Accelerator Lab 2022 Participants

Accelerator Classic
Participants with films at MIFF 2022

Alies Sluiter (MYTH): Alies recently directed an episode of Aftertaste, for ABC Australia and Closer Productions. Her feature film, was one of three projects selected for the 2022 SAFC Film Lab: New Voices initiative. Her 2023 Academy Award® qualified short film Ayaan, has played at festivals worldwide and won 20+ awards, including Best Director of a Student Film from the Australian Directors Guild, a National Board of Review Motion Pictures Award (USA among many others.

Alisha Hnatjuk (MIRA’S DAUGHTER): Alisha Hnatjuk was awarded Outstanding Emerging Female Director at Flickerfest 2021 for her short film ‘Jean’. The film also screened at HollyShorts, Palm Springs ShortFest, and was nominated for Best Direction in a Short Film at the ADG Awards in 2021. She is currently writing on s4 of Five Bedrooms (Paramount+, Hoodlum).

Bala Murali Shingrade (PERIANAYAKI): Since graduating from the University of Auckland in 2018 with an MA in Screen Production, Bala Murali Shingade has been working as a writer, director and actor for screen and theatre. In 2019, he wrote and directed 800 Lunches, a short film commissioned by the Outlook for Someday. Perianayaki is Bala’s second funded short film. In 2020, Bala was one of six recipients of the Arts Foundation’s Springboard award, which recognises and supports emerging artists with outstanding potential.

Bonnie Moir (NOT DARK YET): Bonnie Moir is a Melbourne based director, working internationally across drama, commercials and documentary. In 2021 Bonnie completed production on the short film Not Dark Yet, starring Richard Moir (Round The Twist) and Nick Denton (Dangerous Liaisons). Bonnie’s 2019 short film, We’re Not Here, was shot in rural Mexico and executive produced by John Logan (Skyfall, Gladiator). The film premiered at MIFF. In 2022 Bonnie directed second unit on Garth Davis’ Foe, starring Saoirse Ronan and Paul Mescal.

Chloe de Brito (PINK REEF): Chloe de Brito is an ADG-award winning director. Their short, Pink Reef, premiered at the 70th MIFF and has exhibited at the Powerhouse Museum and the BFI Southbank in London as part of the ‘You Beauties: New Australian Cinema’ programme. Pink Reef has screened at Fantastic Fest, Morbido Fest and Fantaspoa Fantastic Film Festival. Chloe is an alumni of the MIFF Accelerator Lab, the Adelaide Film Festival Expand Lab and the Playlab Films 2023 Creators Lab in Mexico, where she directed a short film under the tutelage of Apichatpong Weerathesakul.


Ella Lawry (WE NEVER ASKED FOR THIS): A 2021 graduate of the VCA’s Master of Film and Television, she’s one part of comedy trio Big Big Big, who created live show Catching Jack and Australian Podcast Award nominated series The Candyman. They currently have a web series in development, funded by Screen Australia and produced by Haven’t You Done Well. Recent performance credits include backing vocals for Robbie Williams and productions with Melbourne Shakespeare Company.

Jayden Rathsam Hua (SUSHI NOH): Jayden Rathsam Hua is a multi-award winning Asian Australian writer and director who graduated with a Masters in Producing from AFTRS. He is recognised for his work in documentary (The Key of B, The Caretakers), and short films (Come to Northwood, Survey). His most recent short horror film, SUSHI NOH, has played at 12 international film festivals, including Palm Springs International Shorts Fest and premiering domestically at the Sydney Film Festival. He is currently developing his debut feature, MATRIARCH.

Kalani Gacon (THE SOUND OF DREAMING): Kalani Gacon is an emerging filmmaker from the beautiful small, misty town of Katoomba, Australia who tells the stories of disappearing ways of living, people’s dreams, and the frictions of life facing human beings in the changing world. He has worked across 4 continents in search of stories that touch the heart and has spent the past 6 years living and working in Nepal, where he is based. Sapana ko Awaz is his 4th film produced in Nepal.

Kath Akuhata-Brown (WASHDAY): Kath Akuhata-Brown is a filmmaker of Māori descent hailing from New Zealand’s eastern North Island tribe of Ngati Porou. She recently won Best Director at the Wairoa Indigenous Film Festival, her short film Washday won best film at New Zealand International Film Festival 2021 and in 2020 she was awarded the New Zealand Film Commission’s Te Aupounamu award for screenwriting.

