Accelerator Lab 2019 Participants

Accelerator Classic
Participants with films at MIFF 2019

Anoop Lokkur (LONG DISTANCE):  Lokkur is a Melbourne-based filmmaker. Upon completing his foundations course at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA), he co-founded creative agency Lokk and Weave and has since completed two short films.

Chantelle Murray (MY NAME IS MUDJU): A Bardi woman, Murray started as a performer in Queensland before moving on to writing and then directing and creating her own content with a focus on Aboriginal history. Outside of her own work, she has been mentored by directors Phillip Noyce and Daniel Nettheim.

Charlotte Mars (GIRL AND BODY): An Australian filmmaker working across fiction and non-fiction, Mars’ work has been screened and awarded around the world. Mars was a winner of the 2020 AISF Directing Scholarship, the 2019 SheDoc fellowship, and was a 2016 Women’s International Film and Television Society (WIFTS) honoree. They previously worked in scripted television development at Universal-owned Matchbox Pictures. Their most recent film GIRL AND BODY was selected In Competition at the Berlin International Film Festival 2020, won Best Film at Oakland Film Festival 2021, and played at others around the world.

Chelsie Preston Crayford (FALLING UP): Actor, writer, director Preston Crayford has won numerous awards including a TV Week Logie and an Australian Academy of Cinema & TV Award (AACTA). FALLING UP won the Jury Prize at 2018’s New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF). Chelsie has made three short films that have all travelled to festivals around the globe, as well as directed on NZ comedy GOLDEN BOY. She is currently developing a feature entitled CATERPILLAR, and a series entitled WALL.

Claire van Beek (DANIEL): Claire van Beek is an emerging filmmaker from New Zealand who has a strong focus on female-centric stories. In 2018 van Beek travelled to Oregon to work with Debra Granik (WINTER’S BONE) on Granik’s latest film LEAVE NO TRACE. She is currently assistant to Jane Campion on THE POWER OF THE DOG. DANIEL is van Beek’s debut short film, and is edited by Oscar-winner John Gilbert (LORD OF THE RINGS, HACKSAW RIDGE).

Dannika Horvat (TRIPLE SWEAR): Horvat is a writer-director from Melbourne who is drawn to telling stories driven by young women. Horvat was nominated for a 2020 AWGIE award for her short film TRIPLE SWEAR. The short was a proof of concept for her debut feature film HOME GAME, set to begin production in 2023. Horvat is also developing her original half hour drama/comedy series NO ONE TELLS YOU, with Amanda Higgs. Most recently, Horvat has written two episodes of a YA series for the ABC and Matchbox Pictures, set to begin production in 2022.

Jamieson Pearce (STRANGERS): Pearce explores the stranger manifestations of human desire. His short films have played at over 50 festivals around the world. Most notably, ADULT, which he adapted from a Christos Tsiolkas short story, was selected by South by SouthWest. He is working with Aurora Films to develop his first feature, an adaptation of the French queer novella, FOU DE VINCENT. He is also developing a mini-series with Mad Ones Films about queer bushranger Captain Moonlite through Screen Australia’s ‘Untapped’ program.

Jeremiah Tauamiti (LILIU): A New Zealand-Samoan writer-director, Tauamiti’s debut short LILIU world premiered at 2019’s Berlinale, together with his debut feature documentary FOR MY FATHER’S KINGDOM, which won a Special Jury Award at its North American Premiere at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. He also directed multi award winning shorts MARIA, which was named most popular film at 2017’s US PBS online film festival and AHOEITU, which won the Breakthrough Award at 2016’s Sydney Pasifika Film Festival. LILIU was recently officially selected for Tribeca, and has gone on to win multiple best film and best director awards around the world.

Kimia Hendi (PASSAGE): An independent filmmaker originally from Iran, Hendi studied a Bachelor of Cinema, specialised in Cinematography, at Tehran’s University of Art. Having then completed her Masters of Film & TV at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA), she has, since 2015, made five short films and a feature documentary (ADAM AND EVES). Currently, she is attending a short course in Belgium to expand her knowledge on European filmmaking.

Matthew Smolen Melbourne-based writer-director Smolen directs commercials and music videos, having previously written and directed web-series CHRIS & JOSH which won Best Web Video at 2014’s London Film Awards, Best Writing at 2014’s NYC WebFest, Best Ensemble Comedy at 2013’s LAWebest and Melbourne’s Best at 2013’s Melbourne WebFest.

Paddy Hay (CUCKOO ROLLER): Working between narrative and experimental modes of cinema, Hay is a member of independent filmmaking collective Dogmilk Films and Melbourne’s Artist Film Workshop (AFW). His films have been presented at major international film institutions, including the Austrian Film Museum and the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI). He also joined the editorial team on Rick Charnoski’s low-budget feature WARM BLOOD.

