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‘Sequin In A Blue Room’ wins Sydney Film Festival Audience Award

Still from ‘Sequin in a Blue Room’ | Dir. Samuel Van Grinsven | Photo by Nicholas Gascoine

After a standing ovation and two sell-out screenings for its world premiere at Sydney Film Festival, it’s hardly a surprise that Sequin In A Blue Room, the graduate film of Samuel Van Grinsven (Master of Arts Screen, 2018) has taken the top spot in the Audience Awards.

This comes off the back of its selection for the world’s biggest queer film festival Outfest in Los Angeles, where the film will have its international premiere in late-July. Judging by the phenomenal response Sam’s feature debut has had to date, Sequin In A Blue Room looks set for big things.

Samuel Van Grinsven’s queer coming-of-age tale is his Master of Arts Screen: Directing final project. Co-written by Samuel and LA-based screenwriter Jory Anast, the film was produced by fellow AFTRS alum Sophie Hattch (Bachelor of Arts: Screen, 2017).

Each year the people’s choice award winners reflect the most popular films at the Festival with two awards: one for best narrative feature and one for best documentary. The second and third spots in the narrative feature category were snagged by Australian films, and both feature the work of AFTRS alumni: Hearts and Bones, which stars Hugo Weaving and screened in Official Competition, and Suburban Wildlife which had its Australian premiere at SFF and sold out both screenings.


AFTRS alumni also excelled in the documentary category. After winning the Documentary Australia Foundation Award, Erica Glynn’s  She Who Must Be Loved has claimed the second runner-up spot in the SFF Audience Awards for documentary films. Sweeping in straight after that was Sanctuary, a documentary by director/screenwriter Kaye Harrison (Cinematography Documentary Certificate, 1996), producer Greer Simpkin (Graduate Certificate in Business Administration: Creative Industries, 2010) with composition by Caitlin Yeo (Graduate Diploma in Screen Composition, 2002).

With audience-voted wins and Closing Night Gala accolades, this has been a stellar year for alumni at Sydney Film Festival.


1st: Sequin in a Blue Room
2nd: Hearts and Bones
3rd: Suburban Wildlife
4th: Never Look Away
5th: Portrait of a Lady on Fire

1st: Martha: A Picture Story
2nd: The Final Quarter
3rd: She Who Must Be Obeyed Loved
4th: Sanctuary
5th: Honeyland

Sequin In A Blue Room

Director, Screenwriter: Samuel Van Grinsven (Master of Arts Screen, 2018)
Screenwriter: Jory Anast
First assistant director: Stephanie Stretton
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)
Additional cinematography: Carina Burke (Graduate Certificate Screen: Cinematography, 2017)
1st AC: Dan Abbot (Graduate Certificate in Cinematography, 2014)
Steadicam: Jason Rodrigues
Gaffer: Nicholas Gascoine
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)
Production designer: Anna Gardiner
Sound supervisor: Audrey Houssard (Graduate Diploma in Sound, 2014)
Motion graphics: Chris Johns
H&M: Oliver Levi-Malouf (Bachelor of Arts Screen: Production, 2018)