer and composer whose credits include Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers; Sound Designer on District 9The Adventures of Tintin and Arrival.



Accelerator Express Directors:


Directors selected by South Australian Film Corporation’s Pirrku Kuu Writers Room & Aboriginal Production Initiative:


Edoardo Crismani is a graduate of University of South Australia (majoring in Film & TV production with a sub-major in Creative Writing). He has written, directed, filmed and produced documentaries, including The Panther Within, and a short drama (Just Be Yourself) that have been broadcast NITV. His next short drama is titled 440.


Michael Crismani made his film directing debut with I Kept the Beat, which he also wrote and produced, an autobiographical Rockumentary style piece based on his aspiration to become a musician. He studied for a Bachelor of Film & TV at the University of South Australia and has worked in various roles, including as an actor, in screen productions in Australia and USA. He co-produced and featured in web series Mario’s Gritty World (YouTube).


Isaac Coen Lindsay comes from the Riverland, Berri South Australia and is part of the Ngarrinjderri Tribe. In 2013, he made his first short, Post Card From the Edge, and in 2015 he was part of the SAFC "micro docs" initiative. In 2016 he had an attachment in the electrics department on Warwick Thornton’s feature film Sweet Country. He was also an attachment for Cinematographer Allan Collins on short documentary Coming Home and then assisted Collins on short film Acknowledgement of Country. His first fully-funded short drama is the SAFC-financed Mother’s Nest.


Kiara Milera recently directed her first short film WILD, having previously been a part ABC-TV’s Black Comedy workshop which led to her being a sketch writer for the second season. Milera also had a director’s attachment on Warwick Thornton’s feature film Sweet Country.


Thibul Nettle (aka Stinga T), an Aboriginal rapper/songwriter and actor with a career spanning over 17 years, is a Noongar man who belongs to the Bibbulam and Yamatji people in WA.  He founded Firestick Films in 2012 and wrote and starred in feature 2014 feature film Friendship Love and Loyalty.  As part of the SAFC Aboriginal Short Film Initiative he shot his short film The Protectors.


Directors selected by Australian Directors Guild – Gender Matters initiative


Sophie Hexter is a Monash graduate and an Oxford post-graduate who held senior editorial positions at Harpers Bazaar and The Age newspaper and then scripted four-part SBS/Madman series The Closet Tales of Australian Fashion. In 2014 she co-founded multi-disciplinary media company H.W. Collective and made half-a-dozen short-form films that have played at various festivals. Hexter, who is represented by Hart & Co, was selected in early 2017 to be a part of Screen NSW’s Seed initiative for her short Drummer Girl.


Lisa Matthews has worked in the Australian and UK screen industry for 25 years. After majoring in Film at Sydney University, Matthews made corporate videos while completing post-graduate studies in current affairs journalism at the Australian Film, TV & Radio School (AFTRS). Her debut short as writer/director was Rosie’s Secret and she has since written and directed several award winning shorts, dramas and documentaries series including The Real Mary Poppins, Rogue Nation, Darwin’s Brave New World, Ten Pound Poms, Australia On Trial, Who Do You Think You Are and Australia The Story of Us.


Kelly Schilling is an Australian Film TV & Radio School (AFTRS) Masters graduate who had two of her screenplays produced in the Nine Network TV series Two Twisted – one episode of which she directed. Schilling was attached to director Phillip Noyce on his South African feature Catch a Fire and was also short-listed for the Chesterfield Writer’s Film Project. 



Directors selected by New Zealand Film Commission - Ramai Hayward Maori Director’s Scholarship


Kath Akuhata-Brown (Ngati Porou) has worked as a TV and radio journalist and been a researcher and script consultant on numerous New Zealand TV dramas and has been a story-liner for long running NZ drama Shortland Street. She has been a recipient of the Qantas Media Award Best Maori Documentary, Imagine NATIVE awards for Best Television Drama and the Media Peace Awards for Women Leaders.


Briar Grace-Smith descends from Ngā Puhi and writes plays, screenplays and short stories. Her TV writing credits include Fishskin Suit, Being Eve, Kaitangata Twitch and Australian children’s series Grace Beside Me. Briar’s first screenplay The Strength of Water was selected for the Sundance screenwriters and director’s labs and premiered at Rotterdam and Berlin Film Festivals in 2009. In 2016, she wrote and directed the short film Charm as part of the portmaneau film Waru. Briar is a recipient of the NZFC 2017 Ramai Hayward Directors' Scholarship for wahine Māori, having been awarded the Te Pou Marohi Ngā Aho Whakaari Melissa Wikaire Memorial Award in 2016 and the Arts Foundation Laureate award in 2000.


Rachel House (Ngāi Tahu and Ngāti Mutunga) has acted in films such as Whale RiderBoyHunt for the Wilderpeople and Thor: Ragnarok and worked as an acting and performance coach with teenagers and children on the likes of Boy, Fantail, Everything We Loved, Hunt for the Wilderpeople and The Dark Horse. She also directed 2010 short film The Winter Boy. Her awards include 2016’s WIFT (Women in Film and Television) Mana Wahine award which acknowledges “trailblazing Māori women” in front and behind the camera. She is the recipient of the NZFC 2017 Ramai Hayward Directors' Scholarship for wahine Māori.


Jessica Sanderson (Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Kahungunu and Te Ati Haunui-a-papārangi) is an artist and director with training in Performance Design from New Zealand’s Massey University & Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School. She has created music videos for some of New Zealand’s most prolific artists and won best music video by a Māori Artist for Ria Hall’s ‘Best Of Me’. Sanderson has worked in factual television as a field director and as a Creative Producer at TVNZ. Her short film Ways to See was been funded as part of NZFC’s Fresh Shorts 2017 programme.



Directors selected by ScreenWest – West Coast Visions


Maziar Lahooti is a Perth-based Iranian/Norwegian/Australian filmmaker with Masters in Directing from the Australian Film, TV & Radio School. He has made several festival-screening short films and was an attachment in 2015 to Kriv Stenders on Red Dog True Blue. He has worked professionally in grips, camera, lighting, as well as story producing TV documentary like Outback Pilots and Outback Truckers.


For photos of Accelerator 2016 click here


Accelerator Classic – participants with films at MIFF 2016


Alice Englert (The Boyfriend Game) has worked as an actress on a variety of screen productions including GINGER & ROSA and TOP OF THE LAKE. Englert’s short film directing debut THE BOYFRIEND GAME screened at Toronto International Film Festival 2015 and Berlinale 2016. Englert’s second short film, FAMILY HAPPINESS, stars Ben Whishaw.


Eddie Diamandi (Emily) grew-up traveling and performing with the Great Moscow Circus. After moving with his family to Australia, Diamandi trained as an actor and later was accepted into the VCA School of Film & TV. A recipient of the AMP Tomorrow Maker Award and Raw Artists Melbourne Filmmaker of the Year, Eddie has written and directed several short films and music videos that have screened in festivals locally and overseas.


Elizabeth Fermanis (Hospitality) is a Melbourne-based writer and filmmaker who is a graduate of the Masters of Film & TV at the VCA where she was awarded a Victorian Scholarship for visual art. She works at Silver Spoon Productions as an editor and production coordinator and has recently directed an episode of web series Fresh


Goran Stolevski (You Deserve Everything) has a Masters in Film & TV from Melbourne’s VCA. He has made several short films, which have played at the Raindance, Sydney, Adelaide and Frameline San Francisco Film Festivals, among others. In 2014, he was selected for Screen Australia’s Talent Escalator initiative and he worked as a writers’ room assistant and director’s attachment on the Emmy-award-winning NOWHERE BOYS and Matchbox TV series BARRACUDA.


Ivan Barge’s second short, MADAM BLACK has screened at more than 30 festivals globally, winning many accolades including the Prix Du Public at Clermont Ferrand, the worlds biggest Audience Award for short film. His first short, SNOOZE TIME, was featured in the New Directors section of ‘Shots’.


Jordan Bond (Big City) is a writer/director of short films and music videos, and, from 2013­2016, was full­time writer/director at DPI Productions. In 2015 he wrote and directed two music videos for Tiny Little Houses, winning an Audience Award in the SoundKILDA music video competition and screening in competition at the Los Angeles Music Video Festival. His film SHE SELLS screened at Flickerfest 2015 and was picked-up by Flickerfest distribution.


Lachlan Ryan (Big City) associate produced family film ODDBALL while working at The Film Company. Previously, he wrote, directed and produced his debut feature film, REVERSE RUNNER, executive produced by Stephen Herek (Director of THE MIGHTY DUCKS). In 2010 he wrote and directed ANDREW & BEC’S SKYDIVING VIDEO, which won the Director’s Heart Award at Colorado Film Festival.


Eli Kent (Moving) is a winner of the Bruce Mason Award for emerging playwrights and the New Zealand Arts Foundation New Generation Award and in 2010 completed his Masters in Scriptwriting at Victoria University’s International Institute of Modern Letters. His show ALL YOUR WANTS AND NEEDS FULFILLED FOREVER played at London’s Vaults Festival following runs in Auckland and New York.


Leon Wadham (Moving) is a graduate of Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School, where he received the Museum Hotel Scholarship Award. He worked as an actor, director and writer for many of New Zealand’s industry leaders, including South Pacific Pictures, Silo Theatre and Auckland Theatre Company.


Luci Schroder (Slapper) is a Melbourne based writer director nominated for the Cannes Young Director Award with a varied background in fine arts, textiles design and philosophy and has a working history in fashion, film, music video, TV commercials, video art, short documentary and short stories and participation in various video exhibitions in Paris, Sydney, Melbourne and Mexico. In 2016, Schroder won Emerging Australian Filmmaker Award at MIFF and SLAPPER played at Sundance 2017.


Natalie Erika James (Creswick) is a Japanese-Australian writer-director and VCA graduate whose shorts, including Burrow (2014) and Tritch (2012), have screened internationally, including at MIFF, Palm Springs ShortFest and Flickerfest. She was director’s attachment on Leigh Whannell’s sci-fi thriller STEM and she directs commercials and music videos through production company Fiction.


Patrick McBain (Slug) cut his teeth as a writer, director and editor across dozens of productions as part of the Bachelor of Narrative Directing (Film & TV) at Melbourne’s VCA. As well as writing, directing and editing his graduate film Slug in his final year, he assisted in post-production on three other VCA productions as an editor and credits supervisor. He works as Post-Production Assistant for Vice Australia.


Shannon Murphy (Eaglehawk) is a Sydney theatre director and Australian Film TV & Radio School (AFTRS) graduate. Murphy is also a Sydney Theatre Award winner, a recipient of the Mike Walsh Fellowship, winner of the Instyle and Audi Women of Style Scholarship, a Screen Australia Talent Escalator recipient and was named most influential NIDA graduate of the decade by Sydney Magazine. Her film Kharisma screened at numerous festivals including Cannes, Palm Springs and Flickerfest. In 2015, she directed opera Orfeo ed Euridice at the Art Gallery of NSW and in 2016 directed episodes of TV series Offspring and in 2017 directed episodes of Love Child.


Tim Egan (Curve) is a Melbourne-based VCA graduate who has worked many roles on film sets over the last decade, including as DoP for films like DEATH BY MUFF, THE SCORE, BLOOD ON THE GAME DICE, PROSOPAGNOSIA, A LIFE UNEXPECTED, LIZ DRIVES and the epic TROLL BRIDGE. Egan has also worked as an online editor in advertising and TV and as a director, DOP and Editor for ABC-TV’s series THE BAZURA PROJECT.


Yamin Tun (Wait) is a writer-director and a graduate of the University of Oxford in Philosophy, Politics & Economics. Originally from Myanmar, Yamin spent her childhood as an asylum-seeker in numerous countries. In 2013, Yamin was selected by Film Finances Inc to attend Telluride Film Festival and meet film industry in Los Angeles. She is part of the NZ Script-to-Screen FilmUp Program where her mentor is Rolf de Heer. Yamin was awarded the New Zealand film industry's New Filmmaker of the Year 2016.


Emily Dynes (St. Elmo) is a Swinburne University Bachelor of Film & TV graduate and the co-founder of Impel Pictures, where she creates short films and documentaries.


Brendon McDonall (The Dam) is a director, screenwriter and actor and is a graduate of UWS Theatre Nepean (Acting) and a triple graduate of AFTRS. His first short film, THE LAW, won a Flickerfest 2012 Jury Prize. ALL GOD’S CREATURES won Best Film and Best Director at 2014’s Sydney Mardi Gras Film Festival and the International Iris Prize. McDonall won the AFTRS/Foxtel Award for Exceptional Talent and was Associate Director on ABC-TV series JANET KING. In 2014 he completed a Master of Screen Arts in Directing at AFTRS where he wrote and directed THE DAM. In the UK, he wrote and directed **Spoilers** for the Iris Company/BBC2 which had a 2016 premiere at Frameline San Francisco.


Jennifer Perrott (The Ravens) is a writer/director/producer working between Europe and Australia who won a Best Young Director Award at the Broadcastnow / BBC B+Young Talent Awards. Perrott has directed prime-time UK and Australian TV drama and she wrote-financed-produced and directed 22-minute short film THE RAVENS which won 2016’s Heartland Film Festival Grand Jury Prize.



Accelerator Express Directors


Directors selected by Screen Tasmania’s Pitch, Plot, Produce 


Briony Kidd is a Tasmanian-based filmmaker and theatre-maker and graduate of Melbourne’s Victoria College of the Arts (VCA). Her short gothic melodrama THE ROOM AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS debuted on the Shudder.com platform internationally and her short WATCH ME, a thriller written by Claire d'Este, premiered at Monster Fest before heading out on the international circuit. Her Radio Gothic theatre collective presented horror radio plays at Dark MOFO 2016 and 2017.


Rebecca Thomson is a Tasmanian based writer/director who has directed eight short films, including cult hit CUPCAKE: A ZOMBIE LESBIAN MUSICAL and THE JELLY WRESTLER, whose films have won awards and screened at more than 70 film festivals worldwide including Frameline, St. Kilda Film Festival, New York International Film Festival. Thomson’s I AM UNDONE was selected to be part of the horror feature anthology A NIGHT OF HORROR VOL. 1 produced by Deadhouse Films and A Night of Horror International Film Festival. In 2010 Thomson was chosen as a participant in the Screen Australia-funded Raw Nerve Program, resulting in the short film Slashed



Directors selected by South Australian Film Commission iView Initiative


Brendon Skinner began working with Simon Williams while studying film at University and together they have directed three short films with international festival recognition, SEE-SAW SWEETHEARTS (2009), MONKEYBAR MAFIA (2010) and TOOT TOOT (2010), before creating corporate web-series AGE MATTERS (2011) and IS IT DEMENTIA (2013). Most recently they directed and co-produced the ABC iview ORIGINAL SERIES GOOBER (2016).


Simon Williams  began working with Brendon Skinner while studying film at University and together they have directed three short films with international festival recognition, SEE-SAW SWEETHEARTS (2009), MONKEYBAR MAFIA (2010) and TOOT TOOT (2010), before creating corporate web-series AGE MATTERS (2011) and IS IT DEMENTIA (2013). Most recently they directed and co-produced the ABC iview ORIGINAL SERIES GOOBER (2016).



Directors selected by Australian Directors Guild’s Gender Careers initiative

(supported by Screen Australia’s Gender Matters Program)


Beth Armstrong graduated from AFTRS with a Masters in film directing and directed six shorts, winning awards including Best of Festival at Palm Springs, Boston, Rhode Island, Jackson Hole, St. Louis, Cleveland, Corto Imola, Tirana and Canberra. Her short comedy/drama YOU CUT I CHOOSE, in which she wrote and directed, premiered at MIFF 2014. She was awarded the Screen Australia/ADG Director's Attachment to Mel Gibson on the Oscar-winning feature, HACKSAW RIDGE. Armstrong directed ten episodes of Seven Network’s children’s series DROP DEAD WEIRD and directs commercials for Two Little Indians and Clockwork films.


Brooke Goldfinch attended NYU’s graduate film program at Tisch School of the Arts as a scholarship student with support from the Thyne Reid Foundation. Goldfinch returned to Sydney after receiving a Screen Australia Talent Escalator Grant for her short film RED ROVER, which received Best Director Awards at 2016 Flickerfest and St Kilda Film Festival. In 2012, Goldfinch’s short film PEN PAL premiered at Edinburgh Film Festival and she was selected by actor/director James Franco to write and direct a segment of the compendium feature film THE COLOR OF TIME. She was a Director’s Attachment on ALIEN: COVENANT, shadowing director Ridley Scott.


