icon icon

33 AFTRS Student and Alumni Films On Show at Sydney Film Festival 2021

33 AFTRS students and alumni films have been selected to screen at this year’s edition of Sydney Film Festival. Now in its 68th year, the festival will bring over 230 features, documentaries and short films from around the world to cinemas in Sydney and SFF On Demand from 12-21 November.

Four short films made by AFTRS students are featured this year, two of them world premiere screenings and one selected for the prestigious Dendy Awards competition.

In Competition in the Dendy Awards for short films is The Stranger, written and produced by Jenny Hicks while studying the AFTRS Master of Arts Screen: Directing and starring Fiona Press, Steve Bisley and Harry Greenwood.
Fellow AFTRS student collaborators on the film include Nathaniel Heinz (Master of Arts Screen: Producing), Harriet Dixon-Smith (Master of Arts Screen: Business and Leadership), Sam Steinle (Master of Arts Screen: Cinematography), Sean Doyle (Master of Arts Screen: Sound Design), Alex Cox (Master of Arts Screen: Editing) and Daniel O’Brien (Master of Arts Screen: Music). The film is about a stranger who arrives at an isolated farmhouse in the middle of the night, where the farmer’s anxious wife is convinced he is a murderer. In the light of day, she is forced to confront her prejudices.

Sunnies, written and directed by Ismail Khan (Master of Arts Screen: Directing) will have its world premiere at the Festival. The film was recently named joint Best Film – Fiction Prize at this year’s CILECT CAPA Awards, the Asia-Pacific Association of CILECT, the International Association of Film and Television Schools. Sunnies was produced by Bachelor of Arts Screen: Production student Skye Leon and additional Master of Arts Screen students in key crew roles include James Ward-Miller (cinematographer), Sean Doyle (sound recordist and sound supervisor), Alexander Cox (editor) and James Mountain (music score).

Also celebrating a world premiere is Acts for the Invisible, which was written, directed and produced by Kate Vinen, a 2020 Master of Arts Screen: Documentary student. The film is about Alistair Trung, a celebrated fashion designer who loses his life partner and is propelled towards an entirely new life, far away from the fashion world. Other AFTRS students in key roles on the film include Petra Leslie (Master of Arts Screen: Cinematography), Nathan Turnbull (Master of Arts Screen: Sound Design), Liam Clark (Master of Arts Screen: Editing), Emily Jansz (Master of Arts Screen: Production Design) and Julia Potter (Master of Arts Screen: Music).

Alba was written and directed by Mariella S. Solano while studying the Bachelor of Arts Screen: Production. Fellow student collaborators on the film include cinematographer Julian Pertout, production and costume designer Chloe Beckley, editor Tiffany Lui and sound supervisor Alex Linder, who worked alongside several other crew members. Alba was also selected for the Melbourne International Film Festival earlier this year.

AFTRS CEO Nell Greenwood said: “We are delighted that our students will have the opportunity to present their films in the cinema and experience a live audience response to their work. It’s encouraging to see such fruitful creative collaborations between AFTRS students. I congratulate all of our filmmakers selected for the 2021 Sydney Film Festival.”

In addition to these four short films, other films with AFTRS alumni in key creative roles also feature strongly in the Sydney Film Festival program announced today. Opening Night film Here Out West was co-directed by AFTRS alumni Lucy Gaffy and Julie Kalceff and executive produced by AFTRS Head of Producing and Production Lyn Norfor. The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson will screen in the Official Competition. Dwarf Planet and The Moogai will compete for Dendy Awards for Australian Short Films, while among the Documentary Australia Foundation Award finalists are When The Camera Stopped Rolling, Under the Volcano, I’m Wanita, The Department, Incarceration Nation, Ithaka, A Fire Inside, Television Event, Unseen Skies and The Kids. Wash My Soul in the River’s Flow is part of the Special Presentations selection screening at the State Theatre. Rounding our the list are international documentaries John Farrow: Hollywood’s Man in the Shadows, Burning and Anonymous Club, and narrative features Aaratika: Rise Up!, Bosch & Rockit, Radiance, Friends and Strangers and When Pomegranates Howl.

See the full 2021 program.


