Flyer artwork of two abstract faces from ACMI collateral.

Sneak preview: the 47th Annual Graduate Film Screenings

By Alix Bromley

Emerging Australian filmmakers from the Victorian College of the Arts take centre stage for the 47th Annual Graduate Screenings this month at ACMI.

The annual public screenings are the first chance to see the work of Australia’s best up-and-coming filmmakers before their release to the international film circuit, showcasing a range of narrative, documentary and animated shorts.

We spoke to six of this year’s graduating directors – find out what they had to say about their films.


The Big Dark

Robert McKinstry, Bachelor of Fine Arts (Animation)

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“The Big Dark explores the idea of letting go and seeing what happens, good or bad either way you learn and change.

“I could say how in depth the meaning behind the story is, but to be honest for me The Big Dark was more about finally creating a film that reflected my art style and experimented with my sound production.

“So often I’ll start a project and work too slowly, creating disinterest in what I’m doing. To me, The Big Dark is more of a reflection on what I can create if I find the right work ethic, and realising something looks incomplete until the second it’s done.”



Lara Kose, Master of Film and Television (Narrative)

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“Crush was a way for me to explore gender roles: how we’re programmed to behave as our assigned genders at birth.

“It was inspired by the true story of a woman in a small village in Turkey, who was sexually assaulted by a man from her community for a whole year. Everyone knew it was happening but nobody did anything about it, and it drove her to violently and publicly kill him.

“Crush is a story about a boy and a girl and how they treat each other and why, but it’s also about how men and women treat each other more broadly, and what happens when someone’s voice is taken from them.”


I Am Here and You Are Out There

Leah Sanderson, Master of Film and Television (Documentary)

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“The first day I went to prison I met Wez. I was teaching Shakespeare. He was serving time for armed robbery. Inside he performed Shakespeare to mesmerised audiences. Outside – absence of routine throws his days into chaos.

“Cinematographer Marleena Forward and I travelled back and forth to Queensland, where Wez agreed to talk to camera. In August we finished sharing stories, silliness, and seas of trouble.

“It didn’t turn out quite as I’d imagined – but if it did, nothing would be learned.”


Matthew Victor Pastor, Master of Film and Television (Narrative)

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“Why do you want to go and make a film in the Red Light District of Manila”, my mother screamed. She begged me not to go back to the Philippines to film but I insisted.

“My wife Lisac Pham (actor, lead role of The Filipino Mom) and parents suffered through the process of the production. Mum had shielded me from the harsh realities of the motherland, in some hope to create an identity for the Pastor household.

“I am JUPITER I am the BIGGEST PLANET is the most personal film I’ve ever made. It’s about my family and where we come from. It’s my most painful film also, but the one I’m most proud of.”


Ten Thousand

Biddy O’Loughlin, Bachelor of Fine Arts (Film and Television)

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“Ten Thousand is an Australian Western with a heroine. We shot it south of my home town, Alice Springs, on an old film set.

“I saw our leading man, a Spanish backpacker, at the local open mic night and thought to myself, ‘that’s a handsome man!’ With the script in my guitar case, I offered him the part right away.

“Alfonso had never acted before and he was worried about his accent – but there’s no dialogue! I think he gives the film a great Spaghetti Western look and his performance is impressively natural… I taught him everything he knows.”



Lauren Edson, Bachelor of Fine Arts (Animation)

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“The film began as collaboration between friends on a zine exploring the theme of touch. Touch can be interpreted in a multitude of ways, as it is integral to the human understanding.

“Here through muted tones and minimal movement, touch is presented as an alienating experience. One in which the character wants to connect but trauma causes them to see the world through a dissociative lens.

“Through small favors and occurrences, will they learn to re-engage with the world they’d given up on?”

A version of this article originally appeared on Channel, the Faculty’s previous publishing platform.