Accelerator 2014 Participants

Accelerator Classic
Participants with short films at MIFF 2014

JESSICA BARCLAY LAWTON (Building Bridges): Lawton is a writer-director whose films have screened at 70+ festivals, including Locarno, Tribeca, Sapporo and Melbourne, as well as Nowness and Vimeo staff picks. Her work is characterised by a hybrid style that combines documentary and narrative practices. Lawton is a recipient of the Creative Victoria ‘Creators Fund’ through which she is developing her debut hybrid feature film MELALEUCA. In 2021, Jessica was selected as one of 20 international filmmakers for the Filmmaker Lab of the Toronto International Film Festival, where she was also honoured with a TIFF Share Her Journey Fellowship.

LEWIS ATTEY (Rhododendron): Melbourne-based Attey’s credits as writer/director include 2012 short film BASIL and a TVC for 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. In 2016, Attey was director’s assistant to Simon Baker on BREATH and his 2019 short THREE STORIES INSIDE A RENTAL VAN premiered at the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival.

ANNA MCGRATH (She Was She): Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) Film Narrative Masters 2008 graduate and artist-in-residence at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, 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) and her company REVEILLE collaborates with artists, performers and venues around the world to create multi-disciplinary projects.

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 Premiere Fund-supported debut feature A FAMILY world premieres at MIFF 2019.

AUDREY LAM (Magic Miles): studied screen production and photography at Queensland College of Art. Her work has screened widely, including at BFI London Film Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen, Austrian Film Museum and Centre Pompidou. Her short films FARAWAYS, MAGIC MILES and A RIVER TWICE have screened at MIFF. She is a member of Artist Film Workshop in Melbourne.

SARAH-JANE WOULAHAN (Acts of God): See 2015

MIKE GREEN (Mother):A filmmaker of Chinese and English heritage, MOTHER had its international premiere at Berlin’s interfilm. MOTHER won numerous awards including the ACS awards Gold. He was Director’s Assistant on screenwriter James Vanderbilt’s (ZODIAC) directorial debut TRUTH (starring Cate Blanchett). In 2020 he made his feature directing debut with OUTBACK, with Lionsgate releasing in North America and it has to sold to every major territory.  Mike is writing his follow-up feature with development funding from Screen NSW.

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. He made his feature directing debut with 2019’s BELLBIRD, adapted from his previous short films and funded by the New Zealand Film Commission.

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 screened at more than 70 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 the 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, Bell studied for a Bachelor of Film & TV at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) and 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.

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. Her debut feature STRANGE COLOURS was released in 2017. Lodkina’s second feature, the MIFF Premiere Fund-supported PETROL, played at the 70th edition of MIFF in 2022. It was the first Premiere Fund-supported title to compete for the $140,000 Bright Horizons Prize in the MIFF Awards and also was the first Australian film in 26 years to play in competition at the Locarno Film Festival, where sales agent Alief acquired international rights.

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 2014’s Berlinale.

BEN BRIAND (Blood Pulls a Gun): A director with a background in Fine Arts, Briand’s first narrative project was MTV’s one hour drama HAMMER BAY featuring Jacki Weaver. Briand’s short films include SOME STATIC STARTED, ARMOUR and APRICOT, which was voted Best Narrative Film at the Vimeo Awards. His short BLOOD PULLS A GUN, starring Odessa Young, screened at the SXSW Film Festival in competition, as well as the BFI London Film Festival and Palm Springs and won MIFF 2014 Best Emerging Filmmaker. He also directed THE JOURNEY – telling the life story of Brazilian ballerina Ingrid Silva – which won the Silver Cannes Lion & has been viewed over 6 million times online. Ben has directed commercial projects featuring Gal Gadot, Rose Byrne, Adam Goodes and Natasha Liu Bordizzo.


Selected by Screen Australia’s Hot Shots Program

ALEX MURAWSKIAn Australian Film TV & Radio School (AFTRS) directing graduate, Murawski received 2010’s Myer Scholarship for Exceptional Talent. His short film KISS screened at the 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: A 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 2013’s Qantas Spirit of Youth Award for Film & Video, Kavanagh had a one-year mentorship with Hollywood director Robert Luketic. Kavanagh was Story Developer and Documentary Director at VICE Australia/NZ and is represented by Hollywood’s Mosaic Media Group.

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 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 in 2017 on the Spierig Brothers’ thriller WINCHESTER and attended 2018’s Berlinale Talent Campus. She won the AWG’s Insite Award for her feature screenplay PETROVA which is being adapted for television.

BILLIE PLEFFERA 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 and she undertook a Screen Australia-funded Director’s Attachment with Glendyn Ivin on THE BEAUTIFUL LIE

CORRIE CHENTaiwan-born Chen’s 2010 award-winning Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) Masters film WONDER BOY played the festival circuit, including Munich, San Francisco, Flickerfest. 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 ABC-TV 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. Chen directed Matchbox/SBS-TV’s MUSTANGS FC, comedy series HOMECOMING QUEENS and Network Ten’s FIVE BEDROOMS. In 2021 Chen directed Goalpost/SBS-TV’s four-part original drama NEW GOLD MOUNTAIN, which won her an ADG drama directing award, and in 2022 directed Matchbox/Universal/Stan four-part drama BAD BEHAVIOUR, which premiered at 2023’s Berlinale Series.

RODD RATHJENA 2010 Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) Film & TV Bachelor graduate, 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 also directed Screen Australia’s Hot Shots-funded short SWEAT. Rathjen’s Premiere Fund-supported feature debut, BUOYANCY, premiered at Berlinale 2019 where it won the Ecumenical Jury Prize.