Many inspiring filmmakers only dream of graduating with the success Shepparton’s Andy Burkitt has.
Mr Burkitt’s short film Grave Expectations was a finalist in Melbourne’s International Youth Film Festival, Los Angeles Cinefest and Calgary Horror Con and won the Deakin Visionnaire award for best editing, best director and best film.
But it was winning the local encouragement award at the Benalla Short Film Festival that was extra special for Mr Burkitt, 22.
‘‘I grew up in Shepparton, so it was great to bring back what I have learnt in Melbourne to the area,’’ Mr Burkitt said.
‘‘I could finally show my friends and family what I’ve been working on.’’
The film is a dark comedy, set in the 19th century and shows the unlikely pairing of a grave digger and a young rich girl who had been buried alive.
Mr Burkitt wrote the script for one of his final assignments while studying a Bachelor of Creative Arts at Deakin University in Melbourne.
‘‘I was really struggling to come up with a script idea and then I watched a film and I saw someone digging a grave and I thought, wouldn’t it be funny if they were alive,’’ he said.
The idea worked, with Mr Burkitt’s script one of only nine chosen to be made into a film.
Mr Burkitt wanted to showcase his hometown in the movie and shot most of the film in an empty Shepparton reserve.
‘‘I brought a team of 20 people out here from Melbourne and we stayed for three days to do most of the shooting,’’ he said.
With the ongoing success of Grave Expectations, Mr Burkitt was working on producing his second film.
The new movie was expected to premiere in August and was another dark comedy about climate change activists taking things one step too far.
Mr Burkitt enjoys challenging himself and his team — wanting to film his new movie in one shot, without any takes.
Grave Expectations can been seen in Numurkah on Sunday, July 7, when Benalla Short Film Festival visits the region.