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AFTRS Alumni at Sydney Film Festival 2019

'Sequin in a Blue Room' | Dir. Samuel Van Grinsven | Photo by Nicholas Gascoine

Sydney Film Festival has just released its 2019 program and there’s a major AFTRS presence in this year’s festival.

The work of over 35 ex-students will be showcased in 27 works, across various categories including features, shorts, documentaries and First Nations.

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Posted by Sydney Film Festival on Thursday, May 2, 2019

The work of 17 alumni is on display across nine narrative features. Sequin In A Blue Room, a queer coming-of-age tale, is the student film of recent graduates Samuel Van Grinsven, Linus Gibson and Sophie Hattch, who has also worked on SFF feature Suburban Wildlife by Imogen McCluskey and Beatrice Barbeau-Scurla. Also among the features is Kriv Stenders and Michael Schwarz’ Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan, as is the charming rom-com, Standing Up For Sunny produced by Michael Pontin and featuring Phillippa Northeast.

The work of nine alumni is showcased in six shorts, three of which are part of the Lexus Australia Short Film Fellowship.

AFTRS alumni feature prominently in the documentary program, with the work of eight ex-students being exhibited across seven documentary films, six of which are up for the Documentary Australia Foundation Award. You can see the trailer for one of these contenders, First Nations documentary/part-biopic She Who Must Be Loved below.

This year, SFF is presenting a retrospective on Essential Australian Women Directors, celebrating 10 female trailblazers of Australian film. Among these classics will be Jane Campion’s Sweetie (1989), Gillian Armstrong’s High Tide (1988) and Shirley Barrett’s Love Serenade (1996).

Here’s a full roll call.


Director, screenwriter: Melissa Anastasi (Grad Diploma in directing, 2012)

Jadai: The Broome Brawler
Director: Nathan Mewett (Master of Arts Screen, 2018)
Screenwriter: Melissa Lee Speyer (Master of Arts Screen, 2018)
Actor: Lauren Clair (Master of Arts Screen, 2018)

Director, Screenwriter: Jamieson Pearce (Graduate Diploma in Directing, 2014)
Producer: Liam Heyen (Graduate Diploma in producing, 2014)

Broken Line North
Cinematographer: Jack McAvoy (Graduate Diploma in Cinematography, 2012)
Production and Costume Designer: Laura Murray (Graduate Diploma in Production Design, 2012)
Editor: Andrew Kristiaman (Graduate Diploma in Editing, 2011)
Sound Designer and Re-Recording Mixer: Thom Kellar (Graduate Diploma in Sound, 2011)
Sound Recordist: Martin Demian (Graduate Diploma in Sound, 2012)
First Assistant Director: Craig D Foster, Graduate Certificate Screen: Directing, 2018)


The Hitchhiker
Producer: Chloe Rickard (Master of Screen Arts & Business, 2015)

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

All These Creatures
Cinematographer: Adric Watson (Graduate Diploma in Cinematography, 2013)


Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan
Director: Kriv Stenders (Bachelor of Arts (Film and Television) Camera, 1988)
Producer: Michael Schwarz (Graduate Certificate: Screen Drama – Directing and Screenwriting, 2009)
Composer: Caitlin Yeo (Graduate Diploma in Screen Composition, 2002)

Sequin in a Blue Room
Director, screenwriter: Samuel Van Grinsven (Master of Arts Screen, 2018)
Producers: Sophie Hattch (Bachelor of Arts (Screen), 2017), Linus Gibson (Bachelor of Arts (Screen), 2017)
Cinematographer: Jay Grant
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)

Suburban Wildlife
Director, Screenwriter, Producer: Imogen McCluskey (Bachelor of Arts Screen, 2017)
Screenwriter: Beatrice Barbeau-Scurla (Bachelor of Arts (Screen) 2017)
Producer: Sophie Hattch (Bachelor of Arts (Screen), 2017)
Cinematographer: Lucca Barone-Peters (Bachelor of Arts (Screen), 2017)

Standing Up For Sunny
Producer: Michael Pontin (Graduate Diploma in producing and Screen Business, 2011)
Cast: Philippa Northeast (Advanced Diploma in Producing, Story, Finance, 2015)
Composer: Caitlin Yeo (Graduate Diploma in Screen Composition, 2002)

Palm Beach
Cinematographer: Bonnie Elliott ACS (Master of Arts: Film, Television and Digital Media Cinematography, 2006)
Editor Nick Meyers (Specialist Extension Certificate in Editing, 1991)
Production designer: Melinda Doring (Master of Arts: Film & Television Design, 1997)

Hearts and Bones
Cinematographer: Hugh Miller (Master of Arts – Film & Television Cinematography, 2002)
Assistant producer: Sleena Wilson (Graduate Certificate Screen: Creative Producing, 2018)


I Am No Bird
Producer: Lucy Hayes (Grad Diploma: Directing (Fiction and Non-fiction), 2010)

In My Blood It Runs
Producer: Larissa (Lavarch) Behrendt (Grad diploma in Documentary, 2013)

It All Started With a Stale Sandwich
Director, Screenwriter: Samantha Lang (Bachelor of Arts Directing, 1994)

Life After The Oasis
Director, Screenwriter: Sascha Ettinger Epstein (Master of Arts (Film and Television) Documentary, 2003)

Director, Screenwriter: Kaye Harrison (Cinematography Documentary Certificate, 1996)
Producer: Greer Simpkin (Graduate Certificate in Business Administration (Creative Industries), 2010)
Composer: Caitlin Yeo (Graduate Diploma in Screen Composition, 2002)

She Who Must Be Loved
Director, Screenwriter: Erica Glynn (Master of Arts (Film and Television) Directing, 1998)


Warburdar Bununu: Water Shield
Producer: John Harvey (Graduate Certificate: Screen Drama – Screenwriting and Producing)


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


Producer: Dina Curtis: (Graduate Diploma (Film & Television) Television editing, 2002)

Ties That Bind
Producer: Gillian Moody (TV Training Certificate, 1993)

Between Two Lines
Cinematographer: Warwick Thornton (Bachelor of Arts – Film & Television Cinematography, 1995)
Production designer: Natalie Beak (Master of Arts: Film, Television and Digital Media Production Design, 2006)
Set decorator: Barry Jarrott (Diploma in Screen Design, 2017)


High Tide
Director: Gillian Armstrong (Cert in Directing, 1973)

Director, Screenwriter: Jane Campion (Diploma Directing, 1983)
Screenwriter: Gerard Lee (Certificate Screenwriting, 1981)

Love Serenade
Director, Screenwriter: Shirley Barrett (Bachelor of Arts (Film and Television) Writing and Directing, 1987)


See the full program at sff.org.au and stay tuned for more announcements.