SA short film bound for US festival – Palm Springs

South Australian emerging director Sean Lahiff hopes more international success for his short film Smashed will drive his career to the next level.

After success at the Berlin International Film Festival earlier this year, Smashed has justscreened at the Sydney Film Festival and is heading for Palm Springs International ShortFest in California later this month.

But Lahiff won’t be on a plane to the US for the festival. He’s too busy working, editing a new sci-fi thriller with David Arquette called The Wheel.

“I’m also getting ready to start editing the new Wolf Creek series for Stan and Screentime, which is due to start shooting early in July,” he says from an editing studio in Adelaide.

“I’m looking at a number of other new projects at present.”

Lahiff, one of the first Bachelor (Creative Arts) graduates at Flinders University, has worked on a range of film projects, from Aussie cult horror to Hollywood blockbusters, including The Hunger GamesThe Great GatsbyGravityWolf Creek 2 and The Darkness.

He also edited the new feature film Jungle, which will open the 2017 Melbourne International Film Festival in August for its world premiere. Starring Daniel Radcliffe, the film is directed by Wolf Creek director Greg McLean and set in the depths of the Amazon jungles.

Smashed is described as a coming-of-age story told from the perspective of adolescent males.

The low-budget film scooped the pool at the SA Screen Awards this year, taking five local awards – Best Short (for Michael Clarkin), Best Directing (Sean Lahiff), Best Cinematography (Maxx Corkindale), Best Editing (Sean Lahiff) and Best Sound Design (Andrew Graue).

Clarkin, Lahiff and scriptwriter Dave Haddin were also behind Too Dark, a companion piece to Smashed, which took out two awards in 2016 (Best Performance and Best Sound Design).

Other Flinders graduates were among the winners at this year’s 19th annual SA Screen Awards, including Kirsty Stark for Walter (Best Comedy)which was a runner-up at the 2016 St Kilda Film Festival.

Stark produced the ABC iView web series Goober, which was a finalist for Best Web Series, won this year by Alex Keay for Almost Midnight (Keay was also named Best Emerging Producer; Almost Midnight featured direction by Stephen Banham from Flinders). Writer-director Banham won Best Screenplay for Heaps Good Hostel at the 2016 SA Screen Awards.

The Independent Spirit Award was won by Stephanie Jaclyn, another emerging writer-director and Flinders graduate, in recognition of her web series called Freemalesa six-episode rom-com series made by young women for young women. This award caps a stellar start to the year for Jaclyn, who recently won an inaugural Helpmann Fellowship to develop her skills and network in London.

“Across all nominations there was a diverse range of funded and grassroot filmmakers stamping their mark on the industry,” said Gail Kovatseff, director of awards organiser Media Resource Centre.