icon icon

AFTRS Alumni at Melbourne International Film Festival

‘H is for Happiness’ | Dir. John Sheedy

The 2019 edition of Melbourne International Film Festival will showcase the works of over 20 AFTRS students and alumni, including nine narrative features, six feature-length documentaries, four short films and a 3D VR experience.

Three of these projects were created with the support of the MIFF Premiere Fund, which offers minority co-financing to new Australian quality theatrical (narrative and documentary) feature films that then premiere at MIFF.

The Australian Dream, a feature documentary executive produced by Madman Founder/Managing Director and alumnus Paul Wiegard (Master of Screen Arts & Business, 2015) will kick off proceedings at the Opening Night Gala.

The Australian Dream

Announcing the 2019 MIFF Opening Night Gala – The Australian Dream! For years, Adam Goodes was a beloved hero of the game of AFL. Then the two-time Brownlow Medallist and former Australian of the Year began to call out racism, and his Australian dream turned into a nightmare.Kick off #MIFF2019 with the World Premiere of The Australian Dream. Join the filmmakers and other special guests on the red carpet as we mark the film’s premiere in style. Following the film, all ticket holders are invited to join our VIP guests for an afterparty.MIFF Opening Night Gala – The Australian Dream7pm Thursday 1 August Plenary Theatre, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC)Book now: http://miff.com.au/program/film/miff-opening-night-gala-the-australian-dream

Posted by Melbourne International Film Festival on Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Sequin in a Blue Room, the feature debut and graduate project of Samuel Van Grinsven (Master of Arts Screen, 2018) – which had its world premiere at Sydney Film Festival, where it took out the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature after two sell-out screenings and a standing ovation – is also MIFF bound. But, not before skipping over to the world’s biggest queer film festival Outfest in Los Angeles for the film’s international premiere.

Another standout in the lineup is feature, Angel of Mine, a psychological thriller directed by alumna Kim Farrant (Master of Arts: Film & Television [Hons] Directing, 1999), shot by Cinematographer Andrew Commis (Master of Arts: Film & TV Cinematography, 1998) and featuring production design by Ruby Mathers (Graduate Diploma in Production Design, 2013). Scripted by Oscar-nominated screenwriter Luke Davies (Lion), the film is Farrant’s second feature since Strangerland (2015) which starred Nicole Kidman, Joseph Fiennes, and Hugo Weaving and was nominated for the 2015 Sundance Grand Jury Prize.

The work of production designer Samm Hobbs (Master of Screen Arts & Business, 2015) is on display in Abe Forsythe’s zombie comedy LITTLE MONSTERS. After the film’s hit world premiere at Sundance, it heads to MIFF’s Centrepiece Gala, a celebration of Australian filmmaking at the festival’s halfway point. Featuring Lupita Nyongo as a ukulele-playing, zombie-slaying kindergarten teacher, the black comedy is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Following its Australian premiere at Sydney Film Festival, Maya Newell’s documentary In My Blood It Runs – produced by AFTRS alumna Larissa Behrendt (Graduate diploma in Documentary, 2013) – continues on to MIFF, puts the plight of the Northern Territory’s Indigenous children in the spotlight.

This year’s MIFF Premiere Fund films include alumni-made narrative features: H is for Happiness, No Time For Quiet and Below.

Announcing this year's MIFF Premiere Fund slate, bringing a record seven premieres to the festival, including Maziar…

Posted by Melbourne International Film Festival on Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Below, is the highly anticipated directorial debut of alumnus Maziar Lahooti (Master of Screen Arts, 2009). Starring Ryan Corr and Anthony LaPaglia, the film is a black comedy with a uniquely provocative take on Australia’s controversial asylum-seeker detention system.

Feature documentary No Time for Quiet is co-directed and produced by alumna Samantha Dinning (Graduate Certificate in Documentary, 2011). The film follows a group of girls and gender-fluid youths as they discover the empowering strength of music through a GIRLS ROCK! camp in Melbourne. Look out for appearances from major names in local music, including Courtney Barnett, local punk trio Cable Ties and Sikh-Australian slam poet Sukhjit Khalsa.

