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Ones To Watch: AFTRS Student and Alumni Film Festival Hits

Still from ‘The Retreat’ | Dir. Victoria Zerbst

AFTRS students and alumni are taking on the festival circuit. They’re touring the globe and celebrating premieres, awards, nominations and rave reviews. Set for appearances at some of the world’s biggest film festivals, these works are showcasing the impressive talents of our students and alumni during their time at the School.

After screening at the Australian Women’s Film Festival earlier this month, The Granny Flat, the AFTRS capstone project of Rachel Mackey (Bachelor of Arts Screen: Production, 2018) has claimed the festival’s Best Comedy Film award. Made with a team of Mackey’s AFTRS classmates, The Granny Flat had its premiere at Revelation Perth International Film Festival in 2019 and has charmed audiences across the globe including Nashville Film Festival, St. Louis Internationa Film Festival, Festivals des Antipodes in Saint Tropez and Cannes, Vail Film Festival in Colorado, Flickerfest and Canberra Short Film Festival.

Twenty student and alumni works will appear at Gold Coast Film Festival (14-21 April), including four AFTRS capstone films screening as part of the festival’s SIPFest short film competition. Deborah Brown’s (Master of Arts Screen, 2019) Bala, Brittany Xu’s (Bachelor of Arts Screen: Production, 2019) Like How I Remember, Victoria Zerbst and Sophie-Eugenie Dessertaine-Williams’ (Master of Arts Screen graduand) The Retreat and Jaslyn Mairs’ (Bachelor of Arts Screen: Production, 2019) Sunburn will feature in the showcase on Saturday 17 April. Also featured in the lineup is 2017 Master of Arts Screen graduate Thomas Wilson-White’s debut feature The Greenhouse, which recently claimed Mardi Gras Film Festival Best Narrative Feature Audience award and is set for its international premiere at BFI Flare: LGBTIQ+ Film Festival (17-28 March). Commencing work on the film during his final year at AFTRS, writer/director Wilson-White collaborated with a team of fellow AFTRS classmates on the project.

Earlier this month, Bala had its UK premiere at Manchester Film Festival (11-14 March 2021) and screened as part of Birrarangga Film Festival (11-14 March 2021) in Melbourne. This follows the film’s previous stops at Asinakba Film & Media Arts Festival, ImagineNATIVE Film and Arts Festival, Toronto and Flickerfest.

After screening at Berlin Student Film Festival in January, Xanthe Dobbie’s (Master of Arts Screen, 2019) Elagabalus was awarded the festival’s Juror’s Choice Award. The screening is the latest of several recent festival stops including NewFest in New York, Uppsala Short Film Festival in Sweden, Film School Fest in Munich, CinefestOZ and image+nation Montreal LGBTQueer Festival. On the lineup alongside Elagabalus at Berlin Student Film Festival were Jaslyn Mairs’ Sunburn and Shannon Ashlyn’s (Master of Arts Screen, 2018; Diploma in Grading, 2017) Sweet Tooth.

After appearing at Uppsala Short Film Festival (Sweden), Providence Children’s Film Festival in Rhode Island (12-21 Feb 2021) and Berlin Student Film Festival, and earning Flickerfest’s Best Original Music Award for composer Jorde Heys (Master of Arts Screen, 2019), Archie Chew’s 2019 Master of Arts Screen graduate film, The End, The Beginning has just made its latest appearance at BUFF Malmö Filmfestival in Sweden.

Unwilted, the graduate film of Nicola Macindoe (Bachelor of Arts Screen: Production, 2018), made its way to Melbourne Women in Film Festival in February, screening as part of the Best of Next Gen program. Since making its debut at Female Filmmakers Film Festival in Berlin Unwilted has screened at Changing Face International Film Festival, New York’s Dumbo Film Festival and Vesuvius International Monthly Film Festival.

Millie Malcolm’s (Graduate Certificate Screen: Directing, 2018) The Familiars has continued its expansive world tour, making a stop at HorrorHound Film Festival, Ohio in March and being now en route to Imagine Film Festival, Amsterdam in April. Previous appearances for the film include Revelation Film Festival, Telluride Horror Show Colorado, Maniatic Film Festival in Spain, San Sebastian Horror and Fantasy Film Festival and Rhode Island International Film Festival’s Vortex Sci-Fi Fantasy & Horror Film Festival.

Also on show in the coming month is Chloë Beckley’s (Bachelor of Arts Screen: Production, 2019) Save Our Soul, which has been selected for Human Rights Arts & Film Festival, Melbourne, running from 22 April to 2 May.

Keep an eye out for more exciting announcements to come and stay up to date by following us on AFTRS’ Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.