Julietta Boscolo is a 2011 graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) whose short LET’S SEE HOW FAST THIS BABY WILL GO was preselected for Cannes Critics Week. Her short SAM’S GOLD won ADG’s Award for Best Direction in a Short Film and screened on ABC-TV. She was selected for SA’s Directors Attachment Scheme on LOVE CHILD. Her VCA Masters film Safe won numerous awards.


Directors selected by the New Zealand Film Commission’s Talent Express Initiative


Nathalie Boltt has acted in the likes of Golden Globe winner DISTRICT 9, BBC series INSPECTOR GEORGE GENTLY and 24 HOURS TO LIVE with Ethan Hawke. Boltt has written for TV series’ and wrote and directed two shorts: THE SILK, selected as an installation by the Westport Arts Centre in New York (distributed by GaiaTV); and VAJAZZLE (selected by Canada’s Film Shortage). She is the co-creator of cult webseries Dropped Pie, which she also writes, directs and performs in.


Kirsty Hamilton graduated from New Zealand’s Toi Whakaari Drama School in 1992. She starred in 1998 feature SAVING GRACE and was 2007 Globe Artistic fellow at Shakespeare's Globe theater in London. In 2012, Hamilton earned her MA in creative writing at Wellington’s Victoria University and in 2016 gained her Auckland University Screen Production honours degree. Her third short film is COLD, which she wrote, produced, directed and acted in.


Renae Maihi is a writer and director in theatre and film. Her debut play, Nga Manurere, was touted as the “surprise jewel of the year” by the NZ Herald (2009), and her play Patua won the Adam NZ Playwrights award for Best Play by a Maori Playwright. She co-wrote the short film REDEMPTION, which featured at Berlin and Sundance, and won Best Short Film at Toronto’s 2010 Imaginative Film Festival. She then wrote and directed her NZFC-funded short BUTTERFLY, which travelled to numerous international festivals. Maihi developed her short MANNAHATTA in New York while studying filmmaking at NYFA. In 2016, Maihi was selected by BSAG Productions as one of eight Maori women directors for a collaborative feature film with some of NZ’s top filmmaking talent.



Director selected by ScreenWest’s West Coast Visions


Stephen McCallum is a 2011 graduate of the Australian Film TV & Radio School, where he won the Foxtel Exceptional Talent award and the AFTRS EU scholarship. Since graduating, he has directed several commercials including his marriage equality advert for GetUp - It’s Time, which was voted AdNews Viral of the Year and has had over 16 million hits on YouTube. In 2013, McCallum had a director's attachment on Tony Ayres' feature CUT SNAKE and in 2014, he was Glendyn Ivin's Director’s Assistant on Network Nine’s GALLIPOLI where he directed 2nd Unit. McCallum has directed several short films that have screened around the world and in 2016 directed his debut feature film,1%.




For photos of Accelerator 2015 click here


Accelerator Classic – participants with films at MIFF 2015


DYLAN RIVER (Nulla Nulla) A filmmaker from Alice Springs, River’s debut documentary BUCKSKIN won Sydney Film Festival Documentary Prize, was selected for Adelaide Film Festival and aired on ABC-TV. His short film NULLA NULLA world premiered at 2015’s Berlinale, while his next shorts were BLACK CHOOK and FINDING MAWIRANGA.  


NORA NIASARI (The Phoenix) Born in Iran, Melbourne-based Niasari holds a Bachelor in Architecture from Sydney’s University of Technology and a Film & TV Masters from Melbourne’s Victorian College of the Arts (VCA). Her graduate film THE PHOENIX (Simorgh) won the New Voices and Cinema Nova awards, while her film HIGH TIDE was selected in the top 10 of 50 short films during a 2015 Abbas Kiarostami workshop in Barcelona.  In 2016, she completed an ADG/Screen Australia-funded Director’s Attachment with Emma Freeman on Matchbox TV Series SECRET CITY. In 2017, she completed a short film, WATERFALL (Screen Australia Hot Shots Program) and her first long form documentary, CASA ANTÚNEZ, competed in the Official Selection of the 24th Sheffield International Doc/Fest.


RUBY RAILEY (The Best Way to Kill Your Mother) After completing a Bachelor in Performing Arts in 2011, Railey worked as a freelance director, before completing a Film & TV Masters at Melbourne’s VCA. 


DAVID WHITE (Killer?) White’s previous documentary and drama films include SHIHAD: BEAUTIFUL MACHINE, I KILL, THE CLEANEST PIG and KILLER? His work has screened at more than 50 film festivals including Sundance, SXSW, SilverDocs, Tribeca, MIFF and Clermont Ferrand. David was the first New Zealander to be shortlisted for a Cinema Eye Honor for his film I KILL. In 2014, he graduated from the inaugural EPCRI course run by the NFTS, championed by Sir Richard Branson and sponsored by Ingenious Media.


SANJAY DE SILVA (Maalu) De Silva’s first short film MAALU played at several film festivals including Palm Springs International ShortFest and Miami International Film Festival, MIFF and Busan. Working out of Exit Films Melbourne, De Silva directs commercials and his own web series HOOD FOOD GUIDE (supported by Tourism Victoria) and is making his next short films SMALL TALK and PAWA.


LARISSA BEHRENDT (Under Skin, In Blood) Behrendt has a legal background, is an experienced researcher and is involved with several arts organisations and educational programs. She wrote and directed Walkley-nominated documentary INNOCENCE BETRAYED, which aired on NITV in 2014, and is Professor of Indigenous Research at Sydney’s University of Technology.

