Australian Directors' Guild
Kauthar Abdulalim is an Australian writer-director with East-African and South-Asian heritage. She is the winner of the BMW Short Film Competition at the 2018 Indian Film Festival of Melbourne for her film 'FOUND' that explored everyday Islamophobia in Australia. She is also a graduate of Film Victoria's Story Lab initiative. Kauthar received a Film Victoria placement where she went on to become the Impact Producer of an ABC feature documentary, 'YOU SEE MONSTERS', a film exploring how six Australian-Muslim artists combat racism and Islamophobia through their art.
In 2019, Kauthar was selected to undertake a one-year writer's fellowship by Cinespace Inc. and the Australian government where her research explored the cultural consultancy process within the Australian screen industry. She then had the opportunity to present her research that same year at the Human Rights Arts & Film Festival in Melbourne.
Screen Australia has backed Kauthar's web-series 'SALMA'S SEASON' with production funding, and the series is being produced under her own independent production company, Blacksand Pictures, where she is collaborating with both new and experienced writers. Some of her recent works include a short film, 'THE NINTH TOWER' that had its World Premiere at the 2021 Melbourne International Film Festival and a TikTok series ‘#MATCHED’ that also received production funding for season two.
Kauthar has worked as a Production Manager on the SBS feature documentary, 'OUR AFRICAN ROOTS'. She has formally trained in documentary filmmaking, has a degree in Islamic Studies and continues to work as an Impact Producer in social justice filmmaking.
Check out more of Kauthar's work here.
Let's dive into Kauthar's work...
1. #MATCHED (TikTok Series)
#MATCHED is a TikTok sensation that follows a hellbent woman in her late twenties as she embarks on a dating rampage to find 'THE ONE'. Kauthar created, directed and executive produced the series which just wrapped its second season. #MATCHED Season Two was not only funded for production by Screen Australia, Film Victoria and TikTok, it also implimented what is believed to be Australia's first Inclusion Rider in the Screen Sector. The Rider was designed to create a production-specific cultural safety policy for the Muslim cast and crew involved, in consultation with Muslim community leaders. Read more about #MATCHED here and watch Season One here.
2. THE NINTH TOWER
When the Victorian Government locks down his public-housing building, a teenager responsible for his mother's welfare is pushed to the brink. THE NINTH TOWER had its World Premiere at the 69th Melbourne International Film Festival. Read more here.
AP Pobjoy is a trans and queer ADG nominated writer, director and documentary-maker based on unceded Gadigal Land. Growing up between Melbourne and Far North Queensland, AP’s work focuses on outnumbered perspectives with a passion for Australian storytelling. Their work has been recognised by The Age, Stronger Than Fiction, RUUSH Magazine and Global Citizen and was nominated for BBFF’s ‘Young Australian Filmmaker of the Year' for their debut short, ‘Backing Up Bilitis.’
At the start of 2020, AP was selected to be a part of the Emerging Practitioners Program at AIDC provided through Film Victoria. Shortly after, they began developing, writing and directing their first television documentary entitled WHY DID SHE HAVE TO TELL THE WORLD? Executive Produced by Sue Maslin and in association with Film Victoria and Screen Australia. WHY DID SHE HAVE TO TELL THE WORLD? opened the ABCTV Compass season for 2021 and went on to be nominated for an Australian Directors Guild Award. WHY DID SHE HAVE TO TELL THE WORLD also went on to win ‘Best Film’ at Mardi Grad Film Festival’s My Queer Career, was nominated for the presitgous Iris Prize.
AP is also an emerging screenwriter. They have been on the ground as a note taker and contributor in many writers rooms, including Screen Australia Supported Snapchat Show APOLLO and Tik-Tok Series SCATTERED. They were most recently the Script Coordinator for the new ABC Comedy Show RETROGRADE, written by Meg O’Connell and Anna Barnes. AP is also the recipient for the FILM VICTORIA 2021 SCREEN DEVELOPMENT, a 12-month rotation working inside of Film Victoria, ABC and FremantleMedia in feature and series development.
Currently, AP is a part of AIDC’s 2022 initiative DOC.LAB.INTERACT developing a self-sustaining queer archive, writing an audio documentary series as well as creating a reality show - the first of its kind globally.
AP is also the Development Coordinator at AQUARIUS FILMS.
Check out AP's work here.
Let's dive into AP's work...
1. WHY DID SHE HAVE TO TELL THE WORLD? (documentary short)
AP's debut award-winning television documentary, WHY DID SHE HAVE TO TELL THE WORLD, is an story about a pivotal moment within Queer history. Following Francesca Curtis and Phyllis Papps are many things. Researchers. Writers. Ultra-Feminists. Partners. They are also the first lesbian couple to come out on national television almost fifty years ago. Putting everything on the line, Phyllis and Francesca appeared on ABC TV This Day Tonight’s interview about lesbianism in October 1970. Now in the final years of their lives, the couple open up about love, loss and political change, solidified inside a fifty year relationship. A powerful and inspiring film about acceptance set against Australia’s fight for marriage equality. The documentary opened the ABCTV Compass Season and went on to be nominated for an ADG Award. Watch it here.
2. BACKING UP BILITIS (short film).
Seventeen-year-old closeted Jane creates an underground event in the basement of her suburban home, all on the brink of Melbourne's first gay liberation movement. In partnership with the Australian Queer Archives and Aztec Records Australia, Backing Up Bilitis, shot enirely on 16mm, pays homage to the birth of Melbourne's liberation movement and Australia's first gay rights group, 'The Daughters of Bilitis.' Read more here.
ADG Team Member, Claudia Bailey, talks to our Spotlight Member
AP Pobjoy about how they juggle making their own projects whilst also working full time, their research process for projects (as many of their projects are rooted in the Liberation Era and Queer history) and what keeps the fire burning to keep directing.
