The 2018 Melbourne International Film Festival closed last weekend, wrapping up 18 days of screen experiences, many with the heavy involvement of AFTRS alumni.
1%, directed by first-time feature film director Stephen McCallum (Graduate Diploma in Directing (Fiction & Non-Fiction), 2011; Graduate Certificate: Directing, 2010), and co-produced by Michael Pontin (Graduate Diploma in Producing & Screen Business, 2011), continued its film festival run off the back of hit screenings in Toronto, London and Sydney. Eligible for the The Age Critics Award, jury member Stephanie Bunbury noted the film achieves “an impressive sense of authenticity in its portrayal of a determinedly extreme way of life”.
Also eligible for the award was Undertow, from alumni writer/director Miranda Nation (Graduate Diploma: Directing (Fiction & Non-Fiction), 2010), producer Lyn Norfor (Graduate Diploma: Screen Business, 2010), cinematographer Bonnie Elliot (Master of Arts: Film, Television and Digital Media – Cinematography, 2006), and editor Julie-Anne De Ruvo (Master of Arts (Film & Television): Editing, 2001), which The Guardian critic Luke Buckmaster called an “intensely gripping” film that “takes a bold approach to pregnancy and abortion”. Undertow will screen across regional Victoria this September and October as part of the MIFF Traveling Showcase.
Alumnae Kerinne Jenkins (Master of Screen Arts, 2017) and Vanessa Gazy (Master of Screen Arts, 2014), along with current student Nathan Mewett (Master of Arts Screen: Screenwriting, 2018) participated in the MIFF Accelerator Lab, a four-day workshop aimed at transitioning short filmmakers into the world of feature filmmaking. Kerinne Jenkins took us behind the scenes of the Lab on our Instagram.
The filmmakers also had their respective films Cattle (dir. Kerinne Jenkins), Shiloh (dir. Vanessa Gazy), and Yulubidyi – Until The End (dir. Nathan Mewett & Curtis Taylor) screen to sold-out crowds in the Accelerator short film program.
Elsewhere in the short film program, All These Creatures, directed by Charles Williams and shot by alumnus Adric Watson (Graduate Diploma in Cinematography, 2013), was awarded the Film Victoria Erwin Rado Award for Best Australian Short Film, with the Jury praising it’s “poetic cinematography” and calling the film “evocative, thought-provoking and timely”.
2017 Bachelor of Arts Screen graduate André Shannon participated in the MIFF Critics Campus, a program enabling emerging film critics to develop their skills in a live festival setting. Shannon received mentoring from Adolfo Aranjuez, Metro Magazine editor and Archer Magazine editor-in-chief, and his coverage of the festival can be found at the MIFF Blog, including his interview with Asian Girls director Hyun Lee, and video essay reflecting on Gaspar Noe’s Climax, “Dancing in the Art Film”.
Congratulations to all AFTRS alumni who were a part of this year’s Melbourne International Film Festival. A full list of features, shorts, and documentaries by alumni that screened at the festival can be found here.