Screening at the MIFF Family Gala is John Sheedy’s feature debut, H is for Happiness. Screenwriter/producer Lisa Hoppe (Master of Screen Arts, 2012; Graduate Diploma in Producing and Screen Business, 2011) and cinematographer Bonnie Elliot (Master of Arts: Film, Television and Digital Media Cinematography, 2006) worked on the film, which is an adaptation of the award-winning YA novel My Life as an Alphabet starring Miriam Margolyes, Emma Booth, Richard Roxburgh, Deborah Mailman and Joel Jackson.

H is for Happiness

Check out the trailer for the MIFF Premiere Fund-supported H IS FOR HAPPINESS!Adapted from Barry Jonsberg’s acclaimed young adult novel, this warm-hearted hug of a film is unafraid to tackle serious themes while remaining laugh-out-loud funny and sweetly uplifting. Gorgeously shot by Bonnie Elliot (Undertow, MIFF Premiere Fund 2018) and produced by Julie Ryan (Red Dog, MIFF 2011), Tenille Kennedy (Bad Girl, MIFF Premiere Fund 2016) and Lisa Hoppe – who also wrote the screenplay – this is a charming film for the whole family 🐴🌻Join us for the World Premiere at this year's MIFF Family Gala – H is for Happiness 👉 http://miff.com.au/program/film/miff-family-gala-h-is-for-happiness

Posted by Melbourne International Film Festival on Wednesday, June 12, 2019

This year’s festival also features The Waiting Room, a 3D VR experience created by Molly Reynolds and Rolf De Heer (Diploma Directing, 1979), director of Ten Canoes, The Tracker and Charlie’s Country.

Featuring in the Australian Shorts program is St Augustine, a short by director/writer Thomas Wilson-White (Master of Screen Arts 2017, Graduate Diploma in Directing 2014), cinematographer Daniel Bolt (Graduate Certificate in Cinematography Fundamentals, 2011) composer Freya Berkhout (Graduate Diploma in Screen Music, 2013) and editor Danielle Boesenberg (Graduate Diploma: Editing, 2010).

View this post on Instagram

I remember 10 years ago when I moved to Melbourne and found myself at MIFF for the first time. feeling overwhelmed by the selection of films, specifically the caliber of the shorts. I desperately wanted to make beautiful films that had something to say and I tried over and over again to get a film into MIFF; probably to prove something to myself, to my peers, who knows. at some point last year I stopped trying to make the right film and surrendered. to all of it. burrowed into my own fears and anxieties, ruminated on my own patterns, behaviours, and saw myself fully for the first time, illuminated the ways the toxic masculine infects even the proudest, most progressive parts of my identity, and how much shame that makes me feel… y’know the juicy stuff. and then a film quite literally fell out of me. @lizziecater read it and said ‘we’re making this in December’ and so I got my dream cast and I got my dream team and we snuck away and had a really weird and profound time making St. Augustine. and now we’re premiering at MIFF and I’m so happy to share this news! I’ve spent 10 years getting knocked back, and it’s really helped me, it’s grown me right the fuck up, and I’m grateful for all of it. I’m thrilled to be screening at MIFF, it means more than I can say. I’m even more thrilled to be presenting such a personal film featuring two queer men being tender and loving with one another. making St. Augustine healed a part of me, and I hope some of that magic finds its delicious audience in Melbourne. tickets in bio! always always always with love and huge thanks to @melbfilmfest for making a kids dreams come true xoxo

A post shared by Thomas Wilson-White (@thomaswilsonwhite) on

Out of Range, written and directed by John Harvey (Graduate Certificate: Screen Drama – Screenwriting & Producing, 2008) will also feature in the screenings along with the Sydney Film Festival-selected short Snare, written James Fraser (Foundation Diploma, 2012) and featuring costume design by Laura Anna Lucas (Master of Arts Screen, 2018).