DAVID HANSEN (SlingshotIn 2005, Hansen was awarded Best Documentary from Film Victoria for HIGH FIDELITY and Most Outstanding Graduate Diploma Student (VCA). His 2009 film BLOWBACK premiered at Sydney’s Underground Film Festival and won Best Political Film. In 2007, David worked as Director’s Attachment on Baz Lurhmann’s AUSTRALIA and in 2011 he won Best Indigenous Resource at the ATOM awards for ANIJA, a 48-minute film devised in a remote community. His short SLINGSHOT won 25 awards (including Best Australian Short Film at Flickerfest) and screened at Melbourne and London Film Festivals.


TESS HUTSON (EuxineHutson graduated in 2012 with a Bachelor of Visual Arts from Sydney College of the Arts and then completed a VCA Master of Film & TV in 2014. Her graduating screenplay EUXINE won the Postgraduate Film and TV Script Award. As a part of the award, she received a mentorship from the Australian Directors Guild with director Matthew Saville. She was also the 2014 recipient of the Erwin Rado Memorial Award for Excellence.


TED WILSON (Family Holiday) A Tasmanian writer/director, Wilson has a VCA Screenwriting Masters. His previous short film BUILDING BRIDGES (Dir: Jessica Barclay Lawton) screened in the 2014 MIFF Accelerator program and he was selected for MIFF's 37°South PostScript & Direct program for emerging screenwriters. In 2015 he was awarded three filmmaking artist residencies – in France, Italy and Russia. FAMILY HOLIDAY won the Best Short Film and Audience Choice Awards at 2016’s ReelGood Film Festival. In 2016, Wilson wrote, directed and produced his first feature film UNDER THE COVER OF CLOUD.


ISAAC WALL (Looking to BuyMelbourne-based Wall is a solicitor who transitioned to filmmaking. In 2014 he collaborated with James Vaughan on the documentaries NEAR AND FAR and HEADING NORTH. In the same year, he also founded the directors’ collective Fountain Vista with James Vaughan, Alena Lodkina and Sam Dixon.


TRACEY RIGNEY (Man RealRigney is a Wotjobaluk and Ngarrindjeri woman who has dabbled in the arts and was the youngest produced playwright in the history of the then Playbox Theatre Company (now Malthouse). Her past credits include the shorts DODGER’S HEART, ABALONE and documentary short ENDANGERED. Rigney also completed a director’s attachment on THE SAPPHIRES in 2012.


JEM RANKIN (Cherokee) Melbourne local Jem Rankin graduated from the Victorian College of The Arts (VCA) Film and TV school in 2014. His graduate short CHEROKEE was awarded Best Undergraduate Film and Best Undergraduate Director at VCA’s 2014 Awards and was a finalist in 2015’s Sydney Film Festival Australian Short Film Awards. After MIFF, CHEROKEE went on to screen at Flickerfest and 2016’s Tribeca Film Festival.


MELEESHA BARDOLIA (MatchMelbourne-based Bardolia graduated from the VCA in 2014 where she studied directing and was the recipient of the Margaret Lawrence Social Justice Award and the MadMax Entertainment Award for Special Achievement. In 2012, she was awarded a Hot Desk Writing Fellowship from the Wheeler Centre to write a novella entitled ‘Waiting Upon Arrival’. Her previous short films have been selected to screen at the New York City International Film Festival, the Festival of Hope for Refugees and the NYC PictureStart Film Festival.



FLORENCE NOBLE (Things are Going Really Well) For the last ten years, Noble has worked as a stills photographer, actor, writer and director. Noble created online sketch comedy Blind Pilot, and has since collaborated on numerous projects, including Emmy award winning Australian Comedy, 7DAYSLATER for ABC-TV, web comedy MEANWHILE ON EARTH and online comedy series Waiheke Republique. She also directs commercials and content for Sydney and Auckland based company, Eight.


MICHAEL PORTWAY (Wawi) Previously Melbourne-based Portway now lives in Estonia and is a Film & TV graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA). Originally from Canberra, Portway worked for several years at PhotoAccess - a local community photography lab/gallery. Later, he worked at the Australian War Memorial as a photographer and archival preservationist. Michael's VCA graduate film, WAWI, had its World Premiere at the 2015 Berlin International Film Festival.


TIM MARSHALL (Followers Marshall’s short films have played at numerous festivals. After his 2012 short GORILLA won the UK’s Iris Prize, awarding him £25K, his next short FOLLOWERS screened in competition at Sundance and SXSW in 2015.


KEIRAN WATSON-BONNICE (Caravan) Watson-Bonnice began making films in New York in the late 1990s. Working with non-actors and improvisation, Keiran’s films often blur the lines between documentary and fiction. His short CARAVAN (premiered at Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival) was a return to narrative filmmaking after many years directing and editing commercials and feature documentary.


CHRISTIAN RIVERS (Feeder) Rivers started working in the New Zealand film industry as a storyboard artist and he has also worked as a Visual FX Art Director, CG Animator, Pre-visualization Supervisor and 2nd Unit Director.



Accelerator Express - Directors selected by Screen Australia’s Hot Shots Program


LUCY GAFFY A graduate of the Australian Film, TV & Radio School (AFTRS), Gaffy has worked across short films, documentaries, long-form projects and TV commercials. She was a 2009 recipient of a European Union Travel Scholarship to go to Helsinki’s DocPoint Festival with her Documentary CENTURY WITNESS. Her short films include 2010’s THE LOVE SONG OF ISKRA PRUFROCK, 201’s THE FENCE, which premiered at Busan, and 2015’s DREAM BABY. She had a 2016 attachment to TV mini-series BOND.


