Amiel Courtin-Wilson

Attended Elwood Secondary College, 1994 -1995

Amiel is an acclaimed Australian independent film maker and has directed 20 short films and 6 feature films; as well as music clips and documentaries. His film works were described in a 2018 retrospective by Melbourne Cinematheque as : “circling the outer bounds of human experience, often portraying singular, marginal figures- actors, wild men and women, lovers on the run..” He shot his first film in Year 4 at Primary School on VHS and was obsessed with actors and film from an early age. His 2011 film “Hail” came in at number 3 of the Guardian’s best Australian films of the past decade behind Mad Max Fury Road and The Babadook. Film critic Luke Buckmaster describes Amiel as “uncompromising” and “one of the most interesting Australian film makers to have emerged since the turn of the century”.

In 1996, whilst at Elwood College, he was chosen to be a subject in an ABC series called Home Truths. In video diary format, Amiel directed and shot an hour of video each day for an entire year. In the same year he won the Longford Nova award at the St Kilda Film Festival with his film: "Charlie's Toy Meets Madeline Moritz".

Amiel, who studied screenwriting at RMIT, directed work for Opera Australia and Chunky Move and has lectured at Australian and overseas universities.

He has had solo exhibitions of drawing, photography and video work in Australia and internationally and his films have been screened at the Whitney Museum, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, National Gallery of Victoria, MONA, Yale, GOMA, the Gallery of New South Wales and ACMI (The Australian Centre for the Moving Image).

Amiel has also lectured at UCLA with Peter Sellars, AFTRS, Johns Hopkins University and he is a contributor to film and art journals including IF Magazine and the Monthly Magazine.

His 2008 Melbourne based production company; Flood Projects was set up to encourage and support artist driven film making practice in Australia. He is passionate about mentoring emerging filmmakers and in 2017 was executive producer on the feature films Friends and Strangers and Lightning Ridge.

He shot his first film Chasing Buddha (2000),on Super- 8 with a crew of two, when he was 18. This was a documentary portrait of his Buddhist nun aunt, and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2000. He was nominated for an Australian Film Institute (AFI) Award for Best Direction and won Best Documentary film at the 2000 Sydney Film Festival’s Dendy Awards.

During this time he was working for the ABC Recovery program, doing short-form TV portraits of electronic musicians, as well as working as a live video projectionist for Revolver in Chapel Street, Prahran.

He formed the production company Flood Projects in 2008 and his 2009 second feature documentary Bastardry about indigenous actor Jack Charles was released in Australia to critical acclaim; nominated for three AFI Awards. Jack said that Amiel “changed the way I see the world and I see him as my saviour”.

In the same year, his short documentary Cicada premiered at Cannes Film Festival and won the SBS television award at the 2009 St Kilda Film Festival.

His 2012 film Hail, featuring Daniel P Jones and set among the recently incarcerated of Melbourne’s north was considered to be his “most audacious and most cinematic statement”.

In 2013 Amiel was commissioned to create a short film for the 70th anniversary of the Venice Film Festival alongside directors such as Bernardo Bertolucci, Catherine Breillat, Monte Hellman, Atom Egoyan and Paul Schrader.

Actors Daniel and Jack , stood on stage next to Amiel in 2015, when he was awarded the Byron Kennedy Award at the 4th AACTA (Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts) Awards in Australia; in recognition of his commitment to innovation in Australian cinema over the last two decades and to his “risk taking and evocative story telling”.

His 2018 feature film The Empyrean, said to be the most “ambitious, bold and adventurous film of his career” was three years in the making.

In 2019, Amiel was Ambassador of the Australian Human Rights Arts and Film Festival (HRAFF). This festival aims to advance and encourage debate and awareness of human rights through creative media.