Sam Lara (FEATHERWEIGHT): Lara has been directing short films, music videos and factual content for the past 10 years. Her directing work has been nominated at Sydney Film Festival, St Kilda Film Festival, Flickerfest International Film Festival, Cambridge Film Festival, Byron Bay Film Festival and Melbourne International Film Festival. Her first feature documentary LAURA’S CHOICE won the Innovation in Documentary Award at the WA Screen Culture awards in 2020 and aired on the ABC as a two part series in 2021. She currently serves as the West Australian chapter head of the Australian Director’s Guild.

Seamus Murphy (HENRY NEEDS A NEW HOME): Melbourne-based writer-director Murphy’s first short film, REUNION, won Best Victorian Short at Monster Fest 2017. His second short film, HENRY NEEDS A NEW HOME, screened at MIFF 2019, FLICKERFEST 2020 and numerous international festivals. Murphy has also worked extensively as an editor and camera operator for TV.


2019 Accelerator Express Directors
Directors selected by Screenwest’s Elevate 70 initiative:

Miley TunnecliffeWriter, director Tunnecliffe won FLICKERFEST’s Outstanding Female Director Award 2019 for her comedy Calling, which also won Best International Film at Austin Short Comedy Festival. She has written for TV, including The Heights and 100% Wolf. She has series in development with US company Dynamic TV, and is creator, co-writer and director of SBS-TV’s new comedy series Molly and Cara. In 2019 Tunnecliffe won Screenwest’s Elevate $70,000 short film fund.

Danni Booth: Booth is a commercial photographer, producer, director, writer and a proud Indigenous woman. She has worked in the commercial advertising industry for more than 23 years, and has filmed a documentary on her Indigenous grandmother and aunts.

Jacqueline PelczarPelczar began by directing music videos, which have been featured on MTV, RAGE and in nationwide festivals, and in 2017 collaborated with international multi-disciplinary performance artist, Sarah Nelson, supported by The Blue Room Theatre, resulting in a short film. She has written and directed four of her own short films, including Hush which was officially selected for CinefestOz Festival.  Pelczar also directed two episodes of the Screenwest and Screen Australia webseries Single Ladies.

Tina Fielding: In 2018, Fielding began to work with Jacqueline Pelczar as a mentor to develop a short screenplay, Sparkles, which was a Screenwest funded Elevate 70 project with Fielding as writer and co-producer. Fielding identifies as living with disability and has Down syndrome.


Directors selected by the New Zealand Film Commission – Ngā Pouwhenua Joint Indigenous Initiative:

Chantelle Burgoyne: Burgoyne is a NZ-based filmmaker of Samoan and European heritage, who has a Masters degree in Screen Production from the University of Auckland specialising in directing drama. Her short film Tatau screened at festivals in NZ and internationally, winning Best Student Short Film at CineQuest Film Festival. She is one of the directors of the NZFC and Screen Australia Ngā Powhenua/Cook 2020 indigenous portmanteau film initiative, and also directed Sista and Ocean.

Mario Gaoa: Auckland-based Mario Gaoa is an actor, writer and director. He co-wrote the animated series Bro’Town and voiced several of the show’s characters. He wrote the screenplay for short film A Day in the Life, and has directed for magazine shows Tagata Pasifika and Mai Time.

Miki MagasivaMagasiva has spent over 20 years dedicated to film and television. Beginning in Wellington, studying film & TV, Magasiva directed his first project in 2003, a set of award-winning commercials. A Samoan New Zealander, Magasiva has spent more than 15 years directing short films, music videos, TV and commercials.

Richard CurtisCurtis (Te Arawa) has more than 30 years’ experience in the screen industry primarily as a Camera Operator and Cinematographer. Ahi Kā, written and directed by Curtis, won the Best Short Film award at the Hawaii International Film Festival 2015. Short film Are Marumaru screened at Imaginative Film Festival 2018. He also has a Bachelor of Communication Studies from Auckland University of Technology 1999. He is the creator and director of the popular series Hunting Aotearoa now in its 15th season screening around the world.

Tim Worrall: In 2007, Worrall (Ngai Tūhoe) completed an MA in Scriptwriting. He has worked as a writer or director on a number of productions including: PUKANA; SHORTLAND STREET; RADIRADIRAH; KAIRAKAU; ONLY IN AOTEAROA; THIS IS PIKI; and FRESH. His short films include: THE ROAD TO WHAKARAE; TITS ON A BULL; MEKE; KOUTUKU RERENGA RUA; and MĀORI TIME. Currently he is: a lead-writer, lead-director for drama series HEAD HIGH; writer of feature film WHAWHAI TONU; co-writer/director on anthology feature NGĀ POUWHENUA; writer of documentary series ORIGINS; storyliner and director on action-drama VEGAS; and writer and director of supernatural drama episode TAPPY.