CORRIE JONES Melbourne-based Corrie Jones' film WATER won Best Short Film at 2010’s Milan International Film Festival. Jones directs TVCs with Melbourne’s Guilty and received funding from Screen Australia's Hot Shots program to direct his next short film.


MATT RICHARDS’ work spans short films and documentaries, TV commercials, branded content and music videos. He holds a Master of Directing Narrative (Victorian College of the Arts, 2011). His MIFF-selected short films FIRST CONTACT (2012), RABBIT (2014) and THE DISAPPEARANCE OF WILLIE BINGHAM (2015) have screened in competition globally at more than 100 festivals and collected many awards. He completed a director's attachment on ABC-TV series TOMORROW WHEN THE WAR BEGAN. 


SARAH-JANE WOULAHAN is a Melbourne-based writer and director of fiction, documentary, music video, commercial, dance, transmedia and VR. Her shorts have screened at festivals internationally including South by Southwest and her HotShots funded sci-fi short A TERRIBLE BEAUTY premiered at MIFF 2016.



Accelerator Express - Director selected by ScreenWest’s West Coast Visions Program


CHRIS RICHARDS-SCULLY An Australian Film, TV & Radio School (AFTRS) directing graduate from Perth, Richards-Scully’s short films have screened at numerous international festivals and sold to TV worldwide. He served his directing apprenticeship on Jim Henson’s, Sci-Fi Channel series FARSCAPE and ABC-TV series PARALLAX. 




For photos of Accelerator 2014 click here


Accelerator Classic – participants with short films at MIFF 2014


JESSICA BARCLAY LAWTON (Building Bridges) Lawton’s graduate film MORNING STAR premiered at the 63rd Locarno Film Festival and continued on to screen at more than 30 festivals worldwide. In 2013 she co-founded filmmaker collective Jerry Projects with Rhys Mitchell and their short WE KEEP ON DANCING won Best Live Action at Palm Springs Shortfest. Lawton’s web series, MOVEMENT premiered at 2016’s Tribeca NOW Film Festival. She is signed as a TVC Director to TRUCE Films.


LEWIS ATTEY (Rhododendron) Melbourne-based Attey’s credits as writer/director include 2012 short film BASIL and a TVC for the Tim Winton novel EYRIE. In 2013, Lewis completed the Bachelor of Film and TV at Swinburne University, where his graduate film RHODODENDRON won a Creative Excellence award.


ANNA MCGRATH (She Was She) Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) Film Narrative Masters 2008 graduate McGrath’s films have screened at more than 70 festivals worldwide and won several prizes, including at Tribeca and Palm Springs. She also holds a 2017 Masters in Fine Arts – Directing from the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA).


JAYDEN STEVENS (Between Trees): A director from the Gold Coast, Stevens is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA), where his short film Between Trees won the school’s Brian Robinson Memorial script award and then screened at Palm Springs and MIFF Accelerator. His short The Family premiered at the Adelaide Film Festival.


AUDREY LAM (Magic Miles) Hong Kong-born Audrey Lam studied film and photography at Queensland College of Art. Her work has shown at festivals and museums including Melbourne, London, Rotterdam, Oberhausen and Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography. In 2013, her short Faraways won the International Award at Circuito Off and she was part of the Future Encounters showcase at Encounters Short Film Festival.


SARAH-JANE WOULAHAN (Acts of God) See 2015


MIKE GREEN (Mother) Green’s TWO SIDES, starring Brendan Rock (SNOWTOWN), premiered in-competition at Flickerfest, while FAIRYTRUTH, starring Roy Billing (THE DISH, NARNIA), premiered at Switzerland’s CineGlobe and MOTHER’s international premiere was at Berlin’s interfilm. MOTHER won numerous awards including the ACS awards Gold. He is a judge with screenwriting competition Scriptapalooza and was Director’s Assistant on screenwriter James Vanderbilt’s (ZODIAC) directorial debut TRUTH, starring Cate Blanchett.


HAMISH BENNETT (Ross & Beth) A New Zealand film-maker of Maori descent (Te Arawa, Ngapuhi, Kai Tahu) and a school teacher, Bennett’s first film THE DUMP won Best Short Film Script at 2012’s NZ Writers Guild Awards and featured in numerous festivals. His second short film, ROSS & BETH, won numerous awards, including the Jury and Audience prizes at the New Zealand International Film Festival and Best Director at Show Me Shorts.


QIU YANG (The World) Born and raised in China, Qiu Yang’s The World was his first short film that he completed while studying a Masters Degree at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA). His graduating short Under the Sun was selected for Cannes’ Cinéfondation 2015 and has now screened in more than 70 international film festivals. His short film A GENTLE NIGHT was selected 2017’s Cannes short film main competition.


ABIGAIL GREENWOOD (Eleven) Auckland-based Greenwood has worked as an actor, theatre director, and costume assistant in New Zealand film, theatre and TV. Her short ELEVEN played at multiple festivals, including Berlinale and won Best Short Film and Short Film Script at the NZ Film Awards.


EDDY BELL (Grey Bull) After eight years working in several areas of production in front of and behind the camera, Eddy Bell studied for a Bachelor of Film & TV at the VCA. He graduated as the Valedictorian of the Southbank campus. His 2014 short GREY BULL won Best Australian Short Film at MIFF, Best Australian Short at Flickerfest and Best Direction in a short film at the ADG Awards. In 2015, Bell won a gold at the Young Director Awards in Cannes, France.


ALENA LODKINA (There is no Such Thing as a Jellyfish) A Russian-born Australian filmmaker who studied at Sydney’s University of Technology, Lodkina directed and co-wrote absurdist short film THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A JELLYFISH. She also made short documentary film LIGHTNING RIDGE: THE LAND OF BLACK OPALS.


