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Alumni Update


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 in a variety of screen productions including Ginger & Rosa and Jonathan Strange and Mr Norell and Top of the Lake season 2. 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. Since graduating, Diamandi has written and directed short films, some of which have screened in festivals locally and overseas.


Elizabeth Fermanis (Hospitality) is a Wangaratta-born Melbourne-based writer and filmmaker who has a Diploma in Professional Writing and Editing, a Bachelor Degree in Creative Arts and a Masters of Film & TV from Melbourne’s VCA where she was awarded a Victorian Scholarship for visual art.


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 successful 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.


Natalie Erika James (Creswick) is an American-born, Melbourne-based Japanese-Australian director and producer whose previous shorts, Burrow (2014) - shot on location in Beijing - and Tritch (2012), have screened internationally at numerous film festivals and were picked-up for broadcast by SBS-TV. She is signed to Fiction as a TVC director.


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 an assistant editor at Melbourne post-house The Butchery.


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 has 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 shot season six of TV series Offspring.


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 the film industry in Los Angeles. She is part of the NZ Script-to-Screen FilmUp Program and her feature script Hong Kong Story was shortlisted by Sundance Screenwriters Lab 2016.


Emily Dynes (St. Elmo) is a Swinburne University Bachelor of Film & TV graduate and the co-founder of Impel Pictures, where she continues to create 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 attended Amsterdam’s selective Binger Lab.


Accelerator Express Directors


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


Briony Kidd is a Tasmanian-based writer/director and graduate of Melbourne’s Victoria College of the Arts (VCA) who has written, directed and produced many short films, including coming-of-age gothic melodrama The Room at the Top of the Stairs. Kidd also works in theatre, most recently Episode 1: The Pit, which she wrote and directed in collaboration with other members of the Radio Gothic collective and presented as part of Ten Days on the Island 2015 and Dark MOFO 2016.


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 most recent film, 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 & Simon Williams began working together while studying film at University and 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 feature Hacksaw Ridge and directs commercials for production companies Two Little Indians and Clockwork films.


Brooke Goldfinch attended NYU’s graduate film program at Tisch School of the Arts, where she was a scholarship student and received 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 graduated with a Masters in Film and TV Narrative from Melbourne’s VCA in 2011 and attended the Edinburgh Film Festival’s inaugural Talent Lab. Boscolo, also in 2011, received a $30 000 grant from Screen NSW’s Emerging Filmmakers Fund for Sam’s Gold, which won the Australian Directors Guild 2014 Award for Best Short Film Direction. Her short films have screened in numerous festivals and her VCA Masters film Safe won numerous awards. Boscolo received Screen Australia Hot Shots short film funding and her project Sunshine was funded through Screen Australia’s Gender Matters initiative. She completed a Screen Australia director’s attachment on Playmaker’s Love Child


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 honors degree. Her third short film is Cold, which she wrote, produced, directed and acted in.


Renae Maihi 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 most recent 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 - Its Time, which was voted AdNews Viral of the Year and has had over 16,000,000 hits on YouTube. In 2013, McCallum was the Screen Australia director's attachment on Tony Ayres' feature Cut Snake. In 2014, he was Glendyn Ivin's Director’s Assistant on Channel 9’s Gallipoli where he directed 2nd Unit. McCallum has directed several short films that have screened around the world.



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.


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 and continued work on a short film funded by Screen Australia’s 2015 Hot Shots Program.


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, TRUE/FALSE 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. He is currently in post with his next theatrical documentary. 


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) An author with a passion for telling the stories of Indigenous Australia, 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 (Slingshot) In 2005, Hansen was awarded Best Documentary from Film Victoria (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 screened at Melbourne, Sydney and London Film Festivals and won Best Australian Short Film at Flickerfest, the Audience Award at Shorts That Are Not Pants in Toronto and the FUJIFILM Best Australian Film at Mudgee International Short Film Festival.


TESS HUTSON (Euxine) Hutson 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.