Directors selected by Create NSW’s Short Black and Generator Initiatives:

Hunter Page-LochardPage-Lochard, a dancer and actor who featured in such productions as Bran Nue Dae, Cleverman and The Sapphires, has moved into directing with his debut short film Djali which was self-funded and seen at four national film festivals including Sydney Film Festival. He co-wrote and directed the short film Closed Doors with Carter Simpkin.

Joshua Longhurst: Born and raised in rural NSW, Longhurst is now a Sydney based filmmaker and graduate of Australian Film Television and Radio School. He was awarded the Emerging Filmmaker Award for Best Australian Short Queer Film at the Melbourne Queer Film Festival for his short film Oasis. He also directed and co-produced the short Cherry Season, which won the Jury award for Best Screenplay at the Melbourne Queer Film Festival.

Carter Simpkin: Coming from an eclectic background of entertainment experience, Simpkin and Hunter Page-Lochard have formed a creative partnership, co-directing the short film Closed Doors (2019) for Create NSW and Screen Australia.

Jack SteeleWiradjuri man, Jack Steele, is a film and television director based in New South Wales. His short film, BETWEEN TWO LINES, premiered at the 2019 Sydney Film Festival and later went on to official selection at the ImagineNative Film + Media Arts Festival in Canada. He has also recently directed two episodes of the AACTA nominated TV series DRUNK HISTORY: AUSTRALIA. Jack is currently in production on an investigative documentary series tackling racial injustice in Australia.

Sara West: West is an actor and screen content creator who won the Best Emerging Filmmaker Award at 2014’s South Australia Screen Awards for her short film River Water. She wrote and directed the short films Mutt and Disco Dykes (which aired on SBS-TV).


Directors selected by Screen Australia – Cook 2020: Our Right of Reply Initiative:

Danielle MacLeanMacLean is a writer, producer and director who is passionate about sharing Indigenous stories across drama, documentary and animation. She has written on television series REDFERN NOW, comedy series 8MMM ABORIGINAL RADIO, GRACE BESIDE ME, LITTLE J AND BIG CUZ, MYSTERY ROAD and TRUE COLOURS. MacLean’s directing credits include short films MY COLOUR YOUR KIND, QUEEN OF HEARTS and documentaries CARRY THE FLAG and BLOWN AWAY. She produced LOOKY LOOKY HERE COMES COOKY and new children’s television drama series BARRUMBI KIDS.

Samuel Paynter: Paynter is an emerging Indigenous writer/director originally from Alice Springs but now based in Melbourne. He has written for the children’s TV shows Little J & Big Cuz and Neomads. Paynter was selected alongside fellow territorian filmmaker Beck Cole to take part in the Screen Australia and New Zealand Film Commission joint venture Cook 2020: Our Right to Reply. He will be serving as writer and will undertake a director’s attachment.

Dena Curtis: Curtis is a writer, director and producer. Throughout her career, Curtis also worked at National Indigenous Television, and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. In 2015 Curtis established her production company Inkey Media. Passionate about Indigenous, LGBT+ and female stories, Curtis’s directing credits include short films HUSH, JACOB and NAN AND A WHOLE LOT OF TROUBLE; comedy series 8MMM ABORIGINAL RADIO; documentary series BACK TO NATURE, SHADOW TRACKERS and COLOUR THEORY UNDERGROUND; and children’s series, THALU. Her producing credits include Logie nominated Children’s Television Series, GRACE BESIDE ME, short films WALTERS GHOST and SHED and documentaries ELLA, SHADOW TRACKERS and BELONGING.


Director Selected by Film Victoria’s Pitch Black, SBS Shorts and Love Bites Initiatives:

Michael HudsonWriter/director Hudson is a Bangarang and Yorta Yorta man from northeast Victoria. His short film Ties That Bind won the Short Screenplay Award at Sydney Film Festival 2019 and received Best Director and Best Indigenous Film nominations at CinefestOz 2020. Hudson has produced and directed docu-web series for major broadcasters and is currently in development on his Indigenous horror/fantasy series, Summer of Evil.

Fatima MawasBorn and raised in Sydney’s western suburb of Lakemba. Mawas is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts and Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS), and has written and directed a short film, commissioned by SBS and Film Victoria, titled Amar.

Emmett Aldred: Aldred’s directorial practice ardently celebrates and critiques notions of gender. His work utilises resourceful filmmaking styles with an aim to liberate filmmaking from socio-economic restraints, and in doing so, make space for a greater diversity of voices on screen. His credits include the short documentary Desperately Seeking Shavers, which aired on ABC iView. Aldred’s passion for film curation also emerged as his public gender transition presented barriers in the industry. Embracing radical filmmaking academia and adjacent techniques became a necessary path to generate and platform work that mitigates hierarchies within screen industries.