WRITER/DIRECTOR – Stuart Willis
Stuart’s diverse background covers film, music, theatre, comedy, photography and radio journalism.
In 2010, Stuart completed his Masters of Film and Television (Narrative) at the prestigious VCA School of Film and Television, where he was honoured with the award for Most Outstanding Overall Post-Graduate Student.
PAYLOAD is his graduating film from the VCA. It is a dark, gripping sci-fi epic that showcases Stuart’s fascination in exploring the problematic relationship between individuals and their environments. It had its World Premiere at the Palm Springs Short Fest, 2011, and has picked up awards including Best Sci/Fi-Fantasy at the FLICKERS: Rhode Island International Horror Film Festival, Best Short Film, Renderyard Film Festival, and Bronze at the Australian Cinematographer’s Society (NSW) Awards.
Stuart first cut his teeth in the film industry working on such films as Superman Returns (2006), Charlotte’s Web (2006) and Harry Potter 5 (2007). From 2007-08 Stuart worked with the Cannes Lion award winning director Michael Gracey, running his Babyfoot Productions studio. He was also a VFX Producer on The Square (2008). After a wrapping on Australia (2008), Stuart spent 2009 developing his own projects, including Not My Film (2010) which was short-listed for Tropfest 2010; Going For Broke (WIP) which was highly commended at the SPAA/Metroscreen pitching competition; and the the theatre show Dirty Laundry which was revived to critical acclaim at the Sydney Fringe Festival 2010.
He is a published and exhibited portrait/fashion photographer. Once upon a time he completed a Media/Law degree, and presented a drive-time radio show for over five years.
Stuart is the rare director who effortlessly weaves textured performances, arresting visuals, technical wizadry, and probing storytelling into compelling cinema.
PRODUCER – TOM BICKNELL
Tom Bicknell came on board as producer of PAYLOAD early on, working with Stuart from the film script???s third draft to assist with the huge logistical challenges thrown up by Stuart’s ambitious vision.
As a film production graduate of Australia’s prestigious Victoria College of the Arts, Tom specialised in script development, marketing and film finance structuring. Whilst studying, Tom acted as producer on several projects including a high concept art film (After the Formal), a visceral animation short (the Death Children) and, of course, PAYLOAD. Following completion of the course, Tom has been working in-house at a production company specialising in documentary and cross-platform media, although his main goal is to produce features.
Tom’s background is in a different but not entirely unrelated field, he worked as a corporate lawyer for 4 years that included working on the film financing and distribution arrangements for a number of Australian film and television productions.
Tom holds qualifications in both law and media studies.
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY / ASSOCIATE PRODUCER – Robert C. Morton
Robert C. Morton graduated from the prestigious Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS) in cinematography. His major project “Dead Boring” was the first live action drama to be shot in Australian in Stereoscopic-3D. In 2010 he received two ACS Silver Medals for “Dead Boring” and “Benefit”.
Prior to AFTRS, he worked as a camera, lighting, and grip assistant on features, corporates, short films and television. He was a Digital Imaging Technician and Focus Puller at Lemac Films, and was instrumental in rollout of RED ONE camera systems in Australia.
He has worked alongside some of Australia’s best DoPs including John Bowring ACS, Martin McGrath ACS, David Wakely ACS, Murray Stillsman ACS, Frank Flick, Rod Turnbull ACS, Mark Zagar ACS, Simon Higgins ACS and Mark Bliss, amongst many others.
His work combines a discipline approached to lighting, with an instinctive sense for the emotional image.
PAYLOAD is Stuart and Rob’s fifth collaboration together.