Nov 16 2009

AFTRS graduates making their mark

AFTRS graduates are out making their mark in the industry with international festival screenings, new projects and award successes, read on for some recent news:

+ Granaz Moussavi’s [Editing, 2005] feature My Tehran for Sale is being picked up by festivals around the world. It had its international debut at the Toronto Film Festival on Saturday September 12 in the World Screen section. The film will also screen at the Pusan International Film Festival in Korea and at the Vancouver International Film Festival before being released theatrically in Australia in November.

Filmed at great risk to all involved, My Tehran for Sale was shot last year in Tehran and reveals the complex double lives led by many modern Iranian youth who must struggle for cultural freedom. The film was written and directed by Granaz Moussavi and shot by fellow AFTRS graduate Bonnie Elliott [Cinematography, 2007].

+ Alister Grierson [Directing, 2004] and Jules O’Loughlin [Cinematography, 2004] have just signed on to James Cameron’s latest $30 million project Sanctum. Alister will direct the film and Jules will shoot the dry land scenes, with production to commence in Australia at the end of the year.

Sanctum is based on the true story of diver Andrew Wight's near-death experience when he led an expedition of 15 divers into a remote underwater cave system below the Nullarbor Plain, and a freak storm collapsed the cave entrance.

The film will shoot with James Cameron’s Avatar cameras using innovative 3D technology.

+ Hugh Sullivan [Directing 2008] and Penny Smallacombe [Documentary 2004] have both been shortlisted for this year's Efilm IF Award for Rising Talent which is presented to ‘an individual who exhibits incredible talent and potential who has a bright future as a professional filmmaker’.

AFTRS graduates have a strong record in this category at the IF awards with previous winners including Bonnie Elliott in 2007 [Cinematography 2007], Peter Templeman in 2006 [Directing, 2005] and Andrew Lancaster in 2001 [Sound 1994].

The final nominees for the Efilm Rising Talent IF Award will be announced on October 12.

+ Just announced by Screen Australia is the news that the 2009 Pusan International Film Festival includes an Australian first with six Aussie films selected for the World Cinema section and of those six films, five include the work of AFTRS graduates in the following roles:

- The Waiting City Written & directed by Claire McCarthy [Directing 2001], lensed by Denson Baker [Cinematography 2001], original music by Michael Yezerski [Screen Composition 2001]

- My Tehran for Sale Written & directed by Granaz Moussavi [Editing 2006] lensed by Bonnie Elliott [Cinematography 2007]

- Balibo Written & directed by Robert Connolly [Producing 1995] lensed by Tristan Milani [Cinematography 1994] edited by Nick Meyers [Editing 1992] with sound design by Sam Petty [Sound 1992]

- Bright Star Written & directed by Jane Campion [Directing 1984]

- Mary and Max Produced by Melanie Coombes [Producing 1997]

The 14th Pusan International Film Festival runs Oct 8 -16

+ The 2009 ADG (Australian Directors Guild) Awards ceremony was held on Thursday September 10, celebrating the creative achievement of directors in film, television and new media platforms. Three AFTRS grads received awards this year:

* Tony Ayres [Screenwriting, 1990] - Saved (Telemovie)

* Shawn Seet [Editing, 1993] - Underbelly - A Tale of Two Cities: Business as Usual (TV drama series)

* Rachel Perkins [Producing, 1996] - First Australians: Freedom for Our Lifetime (Documentary series)

+ Several AFTRS graduates also picked up awards at the recent AWGIE awards (Australian Writers Guild) - including the Major AWGIE:

* Christopher Lee [Scriptwriting, 1984] - FOXTEL Fellowship for Excellence in Television Writing

* Belinda Chayko [Scriptwriting, 1990] - Saved - Telemovie - Original

* Rachel Perkins [Producing 1996] shared with Louise Nowra - First Australians - Episode 1 - Documentary - Public Broadcast

* Warwick Thornton [Cinematography, 1996] - Samson and Delilah - Feature Film Screenplay - Original and the Major AWGIE Award

Image: Publicity still from My Tehran for Sale


The Australian Film Television and Radio School would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners, the Bidjigal people and Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, on whose land we meet, work, study and teach. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and extend our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from all nations of this land.