The festival runs from 1-18 August. You can see the full program here.

Here’s a complete list of all alumni works showing at this year’s MIFF.


Sequin in a Blue Room
Director, screenwriter: Samuel Van Grinsven (Master of Arts Screen, 2018)
Producer: Sophie Hattch (Bachelor of Arts (Screen), 2017)
Associate producer: Linus Gibson (Bachelor of Arts (Screen), 2017)
Cinematographer: Jay Grant (Graduate Certificate in Cinematography Fundamentals, 2014)
2nd unit DP/1st AC: Carina Burke (Graduate Certificate Screen: Cinematography, 2017)
1st AC: Dan Abbot (Graduate Certificate in Cinematography, 2014)
Editor: Tim Guthrie (Master of Arts Screen, 2018)
Composer: Brent Williams (Master of Arts Screen, 2016)
Costume designer: William Tran (Bachelor of Arts (Screen), 2017)
Sound supervisor: Audrey Houssard (Graduate Diploma in Sound, 2014)
H&M: Oliver Lefi-Malouf (Bachelor of Arts Screen: Production, 2018)

Angel of Mine
Director: Kim Farrant (Master of Arts – Film & Television [Hons] Directing, 1999)
Cinematographer: Andrew Commis (Master of Arts – Film & Television Cinematography, 1998)
Production designer: Ruby Mathers (Graduate Diploma in Production Design, 2013)

Director: Maziar Lahooti (Master of Screen Arts, 2009)

H is for Happiness
Screenwriter/producer : Lisa Hoppe (Master of Screen Arts, 2012; Graduate Diploma in Producing and Screen Business, 2011)
Cinematographer: Bonnie Elliot (Master of Arts: Film, Television and Digital Media Cinematography, 2006)

Little Monsters
Production designer: Sam Hobbs (Master of Arts – Film & Television Design, 2001)

Emu Runner
Producer: John Fink (Graduate Diploma Screenwriting, 2009)

Return Home
Director/screenwriter: Ray Argall (Diploma Editing, 1979)

Composer: Amanda Brown (Graduate Certificate in Screen Composition, 1999)

Cinematographer: Bonnie Elliot ACS (Master of Arts: Film, Television and Digital Media Cinematography, 2006)


In My Blood It Runs
Producer: Larissa Behrendt (Graduate Diploma in Documentary, 2013)

No Time For Quiet
Co-director/producer: Samantha Dinning (Graduate Certificate in Documentary, 2011)

The Australian Dream
Executive producer: Paul Wiegard: Master of Screen Arts & Business, 2015

The Leunig Fragments
Cinematographer: Marden Dean (Master of Arts: Film and Television Cinematography, 2008)

Editor: Julie-Ann De Ruvo, editor (Master of Arts – Film & Television Editing, 2001)

Words and Silk: The Imaginary and Real World of Gerald Murnane
Producer: John Cruthers (Certificate, Film & TV producing, 1979)


Screenwriter: James Fraser (Foundation Diploma, 2012)
Costume designer: Laura Anna Lucas (Master of Arts Screen, 2018)

The Egg
Editor: Lucas Baynes (Diploma in Editing Fundamentals, 2016)

St Augustine
Director/screenwriter: Thomas Wilson-White (Master of Screen Arts, 2017; Graduate Diploma in Directing 2014)
Cinematographer: Daniel Bolt (Graduate Certificate in Cinematography Fundamentals, 2011)
Composer: Freya Berkhout (Graduate Diploma in Screen Music, 2013)
Editor: Danielle Boesenberg (Graduate Diploma: Editing, 2010)

Out of Range
Director/screenwriter: John Harvey (Graduate Certificate: Screen Drama – Screenwriting & Producing, 2008)


The Waiting Room
Producer: Rolf De Heer (Diploma Directing, 1979)