Accelerator Lab 2021 Participants

Accelerator Classic
Participants with films at MIFF 2021

Brietta Hague (BALTASAR): Brietta Hague is a narrative filmmaker and a journalist specialising in international current affairs. She was a foreign correspondent based in Europe and has directed TV and radio documentaries from around the world. Brietta’s debut drama Baltasar premiered at the 69th edition of MIFF where it won the Film Victoria Erwin Rado award for Best Australian Short Film. In 2017 she received the ADG Metroscreen film fellowship which enabled her to make a short film in Cuba under the guidance of Werner Herzog. She is currently in development on a feature film and continues to contribute work to ABC TV’s Foreign Correspondent.

Cloudy Rhodes (BEAUTIFUL THEY): Cloudy Rhodes is a non-binary award-winning director and DoP who has directed music videos, short films, and TVCs, worked with brands such as Levis, Louis Vuitton and Calvin Klein, and shot editorials for Vogue, i-D and Russh. Their semi-autobiographical debut short film Lo Loves You premiered on i-D, and was picked up by Arcadia Films to accompany the national theatrical release of Sundance Audience Award winner, First Girl I Loved, and their short Deluge premiered at Sydney Film Festival in 2019. In 2021 their short film Beautiful They premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, going on to screen at other festivals, including Outfest Los Angeles and the Melbourne International Film Festival. Beautiful They was nominated for the 2021 AACTA award for Best Short Form Drama, won Best Film at the My Queer Career Mardi Gras Film Festival, and was awarded the Australian Director’s Guild Award for Best Short Film.

Domini Marshall (SLAP): Domini Marshall is a writer/director whose work explores gender, social norms and the experiences of women. Her latest film, GO WITH GRACE, premiered at the 2022 Melbourne International Film Festival in the Australian Shorts program, following SLAP, which premiered at the 2021 Melbourne International Film Festival in the Accelerator Program. In 2021, her screenplay I’M YOURS was awarded the VCA FTV Docklands Award for Best Narrative Script, and from 2017 – 2019, she directed HER WORDS – an interview-based web series which released 50 episodes and received over 220,000 views. HER WORDS was awarded TOM Organic’s inaugural Female Empowerment Grant in 2017.

James Hunter (NEST): James Hunter is an award-winning director with a background in short films, music videos and commercials. His short films include ‘Tinman’ (Brisbane International Film Festival) and ‘The Archive’ (Best Film, Best Director, Lights! Canberra! Action!). His other works include ‘Struggle’ (National Youth Winner, Canberra Short Film Festival) and ‘School Daze’ (Best Film, Reelife Short Film Festival).

Jaslyn Mairs (SUNBURN): A graduate of the Australian Film Television Radio School (AFTRS), Sydney-based Mairs has worked across short films, music videos, and web series. Sunburn has also screened at CinefestOZ, Brisbane International Film Festival, Flickerfest, and Gold Coast Film Festival.

Jasmin Tarasin (THE STORY OF LEE PING): Jasmin Tarasin is an award-winning filmmaker and artist who has directed documentaries, short films, commercials and video art installations.

Jordan Giusti (REPTILE): Jordan Giusti is a director based in Naarm (Melbourne), Australia. He directed GREVILLEA, a short film which premiered at Berlinale 2020 and was nominated for a Crystal Bear as part of the festival’s Generation 14 plus Competition. Giusti has since directed four short films, including REPTILE, which won MIFF’s Emerging Australian Filmmaker Award in 2021. Additionally, Giusti was a producer on the short film THREE STORIES INSIDE A RENTAL VAN, alongside Kate Laurie, which premiered at Clermont-Ferrand Film Festival in 2019. Giusti is currently in development on a number of long form projects including cli-fi feature film HUNDREDS AND THOUSANDS and feature documentary AFTER THE FLOOD which will focus on the historic 2022 Lismore floods.

