Still from The Holiday Inn-Side (2017), by Charbel Ibrahim.

Meet the filmmakers: VCA Film and Television Graduate Screenings

The annual VCA Film and Television Graduate Screenings showcase the talent of our Film & Television students. We caught up with four of this year’s graduating class.

By Scott McLachlan

Charby Ibrahim, Master of Film and Television (Documentary)

Tell us a bit about your graduating film, The Holiday Inn-Side.

Sixteen-year-old “Anonymous” has been in and out of juvenile detention for the last five years … and he finds himself “locked-up” yet again. As he moves around the confines of the secure facility in this fully-animated documentary, he tries to make sense of his past and the circumstances that have led him down this criminal path once more. He takes full responsibility for the crimes he has committed, and The Holiday Inn-Side asks one key question of its audience: “What would you do?”

What was your favourite thing about studying at the VCA?

It afforded me the space, energy and freedom to take my creative ideas from inception to completion over a relatively short period of time. It also allowed me the opportunity to develop and hone my documentary storytelling craft alongside reputable working filmmakers and a cohort of supremely talented young filmmakers.

What’s next for you after you graduate? 

Having just completed a month-long internship at a production company in Singapore (Beach House Pictures), I’m quite keen to get more of that kind of hands-on experience in a fast-paced, high-turnover production company to strengthen my filmmaking muscles. I’m also quite committed to writing, directing, and editing my own documentary films, and I’m particularly interested in pushing the boundaries of the traditional documentary form.

Lachie Pezet, Master of Film and Television (Narrative)

Tell us a bit about your graduating film, Water on the Brain.

Water on the Brain is a comedy about heartbreak and mermaids. Recently-dumped Shane travels to a seaside town to experience a non-refundable weekend for two. Hoping that the bargain price will entice his ex to show up, he instead finds a group of drunks pining for a mythical mermaid. The men’s tales of love and the sea intermingle over pints and he finds himself intoxicated by the possibility of an aquatic one-night stand.

Still from Water on the Brain (2017), by Lachie Bezet.
Still from Water on the Brain (2017), by Lachie Bezet.

What was your favourite thing about studying at the VCA?

The small class-size allowed great friendships and working relationships to grow. You’re encouraged to push yourself creatively and be self-motivated but, when you find yourself stuck, the whole class is there to share ideas and solutions. You feel like you belong to a collective of like-minded creatives and collaboration is encouraged by the teaching staff.

What’s next for you after you graduate? 

I’ll be submitting the short into festivals with hopes to interact with the film community outside of the VCA. I’ve learnt a lot about myself as a comedy director throughout production and the film is an example of my style and desire to find work in the comedy landscape.

To further develop the skills and processes I learned at the VCA, I’m currently writing a series of short films with my comedy partner Kimi Fox, with the plan of building a web platform for her stand-up material.

Chloe Stannard, Master of Producing

Tell us a bit about your graduating films.

I produced two films last year: a lo-fi mumblecore-inspired drama Waiting for Penguins by writer/director Jordan Sorby, and Man in the Moon, a high-concept drama written and directed by Monique Mulcahy.

Still from Babygirl (2017) directed by Lara Gissing and produced by Chloe Stannard.
Still from Babygirl (2017) directed by Lara Gissing and produced by Chloe Stannard and Eve Gill.

We’ve been fortunate to gain a lot of festival traction with Man in the Moon, travelling to Montreal for the Fantasia International Film Festival, and it recently took out the OZFLIX Award for Best Australian Student Short at MonsterFest 2017 here in Melbourne.

What was your favourite thing about studying at the VCA?

For me it was being thrown head-first into filmmaking – a kind of sink-or-swim situation as the Masters of Producing course is only 18-months long. I loved that, as it helped strengthen my self-confidence. The insight from our supervisor was also invaluable, much of which I continue to use day-to-day in production. The support of all the teachers and staff was amazing. It felt like a family to me and our class was very supportive of one another.

What’s next for you after you graduate?

This year I co-produced another VCA graduate short, Babygirl by Lara Gissing, and I also interned on a feature film produced by Maggie Miles. Next, I hope to produce more short films under my own production company and break into documentary and podcasting.

Anastasia Dyakova, Bachelor of Fine Arts (Animation)

Tell us a bit about your graduating film, Ready for a Baby.

A young woman in her thirties feels very happy and excited – she has a partner, everything in her life is under control, so now is the perfect time to have a baby. It should be easy and natural, with love and fun and everything else … right?

I want my story to be an opportunity to talk about the difficulties some people have to experience when trying to get pregnant. I want people to feel they are not alone. I want to explain to other people how these people feel. It is not just a problem for women, but my film is from a woman’s point of view.

Still from Ready for a Baby (2017) by Anastasia Dyakova.
Still from Ready for a Baby (2017) by Anastasia Dyakova.

What was your favourite thing about studying at the VCA?

Before coming to Australia, I tried careers in education, tourism, entertainment, architecture and interior design; but have never felt such a great feeling of being a part of a like-minded team with true passion before. My classmates are all in love with animation; they always experiment and all have different styles, and their enormous support allowed me to try new things. My mentors Paul Fletcher and Rob Stephenson have given me the opportunity to believe in myself and trust the process, be creative and venture into a new world of animation.

What’s next for you after you graduate?

I’m applying for jobs at a few different studios, and I’m also planning my next animation project. I would love to collaborate with another animators, composers and other filmmakers and artists.  I want animation to be an important part of my life and I will do whatever it takes.

The 49th Annual Film and Television Graduate Screenings will take place at ACMI, Melbourne, between 8–10 and 15–17 December. Visit the ACMI website for program details and tickets

Banner image: Still from The Holiday Inn-Side (2017) by Charbel Ibrahim.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *