Accelerator Lab 2018 Participants

Accelerator Classic
Participants with films at MIFF 2018

Jamie Helmer (THE KNIFE SALESMAN): Melbourne-based Helmer works under the banner of Golden Moss Films with collaborator Michael Leonard. Together they made the shorts LATE OCTOBER and THE KNIFE SALESMAN, with the latter screening in competition at 2017’s Venice Film Festival. THE KNIFE SALESMAN is a proof of concept for feature film project GRAFTON POINT.

Michael Leonard (THE KNIFE SALESMAN): Leonard started making films in 2007 with other artists and musicians under the banner Beg, Scream and Shout; with a commitment to screening DIY film with live music. In 2015 Leonard teamed with Jamie Helmer to make LATE OCTOBER and then 2017’s THE KNIFE SALESMAN, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival. THE KNIFE SALESMAN is a proof of concept for feature film project GRAFTON POINT, while THE DIVER is another short film that will be a proof of concept for a feature film of the same name.

Nakkiah Lui (BROWN LIPS): Nakkiah Lui is a writer, actor and director working across screen and stage, including BLACK COMEDY (ABC-TV), KIKI & KITTY (ABC-TV) and BLACK IS THE NEW WHITE (Sydney Theatre Company).

Vanessa Gazy (SHILOH): Gazy completed her Australian Film TV & Radio School (AFTRS) Masters in Directing in 2014, winning the school’s Kenneth B. Myer Award for Exceptional Talent. Her first short was 2015’s FOAL, while her second short, HIGHWAY, was selected for several festivals, including London and Palm Springs, and is being developed into a feature. She is a recipient of the Australian Directors Guild (ADG) 2018 Commercial & Content Mentorship Program and is represented by Grandview LA & WME.

Amberley Jo Aumua (WAITING): Writer/director Amberley Jo Aumua is of Samoan and Maori descent from Manurewa, Aotearoa/New Zealand and holds a Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts. Her 2017 short WAITING won Best Short Film at the New Zealand International Film Festival and was in competition at the Toronto International Film Festival. Aumua was one of nine writer/directors on 2019 portmanteau feature film VAI, which was selected for Berlin, SXSW, and the Māoriland Film Festival.

Renée Petropoulos (TANGLES AND KNOTS):Having completed her MFA in Directing at Columbia University, Petropoulos’ short TANGLES AND KNOTS was selected for both SXSW & Berlin in 2018 and was also nominated for the 2018 AACTA Award for Best Short Fiction Film.

John Harvey (WATER):Melbourne-based Harvey is the Creative Director of production company Brown Cabs and WATER is his narrative debut as a writer and director. Working alongside Arena Media, he produced a chapter from the MIFF Premiere-Fund supported omnibus THE TURNING in 2013, and also produced feature film SPEAR, which premiered at TIFF 2015, and ABC-TV series THE WARRIORS. In 2017, Harvey’s stage writing debut, HEART IS A WASTELAND, had a sold-out season at Melbourne’s Malthouse Theatre.

Lara Köse (KAYA): A graduate of Swinburne University and the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) film schools, Melbourne-based Köse’s VCA graduate short film CRUSH screened at festivals internationally. In 2018 Köse was selected as director’s attachment to Tony Tilse on feature film MISS FISHER & THE CRYPT OF TEARS, supported by Every Cloud Productions and Screen Australia.

Robyn Paterson (RUN RABBIT): RUN RABBIT is Paterson’s debut narrative short film, after her documentary feature FINDING MERCY premiered at IDFA in 2012 and was awarded Best Cinematography and Best Emerging Filmmaker at 2013’s DocEdge Film Festival in 2013. Her second documentary feature is IN THE ZONE.

Michelle Savill (BATS): Saville’s ELLEN IS LEAVING won Best Narrative Short Film Award at 2013’s SXSW Film Festival. She has directed content for Vice, Catalogue Magazine & Nike and also works as a commercials director for Goodoil Films.

Curtis Taylor (YULUBIDYI – UNTIL THE END): Growing up in remote Martu desert communities and in the city, Taylor has both traditional Martu knowledge and a non-Aboriginal education. In 2008 he worked on YIWARRA KUJU: THE CANNING STOCK ROUTE and was the recipient of the 2011 Western Australian Youth Art Award and Wesfarmers Youth Scholarship. His screen work, including the short MAMU, has been shown in international film festivals from Brazil to Nepal and he was Director’s Attachment on the Emmy Award-winning VR documentary COLLISIONS.

Nathan Mewett (YULUBIDYI – UNTIL THE END): Mewett, who grew up in remote gold mine Telfer in the Great Western Desert, is currently completing his Masters of Screen at the Australian Film TV & Radio School (AFTRS). He co-directed YULUBIDYI – UNTIL THE END with Curtis Taylor, while his previous short, SOL BUNKER, won several awards and is a proof of concept for a feature film of the same name.

Takumi Kawakami (PAPER CRANE): Kawakami graduated from Swinburne University of Technology in 2017 with a Bachelor of Film & TV. His graduate short film, PAPER CRANE, was awarded Best Script, Performance Direction, and Creative Excellence in Film by the university.

Gabriel Hutchings (PERISHER): Hutchings’ work includes documentary short THE DAYS PASS QUIETLY and his Victorian College of the Arts graduate film THE PERISHER which won the Panavision Australia Overall Best Production Script Award and the BFA Best Production Script Award: Orloff Family Charitable Trust Scholarship. His films have been exhibited at festivals including Palm Springs International Film Festival, Chicago International Film Festival and Atlanta Film Festival.

Kerinne Jenkins (CATTLE): Jenkins is a graduate of the Australian Film TV & Radio School (AFTRS), where she made the 20-minute proof of concept CATTLE and binaural thriller podcast series PRECIPICE which was presented at Radio Days Vienna in 2018. She is developing multi-platform science fiction series THE DIVIDE as well as her first feature CLONE with producer Taylor Litton Strain, which was conceived during her time at Accelerator Lab.

Leticia Cáceres (THE TRUE HISTORY OF BILLIE THE KID): Filmmaker and stage director Cáceres’ first short, WILD, won the London Film Awards’ Golden Lion Best First Time Director Award and the Student Film Award at Melbourne’s Women in Film Festival. Her stage work has received Helpmann, Green Room and Sydney Theatre Awards and she was supported by Screen Australia’s Gender Matters/Brilliant Careers to shoot her first TV pilot.

Lucy Knox (AN ACT OF LOVE): Knox’s Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) Masters graduate film AN ACT OF LOVE won Best Direction in a Student Film at 2018’s Australian Directors’ Guild Awards. Her films have screened at festivals including Sheffield DocFest, Palm Springs International ShortFest and Cork Film Festival.

Astrid Dominguez Ortega (WE VANISH): Originally from Mexico, Ortega started her career directing TV commercials and in 2018 graduated with a Masters in Film and TV from the Victorian College of the Arts. Her graduate short film WE VANISH was selected for a number of international film festivals including MIFF, where she won the 2018 Australian Emerging Filmmaker award.


2018 Accelerator Express Directors:
Directors selected by CreateNSW’s Generator Emerging Filmmakers Fund (Queer Edition)

Fadia Abboud is a graduate of the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) Bachelor of Communications in Media Arts and Production whose interests centre around the stories and experiences of Arab Australians. Abboud worked at the Information & Cultural Exchange for many years facilitating digital storytelling workshops for diverse communities in Western Sydney and has created video works for Sydney Festival productions Disco Dome and East London West Sydney.

Stef Smith was a recipient of the Create NSW Generator: Emerging Filmmaker’s Fund for her short film JOY BOY and also directed and produced ABC iView sketch comedy series THE LOST TAPES funded by the Fresh Blood initiative of ABC and Screen Australia. In 2018 Smith was funded by Create NSW #SheDirects initiative for her television project FISH which was also shortlisted for Sundance New Voices Lab 2019.


Directors selected by New Zealand Film Commission’s Vai Pasifika Female Filmmaker and Women’s Horror Film Fund initiatives

Marina Alofagia McCartney is part-Samoan and holds a Masters of Arts in Screen Production and is a teaching fellow in Pacific Studies at Auckland University. Her films have been selected for Palm Springs ShortFest, the NZ International Film Festival, imagineNATIVE & Hawai’i International Film Festival and she was one of nine writer/directors on 2019 portmanteau feature film VAI, which was selected for Berlin, SXSW, Māoriland Film Festival.

Hweiling Ow is the co-creator of 2016’s online horror anthology web-series Ao-terror-oa (co-funded by Youtube and NZ On Air) and also directed short film The Tattooist which, had more than 16 million views for online horror channel CryptTV, and the short film Vaspy.

Hash Perambalam won a Moa at the New Zealand Film Awards for Best Self-Funded Short Film with her first student short film Not Like Her which screened at 2015’s New Zealand International Film Festival in 2015.


Director selected by ScreenWest’s West Coast Visions:

Jub Clerc is a Nyul Nyul/Yawuru woman who has worked, in various crew capacities, on The Circuit, Bran Nue Dae, Mad Bastards, Satellite Boy, Jandamarra’s War and Jasper Jones. She has written/directed short films including a chapter of the MIFF Premiere Fund-supported The Turning. For NITV, Cleric reported/produced her own segments for Around the Traps and hosted Mugu Kids. Her first play The Fever and the Fret won the Kate Challis (RAKA) Award in 2017 – the same year that she spent five months as a director’s attachment on ABC-TV series Mystery Road. Clerc’s feature film script Sweet As has secured production funding from ScreenWest’s West Coast Visions and the MIFF Premiere Fund and will be produced with Melbourne’s Arena Media.


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

Dylan Coleman is a Kokatha/Greek woman with a PhD in Creative Writing who, with her brother Staurme Glastonbury, is adapting her award-winning novels into screenplays. Their short drama Spin Out won prizes at 2017’s South Australian Screen Awards and 2018’s Fleurieu Film Festival and, in 2017, she was a director’s attachment on SBS/NITV series Grace Beside Me.

Natasha Wanganeen is a Kaurna Narranga Ngarrindjeri Nyoongar woman with a long track record as an actor of the stage and screen (Rabbit Proof Fence, Cargo).