MATT RICHARDS (Rabbit) See 2015.


ALYX DUNCAN (The Tide Keeper) Duncan’s first feature film THE RED HOUSE won 2012’s New Zealand Film Awards Best Self-Funded Film and Best Debut Feature at ReelWorld. In 2015 Alyx won SPADA’s new filmmaker award. She was choreographer and directors attachment for Alison Maclean’s THE REHEARSAL.


SEAN KRUCK (Snowblind) Kruck has worked on TV drama, short films, commercials and music videos. His first short film, SUMMER BREAKS, screened at Berlinale and Clermont Ferrand amongst others and was awarded the Sydney Film Festival’s Best Short Film award. Kruck was selected by Screen Australia as one of Australia’s most promising directors as part of its Radar showcase at 2009’s Los Angeles G’day Australia week. In 2013, he directed two episodes of Network Ten’s drama series PUBERTY BLUES and he completed Screen Australia Springboard financed short SNOWBLIND, which premiered at Adelaide 2013 and 2014’s Berlinale.


BEN BRIAND (Blood Pulls a Gun) A director working across narrative, installation, music video and commercial disciplines, Briand’s shorts include SOME STATIC STARTED AND APRICOT, which was voted Best Narrative film on Vimeo by a community of more than three million users. His short BLOOD PULLS A GUN premiered at SXSW Film Festival in competition as well as London Film Festival and winning MIFF 2014 Best Emerging Filmmaker.


2014 ACCELERATOR EXPRESS DIRECTORS - selected by Screen Australia’s Hot Shots Program


ALEX MURAWSKI An Australian Film TV & Radio School (AFTRS) directing graduate, Murawski received 2010’s Myer Scholarship for Exceptional Talent. His short film KISS screened at Berlinale and other film festivals. He was director attachment on Oscar-nominee Bruce Beresford's Emmy-nominated production of Bonnie & Clyde, completed a development internship with New York’s Killer Films and completed Screen Australia Hot Shot-funded short ARI (TIFF Kids 2016).


ANDREW KAVANAGH Melbourne-based Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) graduate Kavanagh’s short film AT THE FORMAL won MIFF 2011’s Emerging Australian Filmmaker Prize and Gijon 2011’s Best Short Film award. MEN OF THE EARTH screened at festivals including Clermont Ferrand, Rotterdam and AFI Fest, winning prizes such as Bordeaux’s Grand Prix. As the winner of the Qantas Spirit Of Youth Award for Film & Video, in 2013, Andrew had a one-year mentorship with Hollywood director Robert Luketic. Kavanagh was Story Developer and Documentary Director at VICE AU/NZ and is represented by the Mosaic Media Group in Hollywood CA.


BEC PENISTON-BIRD Peniston-Bird’s Screen Australia’s Hot Shots-funded short GOODNIGHT SWEETHEART was an Official Selection at the 2016 Palm Springs International Film Festival and screened at 2015’s Sydney and Melbourne Film Festivals. Her previous short, SUMMER SUIT, screened in competition at the 63rd Berlinale and then competed in more than 20 film festivals including MIFF Accelerator 2013 and was awarded Best Film at Sydney’s Mardi Gras Film Festival and screened on ABC-TV. Her documentaries include NICK CAVE: ABUSING THE MUSE (MIFF 2008) and KEITH HARING UNCOVERED for ABC-TV. She undertook a Director’s Attachment on the Spierig Brothers’ thriller WINCHESTER. 


BILLIE PLEFFER A VCA directing graduate, Pleffer’s graduate short BINO premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival, winning Best Film by the International Jury and Special Mention by the Children’s Jury. Her subsequent short BABY BABY won Best Short Film at 2014’s AWGIEs and Best Cinematography at St Kilda. In 2017, Pleffer wrote and directed a multiplatform series for EVERYCLOUD. She undertook a Screen Australia-funded Director’s Attachment with Glendyn Ivin on THE BEAUTIFUL LIE


CORRIE CHEN Taiwan-born Chen’s 2010 VCA Masters film WONDER BOY played on the festival circuit including Munich, San Francisco, Flickerfest, and won some awards. In 2011 she was a recipient of Screen Australia's Raw Nerve short film fund, writing and directing the short BRUCE LEE PLAYED BADMINTON TOO. Her directing work includes ABC2 half-hour documentary SUICIDE AND ME (ADG Best Documentary-winner) and Screen Australia Completion Fund recipient BLOOMERS. 2015 included a Screen Australia director's attachment to AACTA-award winning Shawn Seet on the Peter Allen miniseries. Her short REG MAKES CONTACT premiered at MIFF 2015. She has also directed MUSTANGS FC for Matchbox Pictures and is signed to direct SBS-TV comedy series HOMECOMING QUEENS.

RODD RATHJEN Rathjen completed a 2010 VCA Bachelor of Film & TV.  Rathjen’s Honours short THE STRANGER screened at several festivals including MIFF 2011.TAU SERU world premiered at 2013’s Cannes Critics Week and won MIFF 2013 Best Australian Short. He finished SWEAT, a short made through Screen Australia's Hot Shots program.



Accelerator Classic – participants with short films at MIFF 2013


AIDEE WALKER (Friday Tigers) A graduate of Auckland’s UNITEC School of Performing and Screen Arts, Walker acted in New Zealand TV series OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE. After returning to NZ from years abroad, she wrote and performed her own work and transitioned to writing and directing film. Her first short, The F.E.U.C., screened at NZ’s Show Me Shorts Festival and the Palm Springs International Shortsfest, and her second short was the NZ Film Commission Fresh Shorts-funded Friday Tigers. She had acting roles on NZ TV series Sunny Skies and film HOW TO MEET GIRLS FROM A DISTANCE. Her third short film is BREAK IN THE WEATHER.


