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AFTRS Alumna Laura Anna Lucas Cuts Her Babyteeth on New Adaptation

Fresh out of the Master of Arts Screen at AFTRS, where she studied production design under the tutelage of Igor Nay (Head of Production Design), Laura Anna Lucas was selected by Screen NSW (Create NSW) for six-week paid design assistant position on Babyteeth.

Babyteeth is being brought to the screen with the help of several AFTRS alumnae. The “bittersweet comedy” (Screen Australia) is being adapted by the original playwright Rita Kalnejais, with AFTRS graduates Shannon Murphy (Diploma in Directing, 2013), Sherree Philips (Diploma in Production Design, 2012), Alex White (Certificate in Producing, 2011) and Laura Anna Lucas (MA Production Design, 2018) all contributing to the film.

The story centres around Milla Finlay (Eliza Scanlen: Home & Away, Sharp Objects), a teenage girl who’s battling cancer for the second time. Determined to live her life to the full, she begins to clash with her protective parents Henry and Anna, played by Australian actors Ben Mendelsohn (Ready Player One, Bloodline) and (Essie Davis: Game of Thrones, The Babadook). 

Filming in Sydney, Babyteeth is AFTRS graduate Shannon Murphy’s feature film directorial debut, having previously directed television dramas including Offspring and Sisters, while AFTRS alumnae Alex White is producing the film and Sherree Philips heads production design, with whom Laura Anna Lucas worked. Laura expresses her excitement to work on the project, saying:

“It was fantastic to work alongside Sherree Philips on Babyteeth. She’s an incredibly inclusive and methodical designer and I really appreciated learning from her process and contributing to the work. It was very inspiring to see how closely she worked with the rest of the creative team and how she accomplished her design vision despite the complexities and practicalities of the film.”

In the first half of 2018, Laura travelled to the prestigious Cannes Film Festival to represent Hector Malot: The Last Day of the Year (2018), for which she :

“Having admired Jacqueline Lentzou’s work for many years, I was thrilled to finally work with her and be a part of the creative team in Athens. Going to Cannes for the festival and seeing our film receive an award was extraordinary. I still don’t think I have fully grasped the impact of that experience, but it gave me an incredible drive to continue working and seek out collaborative projects with people I can learn from and grow with.”

Igor Nay, AFTRS Head of Production Design, comments on how Laura will benefit immensely from the opportunity:

“Laura was a student who always knew what she wanted, and that was to study production Design at AFTRS. She already had a strong design sensibility before coming to AFTRS, gained from her years studying at NIDA and working in the screen industry, and the opportunity to work with such an accomplished and talented creative team on Babyteeth will further broaden Laura. Laura is a bright and talented young designer, and I believe she will have a successful design career in Australia and internationally.”

Other films Laura Ann Lucas has worked on include:

Hector Malot: The Last Day of the Year (2018)

  • Written and directed by Jacqueline Lentzou
  • Production design by Laura Anna Lucas
  • Official selection of La Semaine de la Critique – Cannes 2019
  • Winner of the Leica Cine Discovery Prize at La Semaine de la Critique 2018
  • Screening at MoMa as part of the New Directors/New Films series 2019

Snare (2019)

  • Written by Madeleine Gottlieb and James Fraser
  • Directed by Madeleine Gottlieb
  • Costume Design by Laura Ann Luca

Chlorine (2018)

  • Written and directed by Melissa Anastasi
  • Production design and costume design by Laura Ann Lucas
  • Australian premiere slated for 2019

Laura Ann Lucas – Born in Greece, Laura has been involved in theatre and fine arts from a young age. In 2012 she moved to Sydney where she completed a Bachelor in Dramatic Arts, Design at NIDA in 2015 and a Masters of Screen Arts in Production Design at AFTRS in 2018. During her studies, she returned to Greece to design the film Hector Malot: The Last Day of The Year by Jacqueline Lentzou. Since graduating she has worked on Snare by Madeleine Gottlieb and Chlorine by Melissa Anastasi (SFF 2019). Laura uses screen design to interrogate and understand human behaviour and its relation to the environment. She is passionate about how design can inform and shape the emotional state of a character and enhance the overall narrative of a story.

Igor Nay – As a successful and recognised art director and production designer in film and television for over 20 years, Igor Nay has established expertise and practical application in Screen Design and Art Direction that is informed by a body of work, extremely varied in scale, scope, style and theme. During this time, Igor’s designs have addressed the needs of the film, television, television commercial industries and internet video content providers.

Babyteeth will be released later this year and benefits from Screen Australia funding.

Laura Anna Lucas (MA Screen: Production Design, 2018)