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35 AFTRS Student and Alumni Films on Show at Melbourne International Film Festival

Still from ‘Sunset Country’ | Dir. Petra Leslie

A staggering 35 feature, short and documentary films by AFTRS students and alumni have been selected for the 2021 Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF).

Three short films made by AFTRS students have been chosen for the highly competitive short film program.

Alba was written and directed by Mariella S. Solano while studying the Bachelor of Arts Screen: Production. Fellow student collaborators on the film included cinematographer Julian Pertout, production and costume designer Chloe Beckley, editor Tiffany Lui and sound supervisor Alex Linder, and several other crew members.

Sunburn was directed by Jaslyn Mairs, written by Claudia Bailey and produced by Ben Bauchet while completing the Bachelor of Arts Screen: Production course, with alum Lev Jutsen co-producing. Student heads of department included cinematographer Gabriel Morrison, sound supervisor Eli Potter and production designer Sidonie Pitot, with AFTRS graduates in key roles, including sound recordist Tahira Bales-Donohoe and editor Angus Roche. The film stars well-known actors Brenna Harding and Zoe Terakes. It has previously screened at CinefestOz, WA (2020); Brisbane International Film Festival (2020); Berlin Student Film Festival, Germany (2021); Flickerfest (2021); Gold Coast Film Festival (2021); and the Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival, Israel (2021).

Sunset Country will have its World Premiere at MIFF. Director and cinematographer, Petra Leslie, completed the film as part of the Master of Arts Screen: Cinemtography program, with fellow students in key positions including Nathan Turnbull (sound supervisor), James Taylor (editor), Eirena Sapounas (production designer), James Mountain (composer). Petra’s cast include Raelee Hill, Trevor Hanna and Chris Davies.

All three films have also both been invited to MIFF’s Accelerator Lab, a four-day program of workshops, screenings, seminars and networking events on the business and creative aspects of the film industry, run by leading local and international film practitioners, for short film directors seeking to make the transition to feature film-making.

AFTRS CEO Nell Greenwood said: “These three exceptional short films are brilliant demonstrations of AFTRS’ commitment to the pursuit of excellence and the strength of the creative collaborations that are formed between our student cohort and recent alumni. Our congratulations to all of the cast and crew.”

In addition to these three short films, works made by AFTRS alumni feature strongly in the MIFF program announced yesterday, including When Pomegranates Howl, from writer/director Granaz Moussavi; Araatika: Rise Up! from writer/director Larissa Behrendt; and the world premiere of River, directed by Jennifer Peedom and produced by Jo-Anne McGowan and Paul Wiegard. A total of 32 films from AFTRS alumni have been selected to screen at MIFF this year.

See the full Melbourne International Film Festival program for 2021.



The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson
Producer: Greer Simpkin
(Director: Leah Purcell)

Lone Wolf
(International premiere)
Director/writer/co-producer: Jonathan Ogilvie
Producer: Mat Govoni
Editor: Bernadette Murray
Sound designer: Liam Egan

(International premiere)
Executive producer: Paul Wiegard
(Director: Justin Kurzel)

(World premiere)
Composer: Angela Little
Assembly editor: Stephanie O’Brien
Dialogue editor: Liam Price
Starring: Hunter Page-Lochard
(Director: Tyson Wade Johnston)

When Pomegranates Howl
Director/screenwriter: Granaz Moussavi

Vacant Possession (1995)
Cinematographer: Dion Beebe
Re-recording mixer/sound supervisor: John Dennison
Sound recordist: Bronwyn Murphy
(Director: Magot Nash)

NFSA Restores: Radiance (1998)
(World premiere)
Director: Rachel Perkins
Cinematographer: Warwick Thornton
Art director: Catherine Mansill
Sound supervisor: John Dennison
Sound recordist: Bronwyn Murphy


(World premiere)
Director: Alec Morgan
Executive producer: Sue Maslin

Anonymous Club
(World premiere)
Producer: Samantha Dinning
(Director: Danny Cohen)

Araatika: Rise Up!
(World premiere)
Director/screenwriter: Larissa Behrendt
Producer: Sam Griffin
Cinematographer: Justine Kerrigan
Editor: Andrea Lang

Hating Peter Tatchell
(Australian premiere)
Editor: Bergen O’Brien
(Director: Christopher Amos)

I’m Wanita
(Australian premiere)
Director: Matthew Walker
Producer: Claire Lewis
Composer: Jonathan Dower
Cinematographer: Simon Cunich
Sound designer and mixer: Luke Mynott

(World premiere)
Editor: Karen Johnson
(Director: Ben Lawrence)

Off Country
(World premiere)
Directors: John Harvey, Rhian Skirving
Produce: John Harvey
Screenwriter: John Harvey

Palazzo di Cozzo
(World premiere)
Producer: Samantha Dinning
Cinematographer: Vincent Lamberti
Sound effects editor: Lachlan Harris
(Director: Madeleine Martiniello)

(World premiere)
Director/writer/producer: Jennifer Peedom
Producers: Jo-Anne McGowan, Paul Wiegard

Uluru and the Magician
(World premiere)
Producer: Rachel Clements
(Director: Anna Broinowski)

Wash My Soul in the River’s Flow
(World premiere)
Cinematographers: Allan Collins, Bonnie Elliot
(Director: Phillippa Bateman)

The Kids
(Australian premiere)
Cinematographer: Hugh Miller
Composer: Michael Yezerski
(Director: Eddie Martin)


Sunset Country
(World premiere)
Director: Petra Leslie (Master of Arts Screen, 2020)

Director: Mariella S. Solano (Bachelor of Arts Screen: Production, 2019)

Director: Jaslyn Mairs (Bachelor of Arts Screen: Production, 2019)

(World premiere)
Editor: Jessie Hildebrand
(Director: Brietta Hague)

Beautiful They
(Australian premiere)
Editor: Stewart Arnott

Call History
Director/producer/screenwriter: Lillian Patterson
Producer: Rachel Argall
Editor: Amalia Walker

Don’t Forget to Go Home
Director/screenwriter: Victoria Singh-Thompson
Producer: Linus Carey Gibson
Cinematographer: Lucca Barone-Peters
Editor: Trent Mitchell
Production designer: Aaron Healey

The Echo
Director/producer/screenwriter: Michael Gupta
Editor: Stewart Arnott
Production Designer: Bethany Ryan

Finding Jedda
(World premiere)
Composer: Freya Berkhout
(Director: Tanith Glynn-Maloney)

(World premiere)
Cinematographer: Alex Serafini
(Director: Eddy Bell)

Producer: Rachel Argall
Screenwriter/editor: James Fraser
Cinematographer: Grégoire Lière
Composer: Freya Berkhout
Costume designer: Laura Anna Lucas
(Director: Madeleine Gottlieb)

Not a Wallflower
Director/screenwriter: Lianne Mackessy
Editor/composer: Julian Neuhaus

Cinematographer: Emma Paine
(Director: Jeremy Brull)

You and Me, Before and After
(World premiere)
Producers: Cyna Strachan, Liam Heyen
(Director: Madeleine Gottlieb)


With the Cattle
Director/producer: Cameron Dunlop
Cinematographer: Ian Tyley
Composer: James Mountain
Editor: Liam Clark

Freedom Swimmer
(World premiere)
Cinematographer: Michael Filocamo