CATHERINE BISLEY (Wide Eyed) An Antipodean mix of Maori, Danish, and Scottish descent, Bisley gained an English Literature honours degree before defecting to film. She has written arts journalism and for radio and stage and completed a 2012 internship at New York’s Killer Films. She is up to her fourth short film - Untitled Groping Revenge Fairytale.


COLIN HODSON (Maul) Hodson's first two films were the micro-budget improvised features SHIFTER (2000) and .OFF. (AKA .ON.)  (2002/2006). His feature script LIFE ON THE ISLAND won the David Carson Parker Embassy Trust Prize and he attended the Binger Filmlab in 2005/6.


JAMES VAUGHAN (You Like It, I Love It) Vaughan’s 2013 short film You Like It, I Love It was selected for competition at the Berlin, Clermont-Ferrand and Melbourne film festivals. At MIFF 2013, he won the Emerging Australian Filmmaker Award. In 2014 he completed feature documentary Several Occupations with co-director Isaac Wall. Vaughan completed Screen Australia's Talent Escalator program and is the current curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Contemporary Film series.


JORDAN PROSSER (Hungry Man) A VCA graduate, Prosser’s HUNGRY MAN won the VCA Awards for Screenplay and Production and screened at more than a dozen local and international festivals. His 2016 short film, TANGLEWOOD, was a recipient of Screen Australia’s Hot Shots completion funding.


MARGARET HARVEY (The Hunter) An actor by trade, Harvey crossed-over to creating and directing for theatre and film. She continues to collaborate with her brother John Harvey on film and theatre projects through Brown Cab and worked on a live performance project with the Saibai people in the Torres Straits.


MAT GOVONI (The Misfortune of Others) An Australian Film TV & Radio School (AFTRS) graduate, Govoni worked as a cinematographer and compositor before moving into direction in 2009. His work has screened at festivals including MIFF, Los Angeles Comedy Short Film Festival and Berlin interfilm. His music video for Australian artist David Bridie received acclaim culminating in a Nevada International Film Festival Platinum Reel Award. Govoni’s 2014 short documentary on transgender youth, IN MY SHOES (co-directed with Monique Schafter), screened in Australian Parliament, TED and on ABC2 and in the Human Rights and Arts film festivals.  


MATTHEW MOORE (The Amber Amulet) Moore made his debut as writer, director and producer with the short film JULIAN, which won the Crystal Bear for Best Short Film at the 62nd Berlinale and then won many awards competing in more than 20 international film festivals culminating in The AACTA Award for Best Short Fiction Film. MIFF 2013's THE AMBER AMULET world premiered at the 63rd Berlinale, where it too won the Crystal Bear for Best Short Film. Other awards include The Australian Writers Guild AWGIE Award for Best Screenplay in a Short Film, The Audience Award at St Kilda Short Film Festival, The Audience Choice Award at TIFF Kids and The Oscar Qualifying Grand Prix for Best Short Film from The Heartland Film Festival. Matthew is signed with Jungle for TVCs.


BEC PENISTON-BIRD (Summer Suit) See 2014.


ROMAINE MORETON (The Oysterman) A Geonpul Jagera and Bundjalung woman, Moreton is a transmedia artist and poet who works in film, theatre, digital media, performance and poetry. Her ‘Poems from a Homeland’ was one of 100 notebooks published as part of dOCUMENTA (13), held in 2012 at Kassel, Germany. Her first two scripted films, REDREEMING THE DARK and CHERISH, were selected for the fringe program of the Cannes Film Festival. A third film, A WALK WITH WORDS, based on Moreton’s poetry and experience, won the award for Best International Short Film at 2000’s World of Women Film Festival. She is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Newcastle’s Umulliko Education Research Centre, interrogating western media-making systems from within an Indigenous worldview. She wrote and directed the award winning The Farm (2009), screened on ABC-TV in the “New Blak” series, and The Oysterman (2014).

Old Mate) Since completing a Fine Arts Degree in Film & TV at Queensland University of Technology, Dixon worked on short films and music videos in various roles that have been shown in many film festivals. He completed a Masters in Screenwriting at the Victorian College of the Arts in 2014.


SOPHIE HAYWARD (The Zoo) Hayward studied Creative Arts at La Trobe University, Writing and Art History at the UK’s University of East Anglia and a BA in Film and TV (Honours) at the Victorian College of the Arts. She has directed theatre, music videos and short films, which won her a scholarship and awards. Since her graduate film The Zoo played at MIFF 2013’s Accelerator strand, she has worked as an art director and completed short film The Cosmonaut. 


TENIKA SMITH (Thanks for the Ride) Smith studied filmmaking at the Victorian College of the Arts where her graduating film Thanks for the Ride received the Panavision Award for Outstanding Script and premiered at MIFF. In 2015, she worked across 17 countries in Europe and Asia directing a global ad campaign and she has since completed her short film Rum & Raisin.


TYMON LANGFORD (Thylacine) Langford was awarded the 2004 Sydney Theatre Company Young Playwrights’ Award and has a Bachelor of Media and Communications from the University of Sydney (majoring in Film Studies and Art History). He has also studied at the Australian Film TV & Radio School and the Victorian College of the Arts for a Masters in Film and TV (Narrative). Since THYLACINE played at 2013’s MIFF Accelerator, he has completed two more short films, EAST OF ZERO and FINDER.