ISAAC WALL (Looking to Buy) Melbourne-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 Real) Hailing from the small country town of Dimboola with a population the size of an average car park in a Sydney shopping centre, Rigney is a Wotjobaluk and Ngarrindjeri woman who has dabbled in the arts over the past few years and is 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 served as a directors 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 (Match) Melbourne-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) Noble went from Brighton Art School to working as a junior copywriter at TBWA London and TBWA South Africa to then transitioning to film production. For the last ten years she has worked as a freelance stills photographer and an independent film and content maker. Noble created the online sketch comedy Blind Pilot, and has since collaborated with Nick Boshier (BONDI HIPSTERS, SOUL MATES) on numerous projects, including the 2014 Emmy award winning Australian Comedy, 7DAYSLATER for ABC2 and a new online project called MEANWHILE, ON EARTH. She now makes commercials and content with Sydney and Auckland based company, 8.


MICHAEL PORTWAY (Wawi) Previously Melbourne-based Portway now lives in Estonia and is a graduate of the VCA School of Film & TV. Originally from Canberra, Michael 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) An award-winning writer/director, 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. Marshall has a feature film version of FOLLOWERS in development with Screen Queensland. The feature script was a semi-finalist for the Academy Nicholl Fellowship.


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 and in 2010 was nominated for an Australian Directors Guild award and an AFI for her film THE LOVE SONG OF ISKRA PRUFROCK. Gaffy’s 2012 Screen NSW Emerging Filmmakers Fund short film THE FENCE premiered at Busan. She received Screen Australia Hot Shots funding for her proof-of-concept short DREAM BABY and was awarded the 2016 ADG Attachment to the CJZ Production of BOND.


CORRIE JONES Melbourne-based Corrie Jones' film WATER won Best Short Film in the 15-30 minutes category 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 Melbourne-based Richards works at the National Gallery of Victoria as a director, videographer and editor. He has a background in editing, lighting and post-production, while his directing spans music videos, short films and documentaries, TV commercials and corporate communications. He holds an Advanced Diploma in Film & TV (Western Australian School of Art & Design, 2000) and a Master of Directing Narrative (Victorian College of the Arts, 2011) with the resulting film, FIRST CONTACT, collecting eight awards and screening in competition at 30 festivals in 16 countries. He is a recipient of Screen Australia's 2014 Hot Shots funding for short psychological horror THE DISAPPEARANCE OF WILLIE BINGHAM and completed a director's attachment on ABC-TV series TOMORROW WHEN THE WAR BEGAN.


SARAH-JANE WOULAHAN A Melbourne-based writer, director and producer of music videos and comedy series broadcast on ABC and documentaries on SBS and multiplatform narratives, Woulahan’s short films have screened at festivals internationally. She works as a represented commercials director and in 2016 completed her latest short, A TERRIBLE BEAUTY, with funding from Screen Australia.


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. His science fiction comedy feature The Last Drop secured Screenwest’s West Coast Visions funding.




For photos of Accelerator 2014 click here

Accelerator Classic – participants with short films at MIFF 2014


JESSICA BARCLAY LAWTON (Building Bridges) Melbourne-based Director and Producer Lawton’s films have shown at various international festivals with her graduate film Morning Star premiering at the 63rd Locarno Film Festival before screening at some 30 more. Her short film We Keep On Dancing won Best Live Action Narrative (Under 15 Minutes) at Palm Springs International ShortFest. Her Screen Australia-funded web series Movement will have its festival premiere at Tribeca NOW in 2016.


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, Palm Springs, and Angelus Student Film Festival. McGrath has also been a Jury Member for the 2013 AACTA Awards, invited to participate as a mentor in the 2009 Tribeca Film Fellows program and selected for 2012’s Berlinale Talent Campus.  


JAYDEN STEVENS (Between Trees): Stevens is a director from the Gold Coast. He is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts, where his short film Between Trees won the school’s Brian Robinson Memorial script award. Between Trees screened at Palm Springs and Melbourne International Film Festivals where Stevens participated in the Accelerator program for emerging directors.  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 (Underbelly, Narnia), premiered at St Kilda Film Festival and aired on SBS-TV. He is a judge with LA-based, screenwriting competition Scriptapalooza and was Director’s Assistant to screenwriter James Vanderbilt’s (Zodiac, The Amazing Spider-Man 1 & 2) directorial debut Truth, starring Cate Blanchett and Robert Redford.