Opening Night film: Here Out West
Directors: Lucy Gaffy (Master of Screen Arts, 2009), Julie Kalceff (Master of Arts (Film and Television) Scriptwriting, 2002), (with Fadia Abboud, Ana Kokkinos, Leah Purcell)
Producer: Sheila Jayadev (Graduate Certificate: Producing, 2011)
Executive producer: Lyn Norfor
Cinematographer: Tania Lambert (Master of Arts: Film and Television Cinematography, 2008)
Composer: Amanda Brown (Graduate Certificate in Screen Composition, 1999)
Production designer: Roslyn Durnford (Graduate Diploma: Production Design, 2010)
Sound designer: Liam Egan
Titles designer – opening sequence: Michelle Hunt (Certificate Titles & Broadcast Design, 2005)
Sound recordist: Glenn Finnan (Graduate Diploma: Film, Television and Digital Media Location Sound Recording, 2004)
Assistant production coordinator: Sharon Abela (Graduate Certificate Screen: Creative Producing, 2017)
COVID health and safety supervisor / Covid Safety Supervisor: Ella Zaman (Bachelor of Arts (Screen), 2017)


The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson
Director: Leah Purcell
Producer: Greer Simpkin (Graduate Certificate in Business Administration (Creative Industries), 2010)


Wyrmwood: Apocalypse
Line producer: Cathy Flannery (Graduate Diploma in Producing & Screen Business, 2011)
Sound designer: Lachlan Harris (Graduate Diploma in Sound, 2011)
Re-recording mixer: Thom Kellar (Graduate Diploma in Sound, 2011)

Friends and Strangers
Director: James Vaughan
Costume designer: Olivia Simpson (Graduate Certificate in Costume Design, 2013)
Sound designer: Liam Egan (Bachelor of Arts (Film & Television) Sound, 1986)

When Pomegranates Howl
Director/screenwriter/producer: Granaz Moussavi (Graduate Diploma Film and Television in Editing, 2005)
Associate producer: Claire Fletcher (Graduate Diploma Film and Television in Editing, 2005)


Aaratika: Rise Up! (with Q+A)
Director/screenwriter: Larissa Behrendt (Graduate Diploma in Documentary, 2013; Graduate Diploma in Screenwriting, 2012)
Producer: Sam Griffin (Master of Screen Arts and Business, 2017)
Cinematographer: Justine Kerrigan (Bachelor of Arts (Film &Television) Cinematography, 1996)
Editor: Andrea Lang (Master of Arts (Film & Television) Editing, 1998)


The Stranger
Writer/director: Jenny Hicks (Master of Arts Screen, 2020)
Producer: Nate Heinz (Master of Arts Screen, 2020)
Co-producer: Harriet Dixon-Smith (Master of Arts Screen: Business & Leadership, 2020)
Cinematographer: Sam Steinle (Master of Arts Screen, 2020)
Production designer: Stephanie Dunlop
Editor: Alex Cox (Master of Arts Screen, 2020)
Composer: Daniel O’Brien (Master of Arts Screen, 2020)
Costume designer: Keerthi Subramanyam
Sound supervisor/sound recordist/re-recording mixer: Sean Doyle (Master of Arts Screen, 2020)
First assistant camera: Sally Eccleston
Second assistant camera/data wrangler: Jasper Fox (Bachelor of Arts (Screen), 2017)
First assistant director: Hannah-Florence Macgregor (Advanced Diploma in Producing: Story, Audience, Finance, 2016)
Production manager: Sebastian Chan (Advanced Diploma in Producing: Story, Audience, Finance, 2015)
Gaffer: Josh Wiggins
Grip: Dave Nichols
Best person: Steff Watson
Third electrics: Matt Roper
Grip assistants: Kristian Bruneteau, Kaan Cansiz
Hair and makeup supervisor: Monique Muskens
Standby props: Elkie Chadwick
WHS risk assessment: Roger Graham
COVID safety officer: Ella Zaman (Bachelor of Arts (Screen), 2017)
Stills photographers: John Platt, Jack Evstigneev
Foley artists: Bespoke
Music engineer: Geir S Brillian
VFX: Alexander Hoetzer
Colourist: Billy Wychgel

Dwarf Planet
Screenwriter/director: Adrian Chiarella (Graduate Diploma in Screenwriting, 2012)
Cinematographer: Michael Filocamo (Graduate Certificate in Cinematography Fundamentals, 2014)
Editor: Danielle Boesenberg (Graduate Diploma: Editing, 2010)

The Moogai
Director: Jon Bell
Sound designer: Sam Petty (Extension, 1991)
Production designer: Bethany Ryan (Graduate Diploma in Production Design, 2012)


When the Camera Stopped Rolling
Director/writer/cinematographer: Jane Castle (Bachelor of Arts (Film & Television) Cinematography, 1986)
Composer: Kyls B. Burtland (Graduate Diploma Screen Composition Sound, 2001)
Sound designer and mixer: Sam Petty (Specialist Extension Certificate Sound, 1991; Specialist Extension Certificate Editing, 1990)

