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 film, documentary and video art, Mars’ work has been screened and awarded around the world. Mars was a 2016 Women’s International Film and Television Society (WIFTS) honoree for her work with Maya Newell on feature documentary GAYBY BABY, and worked in scripted development at Universal-owned Matchbox Pictures.

Chelsie Preston Crayford (Ngāti Kahungunu ō Wairoa) (FALLING UP): Actor, writer, director Preston Crayford has won numerous international 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).

Claire van Beek (DANIEL): Auckland-based actor-director van Beek is a graduate of Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School who began writing and directing for theatre and was named a “NZ Young Playwright of the Year” before moving into film. Having crewed on LEAVE NO TRACE, the latest film from Debra Granik (WINTER’S BONE), van Beek directed DANIEL which is edited by Oscar-winner John Gilbert (LORD OF THE RINGS, HACKSAW RIDGE).

Dannika Horvat (TRIPLE SWEAR): Melbourne-based writer-director Horvat’s 2014 Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) graduate short film THE SUMMER OF ABC BURNS won the Audience Choice Award at 2015’s St Kilda Film Festival and Best Director at 2016’s Melbourne Queer Film Festival. She also works as a photographer and TVC director.

Jamieson Pearce (STRANGERS): In his work as writer and director, Pearce explores the stranger manifestations of human desire. He was a Director’s Attachment to show runner Peter Duncan on ABC-TV series RAKE and his award-winning short film ADULT premiered at 2017’s South by Southwest (SXSW).

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.

Kimia Hendi (PASSAGE): An independent filmmaker originally from Iran, Hendi studied a Bachelor of Cinema, specialized 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 four short films and a feature documentary.

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 grew-up immersed in the film industry, travelling with documentary-filmmaker parents and winning her first award at 10 years of age for a film about human rights. She has since won a 2010 Queensland New Filmmaker Award for short film HER NAME WAS NATASHA and won St Kilda Film Festival 2015’s Best Youth Film for short film OFF TRACK. Lara freelances as an Assistant Director on feature films and as a Director of music videos, short form and factual content.

Seamus Murphy (HENRY NEEDS A NEW HOME): Melbourne-based writer-director Murphy’s previous short film, REUNION, won Best Victorian Short at Monster Fest 2017. Murphy has also worked as an editor and camera operator for TV and music videos.


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: Māori man Worrall is a screenwriter, director and artist based in Rotorua where he is a member of the Steambox Films collective. He has a BFA from Elam and an MA from the International Institute of Modern Letters, and is writing the TVNZ documentary series Origins which explores the oral and scientific history of Māori.


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 Steele is a film and commercial director based in New South Wales. He recently directed the short film Between Two Lines, which premiered at the 2019 Sydney Film Festival.

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 wrote and directed Bonita Mabo – For Who I am. Her short film My Colour Your Kind was nominated for AFI and Film Critics Award and screened at numerous festivals. She won AFI Award for Best Screenplay for her short drama Queen of Hearts.  MacLean’s documentary Blown Away, was nominated for an Australian Directors Guild Award. She wrote, produced and directed Carry The Flag, a half hour documentary about the legacy of the Torres Strait Islander flag.

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 has broad experience in production with editing, writing, directing and producing credits including Ella, Shadow Trackers and Grace Beside Me. Curtis has also worked at National Indigenous Television and ABC-TV. In 2015, Curtis established her production company Inkey Media.


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. The film was funded and developed through Screen Australia Indigenous Dept, Film Victoria and ABC “Short Blacks” initiative.

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.