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 is his first short film that he completed while studying a Masters Degree at the VCA. His graduating short Under the Sun was selected for Cannes’ Cinéfondation 2015


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 every area 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 is currently developing a feature length project Here I Am Free based on her 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 is co-writing feature The Surrogate with Lani Feltham, and co-producing Fresh Short Mouse. She was recently choreographer and directors attachment for Alison Maclean’s The Rehearsal and is soon to be directing NZ-Australian co-production The Lonely Girl.


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, Sydney-based 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 (Driving Miss Daisy, Breaker Morant) 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. The final film in Kavanagh’s Short Collisions trilogy, Welcome Home Allen, was being produced in 2014 with the assistance of Screen Australia. Kavanagh is the 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 (2015) screened at 2015’s Sydney and Melbourne Film Festivals. Her previous short, Summer Suit, European premiered at the 63rd Berlinale and then competed in more than 20 film festivals including MIFF 2013. It was awarded Best Film at Sydney’s Mardi Gras Film Festival and screened on ABC-TV. She has also made documentaries, including Nick Cave: Abusing the Muse (MIFF 2008) and ABC-TV’s Keith Haring Uncovered. She is represented for TVCs by Melbourne’s Renegade Films.


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 next short, the Screen NSW Emerging Filmmaker Fund-backed BABY BABY, won the Australian Writer’s Guild Best Short Film Award. She was funded for a short by Screen Australia’s Hot Shot Program and undertook a Screen Australia-funded Director’s Attachment with Glendyn Ivin.


CORRIE CHEN Taiwan-born Chen’s 2010 VCA Masters film WONDER BOY played on the festival circuit including Munich, San Francisco, Flickerfest, and picked up a few awards along the way. 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 includes 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.


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.


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 is 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 Berlin International Film Festival 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) to be broadcast in 2014 as part of the “Flashblack” series


SAM DIXON (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 is completed a Masters in Screenwriting at the Victorian College of the Arts. 

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 a new short, The Cosmonaut. 


TENIKA SMITH (Thanks for the Ride) Smith studied filmmaking at the Victorian College of the Arts where she completed her graduating film, Thanks for the Ride, which 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 recently completed her latest short film Rum & Raisin.


TYMON LANGFORD (Thylacine) Langford was awarded the 2004 Sydney Theatre Company’s 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).



2013 ACCELERATOR EXPRESS -Selected by Screen Australia Springboard


CHISTOPHER WEEKES An actor, writer and director who trained with the Australian Theatre for Young People (ATYP) and the National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA), Weekes made his feature debut when he wrote, directed and starred in Bitter & Twisted, which had its US premiere at Tribeca Film Festival. His 2009 script The Muppet Man, about the life of Jim Henson, is setup at Disney and he has other projects in development including Ponzi’s Scheme, to be directed by Milos Foreman, and Me and My Monster with Laura Ziskin Productions at Sony Pictures. He has also been an actor on TV series, PUBERTY BLUES.


DARLENE JOHNSON Johnson, from the Dunghutti people of NSW, started her writer/director career with the 1996 short film Two Bob Mermaid and continued exploring themes of race, identity and perception mainly in documentaries from International EMMY Award-nominated Stolen Generations” to Stranger in my Skin and the “making-of” Phillip Noyce’s Rabbit-Proof Fence and GULPILIL-ONE RED BLOOD. Ten years later, Johnson made her second short, Crocodile Dreaming, and then made River of No Return (MIFF 2008). She has produced documentaries for ABC-TV’s “Message Stick” series and her latest documentary is The Redfern Story about the National Black Theatre in Redfern. Her next short film Bluey is part of Screen Australia’s Springboard initiative.


HANNAH MOON Melbourne-based Moon’s Screen Australia Springboard-funded short Dario premiered at MIFF 2014 and has had a number of international screenings including Palm Springs Shortfest and Arizona International, where it won Best Global Comedy Short. She is a member of the Boomgate Films team, which also launched Screen Australia-supported web-series Altruman. Launched on ABC iView in 2014, it won at LA’s Independent Series Awards. Her other short films include Hamish, a docu-drama about autism, which has screened locally and internationally, and Bored Girls, her Screen-Australia funded Raw Nerve film.