Tin Pang is an award-winning film and television director/writer. He studied at the Griffith Film School at the Queensland College of Art in Brisbane, before completing the industry renowned USC/Universal Producing and Directing intensive program at the University of Southern California in 2008.
His breakout short film, MOTHER, CHILD, exploring the trauma of survivors of stroke and their carers, premiered in the acclaimed Accelerator program of the 65th Melbourne International Film Festival in 2017. The film screened at Flickerfest, St Kilda Film Festival, HollyShorts, World-Fest Houston, Coronado Island Film Festival, and the Legacy Film Festival on Aging in San Francisco. The film would go on to win ‘Best Short Fiction (50 mins or less)’ at the 2017 ATOM Awards in Melbourne.
In 2021, Tin was chosen to direct RADICAL HONESTY, a proof of concept comedy short written by Neilesh Verma and Suren Jayemanne. The project was one of five taking part in the Equity Foundation’s Screen Diversity Showcase 2021, with major support from Screen Australia, and partners at the Australian Directors’ Guild and the Australian Writers’ Guild.
After joining HOME AND AWAY as an assistant director in 2018, Tin began directing on the series as part of a director’s attachment with renowned director Ian Watson in early 2022. Tin is attached as a director on a TV kids drama currently in development at Beyond Productions. He is also actively developing a number of original projects, including a television comedy series and a romantic comedy feature.
Let's dive into Tin's work...
1. MOTHER, CHILD (short film)
MOTHER, CHILD is an award-winning Australian short film that follows two characters over a period of 15 minutes in real time, and all in one continuous shot. Having suffered a recent Stroke, a mother and her adult son are reacquainted and forced to live together. As they face the physical and psychological challenges head on, they're placed on an emotional collision course, leading them to question whether their close proximity is such a good idea. Watch on Omeleto here.
2.. RADICAL HONESTY (short film)
RADICAL HONESTY is a proof of concept comedy short that was part of our 2021 Screen Diversity Showcase. Tin was selected to direct the project, written by Neilesh Verma and Suren Jayemanne. After a couples therapy session, an eager yet clumsy Rohan finds himself attempting to navigate an unexpectedly frank conversation with his girlfriend Sophie. Radical Honesty was selected to screen at the 11th Peninsula Film Festival and Gold Coast Film Festival as part of their SIPFest Program.
ANDREW UNDI LEE
A graduate of both UTS (Design) and AFTRS (Drama Directing), Andrew Undi Lee is a queer, Australian-born Korean director, writer, producer and production designer. Recipient of the Kenneth B Myer Award for Exceptional Talent, he also received the Young Australian Korean Filmmaker Award from the Korean Consulate of Australia.
His short film MELON GRAB screened at the 2017 Sydney International Film Festival and was nominated for a Dendy Award for Best Short Film with Andrew nominated as Best Director. Andrew also received a nomination for the Australian Director's Guild Best Direction in a Short Drama for the film.
Most recently a writer for ABC’s BORN TO SPY, TROPPO, a Korean consultant for THE NEWSREADER and AFTER THE VERDICT. Andrew is currently in several writing rooms for other television series in development. He is also writing NIGHT BLOOMERS, a Korean Australian horror series he created through I.C.E. and Film Independent’s international mentorship workshop – a project which has been commissioned by SBS through Screen Australia and SBS’s Digital Originals program. Shooting to commence in 2022.
Andrew is also part of the 2021 Screen Diversity Showcase as a screen director with the Equity Foundation initiative. As well as being a part of the 2022 Midsumma Queer Play Writing award for his two hander stage play No Asians.
Let's dive into Undi's work...
1. NIGHT BLOOMERS (web series)
Night Bloomers is an anthology of horror stories from the Korean diaspora. With a goblin stowaway and monsters hunting in the night, the heroes of Night Bloomers experience a world of fractured identities and unresolved yearnings. This chilling horror was just announced as one of the four new dramas commissioned through the Digital Originals Initiative. Congrats to Undi and your whole team. Read about it here.
An uncertain future dawns upon two young best friends as one of them is moving away from their coastal hometown. Their way of dealing with it is skateboarding as the descending sun marks a new point in their lives. This short was actually nominated for an ADG Award for Best Direction in a short film in 2018 AND it was a recipient for @screenaustralia 'Hot Shots' and 'Arts Central'.
Tucked away in a forgotten and isolated motel, a "lad" encounters a returning soldier coping with post-traumatic stress disorder. The brief encounter is a soft collision of two characters both lost
Executive Director, Alaric McAusland talks to ADG member Andrew Undi Lee about his journey into the foundations of his storytelling, insight into different funding options for emerging directors and what the future holds for Undi, specifically the strides he is taking in instigating opportunities for Korean-Australians.
SAMUEL VAN GRINSVEN
Samuel Van Grinsven is a writer and director whose debut feature film SEQUIN IN A BLUE ROOM won the Audience Award at the 2019 Sydney Film Festival.
It soon became a festival hit screening globally at festivals including Palm Springs International Film Festival, TIFF Next Wave, BFI Flare and MIFF. Nominations for AACTA and ADG Awards followed, as well as domestic and international theatrical releases.
He is currently in development on his second feature WENT UP THE HILL, an Australia / New Zealand co-production with Causeway Films (The Babadook) and POP Film (Savage).
Executive Director Alaric McAusland talks to ADG member Samuel Van Grinsven about his journey across the ditch with a family of professional impersonators, finding his voice in experimental theatre in Brisbane and finding his collaborators at film school. Sam steps through the casting and production of his award winning graduate project ‘Sequin in a Blue Room’, its queer and mainstream festival strategy and picking up a global distributor.