Luqman Aly (STERILE): Luqman Aly is filmmaker and screen artist, recently graduated with a Bachelor of Film and Television (Honours) at Swinburne University. He has particular interest in embodied, transcendental film, and the potentialities of pre-interpretative significance, aesthetic arrest, and inarticulable atmospheres.

Maddelin McKenna (PATTERNS OF THE AFTERNOON): Maddelin McKenna is a writer and director from Melbourne, Australia whose work often features complex female-centric relationships set within visually striking worlds. Her focus on executing a visually meaningful and nuanced body of work has led to recognition across international film festivals and media.

Matthew Taylor (A HOUSE): Matthew is an emerging writer and director from Sydney’s Canterbury-Bankstown area. Studying extensively in both film and sound production, Matthew has completed tertiary qualifications including a Certificate III in Sound Production at TAFE, a Diploma of Screen and Media at Metro Screen and a Masters in Directing at the Australian Film Television and Radio School. As a director, Matthew has amassed a significant body of work across a range of short form content including fashion, music video and short film.

Pat Mooney (LIME PARFAIT): Pat Mooney is a writer/director from Melbourne, Australia. His films embrace local, personal stories through a romantic lens. His short films have been screened locally and internationally. In 2021 his short ‘Jeanette is the Dog’ was selected to screen at the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF).

Robin Summons (VICTIM): Robin Summons is a screenwriter and director based in Melbourne, Australia. His short films have won multiple awards and been selected to play at renowned international film festivals such as Clermont-Ferrand. His most recent film Victim, starring Kat Stewart,  won ‘Best Australian Narrative Short Film’ at the Brisbane International Film Festival following its World Premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival where Robin was also selected for the MIFF Accelerator Lab. Robin has recently been nominated for ‘Best Direction In A Short Film’ at the 2023 Australian Director’s Guild Awards.

Tom Furniss (RUSTLING): Tom Furniss is a writer/director of TV in New Zealand, with recent credits including Taskmaster, New Zealand Today, Golden Boy, and Chris Parker: Back to School Stand Up Special. He has formerly been a writer on the comedy shows 7Days and Jono and Ben, as well as an episode of Power Rangers: Beast Morphers. In 2022 production will begin on his first feature film, ‘The Mountain’, to be directed by Rachel House and produced by Taika Waititi’s Piki Films.

William Duan (TUĪ NÁ): William Duan (he/they) is an independent filmmaker from Naarm/Melbourne, Australia.  They are interested in exploring the idea of liminal space through their films, particularly using their own lived experience to tell stories of migrant and queer identities with nuance and humanity.


2022 Accelerator Express Directors
Directors selected by the South Australian Film Corporation’s Film Lab Initiative:

Emma Hobbs: Is a queer artist and film graduate from Flinders University. She’s an emerging production designer, animator and filmmaker. In 2020 she was nominated for both Best Production Design and Best Costume Design at the SA screen awards. As an animator she has collaborated with Madeleine Parry (Dir: Hannah Gadsby’s Nannette) on her upcoming documentary feature The Angels.

Leela Varghese: Is a writer/director with a passion for diverse and quirky comedy. Her short film, Crush, was a 2019 Tropfest finalist where it won 3 awards. Her 2020 short, The Normals was selected for the WIFT V-Fest 2021 where it won Best Editing. She directed Screen Australia funded pilot, Science+ that has over 100,000 views on YouTube. She has also completed her own web series pilot, Furbulous. Leela was the director’s attachment on season two of Foxtel’s Mr Inbetween.


Directors selected by VicScreen’s Originate initiative:

Liam Phillips: Is a writer-director based in Melbourne. Having attended the University of Melbourne, he studied creative writing and cultural studies, with a focus on film and screenwriting. In 2018 he wrote and directed the short film ‘FOE’ as a part of Screen Australia and ABC’s horror anthology ‘Dark Place’, released in 2019. He has gone on to direct music videos for Music Victoria Award-winning metal band Diploid in 2019 and 2021, as well as pursue screenwriting work.