Kauthar Abdulalim (THE NINTH TOWER): Kauthar Abdulalim has studied documentary filmmaking, Islamic Studies and is currently pursuing her Masters in Arts Management. She has worked on documentary projects for the ABC and SBS as an Impact Producer and Production Manager. She is the founder of an independent production company, Blacksand Pictures, and has been a recipient of various internships, scholarships and funding from both state and federal screen agencies, including Screen Australia production funding for her comedy web-series #MATCHED2 and Salma’s Season.

Kieran Wheeler (JUNGLE): Kieran Wheeler has worked in the Australian film industry for over ten years, including several years in lighting and camera departments. Now focusing solely on his passion for writing and directing, he has made several short films which have played at festivals all around the world. He is currently developing his debut feature.

Lianne Mackessy (NOT A WALLFLOWER): A Sydney-based writer, director and actor, Mackessy has been involved with Bus Stop Films since 2018 working closely with Bus Stop’s filmmaking students as a tutor and writer/director to co-create inclusively-made films. As an actor, she has appeared in numerous Australian TV series, commercials, shorts and independent features.

Lillian Paterson (CALL HISTORY): Lillian Paterson is a writer, director and video artist. Her short narrative film, CALL HISTORY, screened at festivals around Australia. In 2018, she made the short documentary, LIVES IN ACTION, alongside Hawanatu Bangura. This was part of her work with Bus Stop Films, an organisation that provides film workshops for adults with intellectual disabilities. Paterson is currently a freelance writer on historical documentaries and has worked as an assistant director, researcher and director’s assistant on films and TVCs. She is also developing a queer romance drama set in 19th century Australia.

Madeleine Gottlieb (LAURA): In 2018, Gottlieb directed, wrote and produced short film Snare which world premiered at 2019’s South by SouthWest (SxSW). In 2019, she was director attachment on Leah Purcell’s The Drovers Wife and made her third short film, Laura (MIFF 2020). Her fourth short film, 2020’s You and Me, stared Yael Stone and Emily Barclay.

Mariella S. Solano (ALBA): An Australian-Peruvian filmmaker who graduated from the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) with a Bachelor of Arts in Screen Production. Mariella’s writing and directorial debut short film Alba had its Australian premiere at the 2021 Melbourne International Film Festival. Alba has won Mariella the Rebel8 Outstanding Emerging Female Director In Honour of Samantha Rebillet at Flickerfest 2022, and a nomination from the Australian Director’s Guild. The film was also screened at Sydney Film Festival 2021 and Evolution Mallorca Film Festival in Spain.

Michael Beets (NEZUNOBAN): Michael Beets is an award winning director, whose virtual reality projects, music videos, and films have been screened at festivals around the world including Venice, Cannes, Busan, Toronto, and the Melbourne International Film Festival. His three projects at MIFF 2021 are Artefacts (Interactive VR), Nezunoban (Short Film), and Those Left Waiting (Live Film Experience).

Michael Gupta (THE ECHO): Michael Gupta is an Australian-Indian screenwriter and director. Gupta studied screenwriting at the Australian Film TV & Radio School (AFTRS) and was a participant in Screen Australia’s Talent Camp. His most recent short film, THE ECHO, had its world premiere at the 66th Oberhausen International Short Film Festival 2020, followed by its selection for the Accelerator Shorts program at the 69th Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) 2021. Gupta is currently developing his debut feature.

Petra Leslie (SUNSET COUNTRY): Petra Leslie is a cinematographer based out of Melbourne and Sydney. She holds a Masters of Cinematography from the Australian Film TV & Radio School (AFTRS). Her first short film Sleeping is Difficult premiered at the Human Rights Film Festival in 2020. Her second short film Sunset Country premiered at MIFF as part of the 2021 Accelerator program. In 2021, Petra signed on to Glendyn Ivin’s Lost Flowers of Alice Hart as second unit DoP. Petra is currently the satellite unit DoP for her second Made Up Stories production.