SAM MCKEITH McKeith’s short films, including RAIN (2011), CONVENIENCE (2012) and A FAREWELL PARTY (2014), played at film festivals including the Berlin, Telluride and Busan film festivals. A graduate of the Australian Film TV and Radio School, McKeith also has a Bachelor of Laws and Arts from The University of Sydney.


TOM MCKEITH McKeith’s short films have played at film festivals including the Berlin, Telluride and Busan film festivals. In 2011, he received production funding through Screen NSW’s Emerging Film-Makers’ Fund and in 2012 his feature screenplay Boxer was selected for Screen NSW’s Aurora script development workshop and is now part of Screen Australia's Springboard development program. McKeith, who has a Graduate Diploma in Screen Directing from the Australian Film TV & Radio School, has a Bachelor of Laws & Arts from Sydney University majoring in English. 




Accelerator Classic – participants with short films at MIFF 2012


TREVOR ANDERSON (The Man That Got Away): Anderson’s award-winning shorts have screened at festivals including Sundance, Berlin, and Toronto. THE MAN THAT GOT AWAY (2012) premiered at Berlinale, where it won the DAAD Short Film Prize. His previous shorts include THE HIGH LEVEL BRIDGE (2010), THE ISLAND (2009), and ROCK POCKETS (2007). Anderson studied under master filmmaker Werner Herzog at his Rogue Film School. He is also a stage director, playwright and co-founder of Canadian rock’n’roll band The Wet Secrets. He produced, wrote and directed THE LITTLE DEPUTY (2015) which went to Sundance, Dallas and SxSW)


JAMES ARMSTRONG (The Man Who Could Not Dream): Armstrong has worked professionally in Australia’s screen industry on drama, comedy, animation and documentary. In 2000, James formed Gozer Studio, a boutique creative studio undertaking a range of projects across multiple disciplines.


RAPHAEL ELISHA (Catch Perfect): After winning 2008’s Cannes Lions Young Director Award, Elisha has since directed nationwide advertising campaigns, plus three shorts which have travelled the international circuit, and a 13-part series for ABC-TV. He is signed to Melbourne’s Airbag Productions and has since made the short ALBERT (2015).


RUDOLF FITZGERALD-LEONARD (Kin): Melbourne-born Fitzgerald-Leonard graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) in 2011, winning the Film Victoria Award for Best Film (Undergraduate & Honours) for the Cannes 2012-screened KIN which won him MIFF’s Emerging Australian Filmmaker Award. His next short, produced in association with Screen Australia, is 2015’s CORAL. He continues to direct both dramatic fiction and commercial fashion films in London and Berlin, where he is currently based.


MIRRAH FOULKES (Dumpy Goes to the Big Smoke): As an actor, Foulkes has appeared in feature films including ANIMAL KINDGOM and SLEEPING BEAUTY. She was nominated for an AACTA Award for her role in THE TURNING and a Logie Award for her role in Seven Network’s ALL SAINTS and appeared in Jane Campion's TOP OF THE LAKE and Brendan Cowell's THE OUTLAW MICHAEL HOWEHer directorial debut DUMPTY GOES TO THE BIG SMOKE won the Rouben Mamoulian award at Sydney 2012 and Best director award at Flickerfest 2013. Her second short, FLORENCE HAS LEFT THE BUILDING, starred Jacki Weaver.


PHOEBE HARTLEY (Switch): Hartley made her directing debut in 2006 with her award-nominated short THE KING. She is the creator and director of online documentary series EXTRAORDINARY and her documentary HOME was a finalist in 2013’s Focus Forward global competition, as was her documentary, SPECTACLE, at 2013’s International Documentary Challenge. Hartley completed directing internships on Network Ten’s NEIGHBOURS and OFFSPRING. SWITCH was selected for Screen Australia’s 2011 Raw Nerve initiative and screened in festivals in Sao Paulo, Berlin and Vietnam.