Eva Torkkola: Is a graduate of the Master of Film and Television (Directing) at the Victorian College of the Arts, Eva Justine Torkkola was selected as one of twenty filmmakers mentored by Jane Campion at the International Filmmaking Academy in Italy in 2019. Her graduate short SOMETHING HAS DIED IN THE FOREST (ЩОСЬ В ЛIСI ЗДОХЛО) was nominated for an Australian Directors’ Guild and Australian Writers’ Guild award in 2020. In 2021 her latest script, Viktor, was shortlisted for the Monte Miller awards.


Director’s selected by New Zealand Film Commission’s Kāinga Initiative:

Angeline Loo: Balances writing and directing with a decades-long career in art department. These complementary perspectives have deepened her appreciation for the craft of visual storytelling. She co-wrote the feature MY WEDDING AND OTHER SECRETS and was part of the writing and directing team for the sketch series A THOUSAND APOLOGIES. She has written and storylined for television drama and is a writer/director on the anthology feature ‘KĀINGA’.

Asuka Sylvie: Is a writer/director from New Zealand of Japanese and Scottish heritage. Her award winning short films Last Summer (2017), Lake (2014) and Pinion (2010) have screened at festivals worldwide including official selections at Melbourne, Palm Springs, and New Zealand. Her latest work ‘Mikasa’ is a segment she wrote and directed for ensemble feature Kainga premiering at NZIFF & MIFF 2022. She is currently in development with her feature Rebuilding Julia and series pilot Thaw.

Ghazaleh Gol: is an award winning Iranian-Kiwi writer and director. She was one of the writer/directors on the anthology film Kāinga which premiered at MIFF and the series director for Miles from Nowhere (for SKY TV).  She has directed numerous episodes on the long running drama Shortland Street and is currently working on her first feature which was shortlisted for the Sundance Screenwriters Lab and in the top 10% of the Nicholl’s.

Julie Zhu: Born in Xi’an, China and raised in Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland, NZ), Julie Zhu is a filmmaker and storyteller committed to championing marginalised voices and stories. She directed short documentary East Meets East for Loading Docs in 2017 and has created content for Whakaata Māori (Māori Television), TVNZ+, Radio NZ, and The Spinoff, including the observational documentary series Takeout Kids in 2022. Julie currently co-directs and co-hosts podcast and docu-series Conversations With My Immigrant Parents for Radio NZ.

Michelle Ang: New Zealand-born, Emmy-nominated actress Michelle seamlessly channels her talents into directing, infusing her work with cultural nuances. Her desire to see more opportunities for representation of diverse characters and stories on screen has led her to write, direct and produce content. Her short film “Nai/Milk” received multiple nominations at Show Me Shorts and LAAPFF. Recent directing ventures span various genres, including award-winning projects like animated series “Riddle Me This”, factual series “Hair Now” and scifi thriller “AMAH” for TVNZ. Through A Grain of Rice Productions, Michelle develops projects spotlighting outsider experiences, blending local authenticity with global appeal.

Nahyeon Lee: A filmmaker, writer and theatre producer of Korean descent based in Tāmaki Makaurau, Aotearoa. In 2022, her debut play, The First Prime Time Asian Sitcom will be presented with SILO Theatre and she is the writer/ director of one section of feature film Kāinga. She is currently the recipient of a SEED grant for her feature film, Vile Abjection and is in development for a pilot web-series, Asian 8.

Yamin Tun: A writer-director and a graduate of Oxford University in Philosophy, Politics & Economics. Originally from Myanmar, Yamin spent her childhood as an asylum-seeker in numerous countries. Yamin has been mentored by Rolf de Heer and she was named 2016’s New Filmmaker of the Year in New Zealand. In 2017 she was shortlisted for the Sundance Merata Mita Fellowship. In 2021, Yamin’s feature script Hong Kong Story was selected by The Black List.


Directors selected by Create NSW’s Talent Camp Initiative:

Mohini Herse: A writer and director best known for creating the mystery series Appetite. Appetite was commissioned in 2022 as part of the SBS Digital Originals Initiative. Mohini comes from a background in design which has greatly influenced her directing work. Her work has screened at numerous film festivals and she is also known for directing Australia’s first Instagram series, The out There. Mohini is currently in development for her series Hair, which is supported by Screen Australia’s Generate Fund.