The Department
Director/cinematographer: Sascha Ettinger Epstein (Master of Arts (Film and Television) Documentary, 2003)
Sound recordist: Richard Boxhall (Graduate Diploma: Film, Television & Digital Media Location Sound, 2006)

Under the Volcano
Director: Gracie Otto
Story consultant: Jennifer Peedom (Master of Screen Arts and Business, 2017)
Cinematographer: Hugh Miller (Master of Arts (Film & Television) Cinematography, 2002)
Editor: Karen Johnson (Specialist Extension Course Certificate Editing, 1995)
Addition sound recordist: Gareth Evans (Graduate Diploma in Sound, 2012)
Additional camera assistant: Sian Bates (Graduate Diploma in Cinematography, 2011)
Additional camera operator: Tania Lambert (Master of Arts: Film and Television Cinematography, 2008)

I’m Wanita
Director: Matthew Walker (Master of Arts: Film, Television and Digital Media Editing, 2004)
Producer: Claire Lewis (Graduate Certificate in Documentary, 2011)
Composer: Jonathan Dower (Master of Arts: Film, Television and Digital Media Screen Composition, 2004)
Cinematographer: Simon Cunich (Graduate Certificate in Documentary, 2014)

The Kids
Director: Eddie Martin
Cinematographer: Hugh Miller (Master of Arts (Film & Television) Cinematography, 2002)
Composer: Michael Yezerski (Graduate Certificate in Screen Composition Sound, 2000)

Incarceration Nation
Director: Dean Gibson
Editor: Lindi Harrison (Specialist Extension Certificate Editing, 1993)

Director: Ben Lawrence
Editor: Karen Johnson (Specialist Extension Course Certificate Editing, 1995)

A Fire Inside
Directors: Justin Krook, Luke Mazzaferro
Cinematographer: Josh Flavell (Graduate Diploma: Cinematography, 2010)
Editor: Scott Walmsley (Master of Arts: Film & Television Editing, 2008)
Composer: Matteo Zingales (Graduate Diploma (Film and Television) Screen Composition, 2003)

Television Event
Director: Jeff Daniels
Re-recording mixer/sound designer/supervising sound editor: Lachlan Harris (Graduate Diploma in Sound, 2011)
Assistant editor: Bergen O’Brien (Master of Arts (Film & Television) Editing, 2000)

Unseen Skies
Director: Yaara Bou Melhem
Sound editor: Mick Boraso
Sound recordist: Richard Boxhall (Graduate Diploma: Film, Television & Digital Media Location Sound, 2006)
Sound designer: Cameron Grant (Master of Arts: Film, Television and Digital Media Sound Design, 2007)


John Farrow: Hollywood’s Man in the Shadows
Directors: Frans Vandenburg, Claude Gonzalez
Editor: Walter McIntosh (Master of Arts (Film and Television) Editing, 2003)
Composer/sound designer: Sam Petty (Specialist Extension Certificate Sound, 1991; Specialist Extension Certificate Editing, 1990)

Director: Eva Orner
Composer: Thomas Rouch (Graduate Certificate: Screen Music, 2009)

Anonymous Club
Director: Danny Cohen
Producer: Samantha Dinning (Graduate Certificate in Documentary, 2011)

When a City Rises
Directors: Iris Kwong, Ip Kar Man, Cathy Chu, Han Yan Yuen, Huang Yuk-kwok, Jenn Lee, Evie Cheung
Composer: Adrian Leung (Graduate Certificate Screen Music, 2010)


Bosch & Rockit
Director: Tyler Atkins
Producer: Cathy Flannery (Graduate Diploma in Producing & Screen Business, 2011)


Radiance (1998)
Director: Rachel Perkins (Specialist Extension Course Certificate Producing, 1995)
Cinematographer: Warwick Thornton (Bachelor of Arts (Film & Television) Cinematography, 1995)
Art director: Catherine Mansill (AFTRS Certificate, 1991)
Sound supervisor: John Dennison (Diploma Directing, 1983)
Sound recordist: Bronwyn Murphy (Diploma Sound, 1982)


Producer: Rolf de Heer (Diploma Directing, 1979)
Editor: Tania Nehma (AFTRS Certificate, 1990)

