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Curtin graduates win prestigious film award

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A number of young Curtin Screen Arts graduates have been lauded at a prestigious Chicago International Children’s Film Festival, for their short film Play Lunch.

23 year old director, Cassandra Nguyen
23 year old director, Cassandra Nguyen

Filmed at Rossmoyne Primary School, the film took out the Children’s Jury Prize, for first place in the Live Action Short category.

Written and directed by 23-year-old Cassandra Nguyen, who was at the ceremony to receive the accolade, Play Lunch is inspired by Nguyen’s childhood. It follows Molly, a small girl who has promised her mother she will finish her banquet-size Vietnamese lunch before going out to play, a promise made more difficult by a group of boys outside playing football.

Chantelle Wong stars as Molly

Chantelle Wong stars as Molly

“As a young girl, my mother would pack me large lunches for school,” Nguyen said.

“So, every lunch I would unpack my food, and sit and eat and for most of the lunch period. I would spend almost every lunch time watching the other kids play, until one day I was befriended by a little girl.

“I didn’t know this then, but having a friend by my side made all the difference. Suddenly, every lunch was filled with the possibility of new games and adventure.”

Other Curtin alumni Tamara Small (producer), Deland Tay (cinematographer), and Adriel Bong (editor) helped bring the film to life, after first meeting while sharing many classes during their degree.

As well as its success in Chicago, the film has been screened at festivals across the globe, including the Tokyo Kinder Film Festival and Young Cuts Film Festival in Montreal, with plans to enter further festivals in the coming months.

22-year-old Small said the global reach of the film had taken its creators by surprise, as had its reception in Chicago.

“We were just excited to be screening there, let alone win an award,” she said.

“This is the first award we have won for the film, and are humbled by it even more because it is the Children’s Jury vote and shows that we really connected with our audience.”

“To see Play Lunch reach different corners of the globe makes you realise how powerful your storytelling can be as a filmmaker,” she said.

“And the fact that it is being recognised and acknowledged by different cultures is something we always hoped would happen and are overwhelmed by now.”


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This story has 9 comments

  1. John Beaton says:

    Mighty congratulations to Cassie, Tamara and Deland – well done to all the team!!

  2. rachy says:

    Very well deserved. Can’t wait for th next film by these talented filmmakers.

  3. Lee says:

    Saw this short film at a screening in Fremantle. Brilliantly well made with an emotional and touching story. The Play Lunch team deserve all the accolades they receive. Congratulations. I will certainly be watching out for their next piece of work.

  4. Michael Cunningham says:

    Congratulations Cassie, Tamara, Deland and Adriel! Awesome news Well done!

  5. Kim Flintoff says:

    Well done Cass!,

    All those Drama Classes in high school paid off! Oh, and the media stuff with Mr Larsen…

    seriously, congratulations!

  6. Deland Tay says:

    Thank you everyone. Also, thank you to the many, wonderful people that devoted their time and effort to the film.

  7. Chris Marchegiani says:

    Great!! Is there somewhere online we can view this?? COngrats!

  8. Yeong Eaw says:

    Congrats to these budding filmmakers!
    Hey D, great to see you and your teams talent recognised, well done, proud of you mate!

  9. Annabelle Fouchard says:

    Hi Chris, im sure as soon as the film has finished its festival run, it will be available on their cute website!

    Congrats guys!

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