Elissa Down’s films embrace the emotional. She is a true “actors’ director”. On set, Elissa creates a warm and genuinely collaborative environment for her performers to explore their characters. Her films do not shy away from moments of fragility, intimacy and confronting realism. For Elissa, these are the scenes that define her work. The results are inspiring, funny and heartfelt. These are stories that connect with audiences all over the world.
Elissa’s assured debut feature, The Black Balloon, won the Crystal Bear for Best Feature Film “Generation 14plus” at the Berlin Film Festival as well as 6 Australian Film Institute (AACTA) awards including Best Film, Best Direction and Best Screenplay. The film received over thirty awards, including accolades from the Australia Directors’ and Writers’ Guilds, Asia Pacific Screen Awards and Rotten Tomatoes.
The Honor List, Elissa’s latest film for Lionsgate, had its premiere as the opening night film at the Bentonville Film Festival in May 2018. Written by Marilyn Fu and produced by Liz Destro for Destro Films, the film deals with themes of loss and female friendship set against that awkward senior year of high school. The crew on the film was 60% female.
Recent work includes writing and directing the 7-part drama, Confess, for Awestruck and go90 (which landed with an incredible social media response) and a directing block on Australia’s most successful drama, Offspring.
She is currently in production in Canada, directing the multi-million dollar Netflix film, Feel The Beat.