ANNA HELME (Continental Drift):  Filmmaker, video artist and media activist Helme’s shorts include CONTINENTAL DRIFT (MIFF 2012, SBS-TV 2014) for which she was awarded the Emerging Filmmaker Award at 2013’s Queer Screen Mardi Gras Film Festival and MYMY (Outfest 2014, BFI Flare 2015). In 2005, she co-founded EngageMedia, a non-profit focused on social justice and environmental video from the Asia-Pacific. As a live audio-visual artist she has performed internationally and made a video installation for the Nightcraft exhibition at Sydney's MCA Artbar 2014 and MIX NYC 2014.. She completed her Honours in Film & TV at the VCA in 2013 and in 2015 started a PhD in hybrid moving image work at the VCA. She has co-directed and co-produced documentaries about indigenous cultural connection to water (CULTRUAL FLOW, NITV 2012) and fat activism (AQUAPORKO!, Frameline 2013).


SAM KELLY (Lambs): Kelly made several short films and won several prizes, including LAMBS (Berlin, Clermont-Ferrand). He won Best Film for three consecutive years at Wellington's 48HOURS filmmaking competition, as well as New Zealand Young Filmmaker of the Year. Kelly has a Masters in Screenwriting from Victoria University.


JOE LONIE (Honk If You’re Horny): Lonie came to film through music; directing numerous videos for his own band Supergroove as well as the likes of The Finn Brothers, Bic Runga, Shihad, Goodshirt and Brooke Fraser. He has directed many TVCs for Flying Fish, including Grabber for Playstation, and Ducks for Goodman Fielder, which won a Gold Lion at Cannes. HONK IF YOU’RE HORNY premiered at MIFF and screened at many other festivals, picking up multiple awards, including Best Short Script, Best Actor and Best Short Film at the NZ Film Awards, and Best Actor, Best Director and Best Film at Show Me Shorts. His new short film SHOUT AT THE GROUND is a semi–autobiographical piece based on his experiences in the formative stages of Supergroove.


MATTHEW J. SAVILLE (Hitch Hike): Born in South Africa to a Kiwi mother and South African father, Saville worked on the third season of TV show ALMIGHTY JOHNSON and his second short is DIVE.


MICHAEL SPICCIA (Yardbird): Having studied design at the Western Australian School of Art and Design, Spiccia worked for a year in London and then went into music videos splitting his time between Bazmark (where he worked alongside Baz Lurhman and Catherine Martin as a designer) and directing video clips for such bands such as Evermore, Jet, The Black Ryder, Grinspoon and Bob Evans. The Cannes 2012-selected YARDBIRD is his debut short.


NATHAN VERNON (The Land Between): Acting professionally from the age of 12, both of Vernon’s High School VCE films exhibited at NGV’s Top Arts Awards in 2007, which helped him secure a place at the Victorian College of the Arts. He graduated in 2010 with his film THE LAND BETWEEN.

YIANNI WARNOCK (Playpals): Warnock is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts. His short PLAYPALS was a part of MIFF Accelerator 2012 and MAN ON EARTH premiered at MIFF 2013. His short HAPPY WITH BEAR premiered at SXSW in 2015 and his short HOMEBODIES world premiered at Clermont-Ferrand before going on to screen at SXSW 2016.



2012 ACCELERATOR EXPRESS DIRECTORS - selected by Screen Australia's Springboard Program


MIRANDA NATION: Nation, director of the short ELI THE INVINCIBLE (MIFF Accelerator 2011), is a Melbourne-based filmmaker and actor who studied directing at the Australian Film TV & Radio School (AFTRS) and physical theatre at Jacques Lecoq, Paris. Her short films have screened and won awards at numerous festivals. ELI THE INVINCIBLE (MIFF Accelerator 2011) premiered at Edinburgh 2011 and won the Flickerfest 2012 SBS Award. Her short PERCEPTION (MIFF 2013) was developed through Screen Australia’s Springboard program and won the Sydney Film Festival 2013 Best Short Film Award and was selected for Clermont-Ferrand 2014. Nation is represented by HLA Management. She is slated to direct her feature debut, the MIFF Premiere Fund-supported UNDERTOW late in 2016.


LYNNE VINCENT McCARTHY: McCarthy is a writer, director, script editor and assessor who has worked in the Australian film industry since graduating an AFTRS Screenwriting MA in 2000 and currently works as a writer and story developer. From 2007-10, she was Screen Tasmania Development Executive before being selected to attend Amsterdam’s Binger Writers Lab and 2013’s Berlinale Co-Pro Market with the feature film project LONELY GIRL, which has since received developm