Acts for the Invisible
Writer/director/producer: Kate Vinen
Executive producer: Bethany Bruce
Cinematographer: Petra Leslie
Production designer: Emily Jansz
Editor: Liam Clark
Composer: Julia Potter
Sound designer: Nathan Turnbull
Sound recordists: Ingrid Rowell, Luke Fuller, Ruby Bonnett
Additional cinematography: James Ward-Miller
First assistant camera: Cameron Dunlop, Pete Moses
First assistant director: Adam Finney
Production manager: Kayla Groombridge
WHS risk assessment officer: Roger Graham
Covid safety officers: Erin Faris-Scherer, Kate Prior
Gaffer: Kenny Pettigrew
Grip: Lester Bishop
Best boy: Steffanie Watson
Grip assistant: Kaan Cansiz
Art department assistants: Luka Yates, Angelina Tsinganos Cortazzo


Wash My Soul in the River’s Flow
Director: Phillippa Bateman
Cinematographers: Allan Collins (Specialist Extension Course Certificate Cinematography, 1996), Bonnie Elliot (Master of Arts: Film, Television and Digital Media Cinematography, 2006)
Editor: Lily Davis (Diploma in Editing Fundamentals, 2016)


Director: Mariella S. Solano
Producer Taylor Venter
Cinematographer: Julian Pertout
Production and costume designer/costume supervisor: Chloe Beckley
Editor: Tiffany Liu
Composer: Jai Pyne
Sound supervisor: Alex Linder
Sound recordist/boom operator: Alfred Faber
First assistant camera: Jordan Benjamin
Assistant camera: Kerry Chavez, Willow Driver, Jono Le Grice, Justin Mclean
First assistant director: Anna Mutuanene
Gaffers: Gabriel Morrison, Roger Stonehouse
Art department assistant: Renee Liptak
Makeup artist/WHS risk assessment: Taylor Venter
Stills photographer: Parish Malfitano

Director: Ismail Khan (Master of Arts Screen, 2020)
Producer/production coordinator: Skye Leon (Bachelor of Arts Screen: Production student)
Cinematographer: James Ward-Miller (Master of Arts Screen, 2020; Graduate Certificate Screen: Cinematography, 2018)
Editor: Alexander Cox (Master of Arts Screen, 2020)
Production and costume designer: Sharna Graham
Composer: James Mountain (Master of Arts Screen, 2020)
Sound supervisor/sound recordist/re-recording mixer: Sean Doyle (Master of Arts Screen, 2020)
Associate producer: Tace Stevens (Bachelor of Arts Screen: Production student)
Boom operators: Andrew Dean, Andrew Burvill
First assistant camera: Christine Anderson (Bachelor of Arts Screen: Production, 2018) , Alyssa Montgomery (Bachelor of Arts Screen: Production, 2018), Trudi Gultom (Diploma in Camera, 2017)
Second assistant camera/data wrangler: Lucky Dreamer, Marco Ocampo
First assistant director: Sophy Robertson
Second assistant director: Emily Mitchell
Continuity: Manul Gunaratne, Lily Cameron Hayes
Gaffer: Joshua Wiggins, Russell Fewtrell
Grips: Chris Davies, David Nichols
Lighting assistant: Rachel Gammel (Bachelor of Arts Screen: Production student), Nico Nalbandian, Jasper Fox (Bachelor of Arts (Screen), 2017)
Art department/costume assistant: Robbie Archer
Armourer: Daniel Martin
Makeup artist: Briana Garbutt
Safety officer: Roger Graham
COVID Safety officer: Ella Zaman
Unit managers: Andrew Burvill, Benjamin Menday
Stills photographer: Biz Adams
Foley Engineer: Andrew Dean
Titles and credits: Robbie Archer
Colourist: Ian Tyley (Master of Arts Screen, 2020)
Music mixer: Geir S. Brillian

The Butter Scene
Director: Kate Blackmore (AFTRS Lecturer – Documentary)
Producer: Bethany Bruce (AFTRS Senior Lecturer – Producing)
First assistant director: Craig D. Foster (Graduate Certificate Screen: Directing, 2018)
Assistant editor: Annie Zhang (Diploma in Editing Fundamentals, 2016; Diploma in Camera Fundamentals, 2016)

Finding Jedda
Director: Tanith Glynn-Maloney
Composer: Freya Berkhout (Graduate Diploma in Screen Music, 2013)


Deafying Gravity
Director/writer: Samuel Martin (Bachelor of Arts Screen: Production, 2019)
Producer: Rebekah Ward (Bachelor of Arts Screen: Production, 2019)

We Have Me
Director/writer: Jacob Melamed (Graduate Certificate Screen: Directing, 2018)
Cinematographer: Alex Serafini (Graduate Certificate in Cinematography Fundamentals, 2013)