Accelerator Lab 2017 Participants

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, and her follow-up Mwah played at a number of festivals including Palm Springs International Film Festival. Buxton works at production company Gristmill, and her TV directing debut is the ABC-Netflix show The InBESTigators.

Kate Lefoe (SOMERSAULT PIKE): 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 and Halifax.

Zoe McIntosh (THE WORLD IN YOUR WINDOW): 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 first 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.

Tin Pang (MOTHER, CHILD):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 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. In 2018, Pang secured a director’s attachment on A Place To Call Home, and he works on Home And Away.

Simon Portus (PASSENGERS): Portus’ previous shorts credits include 2009’s Tomorrow, which premiered at the 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 shortlisted for the Smart for A Girl: ROAR screenwriting initiative with Imogen Banks and Alice Bell.

Rachel Ross (HAVE YOU TRIED, MAYBE, NOT WORRYING): 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. His first short Mrs McCutcheon won Best Australian Short Film at MIFF 2017, went on play at over 130 festivals world and was also nominated by AFI/AACTA and won Best Director at the Australian Directors Guild as well as Screen Producers Australia for Best Short Film. His Premiere Fund-supported feature debut H IS FOR HAPPINESS world premieres at MIFF 2019.

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 and which continues to screen at special presentations for both Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week. After the Smoke world premiered at 2017’s Berlinale. He has also worked with various brands including Harper’s Bazaar, Volvo, Westfield and Virgin.

Dave Whitehead (POSSUM): While Possum is his directorial debut, Whitehead is an award-winning 20-year veteran sound designer and composer whose credits include Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers; Sound Designer on District 9, The 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 writer/director descended from the Wiradjuri people and is a graduate of the 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 were broadcast on NITV. His short documentary Lest We Forget- Aboriginal Women screened nationwide on Remembrance Day 2018 and his other 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 directed her first short film WILD, having previously been a part of 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, 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 2014’s 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 played at various festivals. Hexter, who is represented by Hart & Co, was selected in 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, Darwin’s Brave New World, Ten Pound Poms, Australia On Trial, Australia in Colour and Doctor Doctor.

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 Sundance’s 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 portmanteau 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 Rider, Boy, Hunt 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 TV) 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 a director from Aotearoa/New Zealand of Māori and Pākehā heritage. Sanderson 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’. In 2019 she finished her first short, Ways to See, and is directing Moko, a documentary series called on traditional Māori tattoo.


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 (AFTRS). 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. Lahooti’s West Coast Visions-funded and Premiere Fund-supported feature debut BELOW will world premiere at MIFF 2019.