AFTRS alumni have claimed major prizes and funding for their work at this year’s Mardi Gras Film Festival, as announced at the festival’s closing night gala and awards ceremony on 4 March.
After celebrating its world premiere at this year’s edition (held from 18 February to 4 March), 2017 Master of Arts Screen graduate Thomas Wilson-White’s debut feature The Greenhouse has won the festival’s $2,000 Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature.
Made with the help of a $10,000 grant from Queer Screen in association with the Mardi Gras Film Festival, writer/director Wilson-White commenced work on the film during his final year at AFTRS. He worked on the project alongside regular collaborator, producer Lizzie Cater and AFTRS classmates, composer Freya Berkhout (Graduate Diploma in Screen Music, 2013), cinematographer Daniel Bolt (Graduate Certificate in Cinematography Fundamentals, 2011), editor Kelly Cameron (Master of Screen Arts, 2017; Graduate Diploma in Editing, 2012), and post-production assistant Joyce Escuardro (Graduate Certificate Screen: Editing, 2017). Next stop for The Greenhouse is its international premiere at the British Film Institute’s 35th BFI Flare: London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival (17-28 March), to be followed by an appearance at Gold Coast Film Festival in April.
Web series, Thirty, directed by Leah Pellinkhof (Graduate Certificate Screen: Cinematography, 2018; Graduate Certificate in Directing, 2016) has been named this year’s Queen Screen Completion Fund recipient, securing $5,000 in funding towards the series’ production. Thirty features the work of AFTRS alumni, editor Jessie Hildebrand (Master of Arts Screen, 2018; Graduate Diploma in Editing, 2011), cinematographer Samuel Foster (Graduate Certificate Screen: Directing, 2018), production designer Carita Gronroos (Diploma in Design for the Screen, 2016), sound recordist Stuart Melvey (Master of Arts Screen, 2018) and script supervisor Grace O’Connell (Diploma in Editing, 2017). The series recently claimed NYC WebFest’s Best Dramedy prize after screening at the festival’s virtual 2020 edition.
Recognised as part of the annual My Queer Career emerging filmmaker competition, Abby Pobjoy’s Why Did She Have To Tell The World? executive produced by Sue Maslin (Master of Screen Arts and Business, 2013) won the $3,000 Best Film prize, while Olivia Aleksoski’s Her Own Music, lensed by Carina Burke (Graduate Certificate Screen: Cinematography, 2017), received the $3,500 audience award.
Both films screened as finalists in the program alongside fellow alum, Lillian Patterson’s (Foundation Diploma, 2011) Call History, produced by Rachel Argall (Graduate Certificate in Screenwriting Fundamentals, 2012) and edited by Amalia Walker (Foundation Diploma, 2011).
See the full list of Mardi Gras Film Festival’s 2021 winners here.