Taylor Ferguson (TOUGH): Taylor Ferguson has worked extensively as an actor in theatre, television and film. Tough is her first short film. She was awarded Best Director at the Sydney Film Festival in 2021 as well as Best Director at Flickerfest International Film Festival 2022. Taylor will direct her first episode of television this year and is currently developing her feature film.

Terry Hou (RIDING SCOOTERS): A Chinese Australian filmmaker who grew-up between China, Nepal, Malaysia and Australia, Hou has made theatre, commercials and short films, as well as working as a creative producer in Beijing and a talent handler for Legendary East, 20th Century Fox and Paramount. He has a MFA in directing from the American Film Institute.

Tom Campbell (THE BENDS): Having spent many years assisting and being closely mentored by Garth Davis, Campbell directed Splinter Unit on Davis’ multiple award-winning LION (2016) and has since moved between music videos, documentaries and commercials while developing his own slate of narrative film projects.

Victoria Singh-Thompson (DON’T FORGET TO GO HOME): A Sundance Ignite finalist, Singh-Thompson short films have played at festivals around the world and won numerous awards.


2021 Accelerator Express Directors

Directors selected by the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC) Film Lab: New Voices initiative:

Madeleine Parry: A SAFC Lottie Lyell Award-winner, Parry directed Emmy-winning Hannah Gadsby: Nanette for Netflix having earlier appeared in award-winning documentaries Murder Mouth, in which she killed her own food for the first time, Meatwork and series Maddie Parry: Tough Jobs.

Matt Veseley: Matt Vesely is a writer and director from South Australia. He works as a developer and writer with award-winning collective Closer Productions. His latest short, the sci-fi comedy SYSTEM ERROR, was selected for Tribeca Film Festival. He is currently in production on his debut feature, the science fiction thriller MONOLITH. He is represented by HLA Management.

Peter Ninos: Peter Ninos is a writer/director from Adelaide. He has worked as Director’s Attachment to Ana Kokkinos on The Hunting, and as an assistant director on Mortal Kombat. His short films and web-series have amassed over three million views online, including The Big Nothing on which he served as director, producer and editor. Peter is working on his feature film debut representing both the LGBTQI+ community and his Greek/Australian heritage.

Directors selected by Film Victoria’s Originate initiative:

Katie Found: A 2020 Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) Screenwriting Masters graduate, Found’s debut feature My First Summer, screened at Adelaide Film Festival, BFI Flare, Santa Barbara, Inside Out, Melbourne Queer Film Festival and Queer Screen’s Mardi Gras Film Festival before streaming on STAN.

Logan Mucha: A repeat winner of the Human Rights Film Festival’s Best Australian Short award, Mucha’s feature documentary East Bloc Love launched Amnesty International’s Pride Fund at the Hague. In 2021, he co-created, wrote and directed vertical drama series Scattered for TikTok.


Directors selected via Create NSW initiatives: Screenability; Charlie’s Talent Escalator Lab; and Unreal Engine

Anthea Williams: An award-winning theatre director and Churchill Fellow, Williams was Associate Director (New Work) Sydney’s Belvoir where she developed the original productions of Babyteeth and The Drover’s Wife. Her short film Safety Net featured at Sydney Film Festival, Slamdance and Whānau Mārama New Zealand International Film Festival.

Julie Kalceff: Best known for writing, directing and co-producing TV series First Day, Australia’s first series starring a transgender actor in the lead role that sold to Hulu (US) and CBBC (UK) and a Rose d’Or and a GLAAD Media Award, Kalceff was one of five directors on anthology feature film Here Out West. She is also the writer, director and producer of online series Starting From Now, which, with more than 170 million views, is one of the world’s most watched web series.

Rebecca O’Brien: An ACCTA-nominated TV Director who has directed and produced award-winning projects for ABC-TV, NITV and Netflix (The Unlisted), O’Brien has also directed award-winning shorts The Great Dark and Do Not Disturb, which featured in festivals such as Palm Springs, Montreal and Creteil International Women’s Film Festival, and is completing the Screen NSW and Unreal Engine funded short film The Gathering.