In summary

  • Swinburne’s film and TV graduates have hosted industry greats at a debut screening of the short films they produced during the final two years of their course

  • More than $10,000 in prizes supplied by industry were awarded to students for their short films, judged by Swinburne lecturers and industry representatives

  • Many of the films will now go on to compete at national and international film festivals

The cinematic talent of Swinburne’s final-year film and television students made an impressive splash at their graduate showcase at ACMI.

Exploring themes like grief, identity and ambition, the students debuted short films for an invite-only audience including representatives from industry leaders Screen Victoria, Matchbox, Dockland Studios and Fancy Films.

The Film and Television Graduating Students’ Screening and Industry Awards Night was part of the Department of Film, Games and Animation showcase.

The students’ films are the culmination of four years studying all facets of filmmaking. Ten industry-sponsored awards, judged by Swinburne lecturers and industry representatives, recognised their outstanding contributions. 

Many of the films will now go on to compete at top national and international film festivals.

Film and Television Course Director Associate Professor Max Schleser said it was a great way not only to celebrate the students’ achievements throughout their studies, but to introduce them to the industry.

“All the most prominent industry players are there,” he said.

“They sponsor us with awards for the students and they are always looking out for new talent. 

“Many of them go to a lot of other events that showcase emerging filmmakers, including other universities, and they always say Swinburne’s are the best.”

Students debuted their short films for an invite-only audience including representatives from industry leaders Screen Victoria, Matchbox, Dockland Studios, and Fancy Films.

Setting the bar high

This year’s graduates were the first cohort to complete the revised four-year Bachelor of Film and Television (Honours) degree, and Associate Professor Schleser said they’ve set a high standard.

The films were developed throughout the final two years of the course, with students refining their skills by performing different roles in each other’s productions.

“Film making isn’t easy, because you’re dealing with actors, locations, screen industry frameworks and regulations, equipment and lots of other variables during a short film production,” Associate Professor Schleser said.  

“The students’ work displayed great storytelling, cinematography, directing, editing and sound design.

“It was very hard to decide the winners of the awards because all the films were excellent, and it made us, the teaching and technical team, really proud of the students.”

Industry recognition

More than $10,000 in prizes were given to winners of the industry-sponsored awards, including film equipment, editing and mixing services, and a 10-day internship with Film Art Media.

“This will help students to push their projects even further to do really well at film festivals internationally,” Associate Professor Schleser said.

Best Film

The Ghost Hunter

Producer Amelia Nemet, Director Michael Hollis

Following the passing of Rod Roberts, renowned host of the tacky paranormal reality show ‘The Ghost Hunter’, his estranged daughter Bec struggles to find the means to grieve, blinded by her cynicism towards his career.

Best Director

Boxing day

Director Leigh Schilling

In the height of an Australian summer, a fun-loving eight-year-old boy experiences loss for the first time as he struggles to come to terms with the disintegration of his family unit.

Creative Innovation Award, Best Editor

Teach me how to cry

Producer Max Kearsley, writer/director Sampson Finegan, editor Sarah Riippa

Unable to tap into his emotions on stage, a middle-aged struggling actor is given one last chance to prove himself, and in turn, takes a class with an acting coach who promises to transform his performance. 

Creative Excellence in Film


Producer Adam May-Bower, writer/director Dani Macpherson

A young man moves to the outskirts of rural suburbia, where he is ostracised by the town and faces increasingly vicious harassment from two local bullies.

Best Sound Design, Best Cinematographer, Best Production Design (tied)


Sound design Hamish McKenna, cinematographer Jackson Hayat, production design Milla Pearl

A talented film cutter risks her career to extract revenge from her abusive ex and golden-era Hollywood heartthrob.

Best Script, Best Production Design (tied)

Come for dinner 

Writer/director Timna Katz, Production Design Milla Pearl

Avi, a young filmmaker only able to get work directing pornography, desperately hides her career from her expectant, religious Jewish family as she is unable to break out of the industry into ‘real’ filmmaking. At Rosh Hashanah dinner, the surprise understudy is revealed to us to be Avi’s ‘actor’ brother and her parents’ golden child.

Best producer


Producer Milla Pearl

As two rangers track an animal they hit as it flees deeper and deeper into the wilderness, their conflicting senses of duty come to a boiling point. Faced with what they find in the heart of the bush, one ranger’s apprehensions and deep emotional defensiveness for his past are revealed.

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