Having graduated Excelsia College in 2019 with a Bachelor of Dramatic Art, Julia Pennisi has starred in a number of productions including lead roles in Alice in Wonderland, The Little Mermaid, Mulan and Oliver! with Wyong Musical Theatre Company. She has also performed in YiPA, HissyFest, Cyberbile, Picasso at the Lapin Agile and The Crucible. Last year Julia was a lead in the graduation production, CUT at Excelsia College.
Tea Party For Sad People is Julia’s debut short film and is currently starring in an adaptation of the script for Short & Sweet play festival this March.
Trained for the stage, Ashleigh holds a tenacious passion for theatrical expression and has performed in a range of plays including Cut, directed by Francesca Savige, Murder by Midnight, playing ‘Woman,’ The Price Of… playing ‘Maggie,’ various characters in Caryl Churchill’s Love and Information, and ‘Sadie’ in her self-directed and produced piece, Sometimes, written by Cathy Friend. She has also performed as ‘Prospera,’ in William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, ‘Snatch,’ in The Lost Boys, ‘Joan’ in Clinchfield, directed by Kim Hardwick, ‘Maggie’ in The Gift, directed by Haley McQueen and ‘Miss Hannigan’ in Annie! The Musical.
Ashleigh has also been inspired by the intricacies of screen acting. She hopes to captivate an audience through film and television and has made her debut in the short film A Tea Party for Sad People, directed by Michael McLennan and written by Cathy Friend. Ashleigh has explored the film industry in Los Angeles since completing her bachelor degree in dramatic arts from Excelsia College, and intends to pursue a career in this field.
Michael McLennan is an Australian-based writer/director whose short films have played at film festivals around the world. These films include ‘Standby’, ‘A Tea Party for Sad People’, ‘Go Quickly’, ‘Small Things’, ‘Magpie’ and ‘Why We Trade’. He was Head of Production and Head of Film at Sydney Film School, where he taught Screen Language, Writing, Post-Production and Creativity, and supervised over 400 short films made at the School. In 2009 he founded the Secret Film Society, producing ten short films over the subsequent two years. He has also worked as producer, director of photography, editor, sound designer and music editor. He currently has three feature scripts in development, and teaches film at the Academy of Film Theatre and Television and AIT.
Rasmus Callmer studied Cinematography at Sydney Film School, where he was mentored by Steve Arnold. He hails from Sweden, and works in Sydney Australia professionally as a Director of Photography, Camera Operator and First Assistant Camera. He has a deep interest in visual storytelling and the psychology of the image. His films as Director of Photography include Sine Qua Non, Ocean Blue, The Other Side, Two Step, The 11:59 Train to Washington Square, A Tea Party for Sad People, Standby and Sounds of a City.
Emily is an emerging Sydney based film and television production designer, who has designed 11 short films and 4 music videos in the two years she has worked in the industry. Aside from designing, she has also worked in art departments for brands such as SONY and NIB, and is currently working on an upcoming kid’s show for Nickelodean. Her personal style leans toward the dark and gritty, but yearns for any challenge to be thrown at her and push the boundaries of her comfort zone.
Luna Pan is an award-winning screen, advertising and game composer from Sydney, Australia. She studied piano and music theory for a decade from a young age, now armed with a Bachelor scholarship degree in Composition and Music Production from the Australian Institute of Music.
Luna has created soundtracks for feature films, TV programs, commercials, games and web productions. She has won Mentorship for Women in Music award held by APRA AMCOS under TV Composition category. She enjoys composing in a wide variety of genres and styles, as well as recording her own samples. When Luna is not writing music, she enjoys performing as a street dancer and can be found in numerous cultural festivals.
Sandrine Rudaz is a composer for film, video games, and theatre. She has a proven track record of success bringing stories from talented directors to life, most notably the French play Blanc, which was performed over 25 times in Europe. Other notable experience includes writing and conducting orchestra music for animated film Star Bard, for which she won Best Orchestration at the 17th Garden State Film Festival, feature films such as The Shell and Aylesbury Estate, and short films such as the award-winning Kneeling Sheep. Sandrine’s work for full orchestra Aurore Boréale has been recognized with a Jerry Goldsmith Award nomination, a Global Music Award, and a Hollywood Music in Media Award. In 2018, she was selected to attend the SESAC Workshop with composer John Swihart (How I Met Your Mother).
Holly Fraser is a Sydney based Producer and Assistant Director. She graduated from Sydney Film School in 2015 and has worked on over 100 film and television projects, mostly as a Producer or First Assistant Director. Her work has screened at film festivals all over the world including Cannes, Berlinale, SXSW, Tribeca, Sydney Film Festival and Melbourne International Film Festival. She was the First Assistant Director on Halal Gurls, currently screening on ABC iView, and the Sydney unit of international feature film No Land’s Man, which was also shot in New York and Mumbai and stars Bollywood superstar Nawazuddin Siddiqui.
I am an editor and director with love for story and characters. I love any project that has passion behind it, Tea party was made with a lot of work and I’ve enjoyed going through the film with the flexibility of the director letting me playing around with different ideas. My own body of work has lately been more abstract than this film, so it was a great practise and challenge to get the style Micheal wanted to the final form. A very covered project with many possibilities in the editing, so we really had to make hard decisions on ways to interpret the scenes and the whole film together.
John Hresc is a Sydney based sound designer and re-recording mixer whose credits include Australian and international films and television series . John’s career started in the mid 1980’s as a freelance recording engineer/producer in the music industry. In 1995 John had made his move into a position at Foxtel Australia’s first cable television network he worked exclusively as a sound designer and sound mixer on award winning Foxtel productions across more than 25 cable channels such as Fox 8, Fox Sports, History Channel, Crime Investigation, National Geographic and more.
After 13 years in 2008 John moved back into a freelance career as a sound mixer. This time working for the Channel 9, Channel 7 and the SBS television networks and in 2012 opened the doors to his own sound production facility, The Sydney Sound Brewery. Since then John has worked on more than 15 feature films and a number of documentaries and television series. This versatility allows him to bring a dynamic energy to his work giving each project a unique and experienced approach.
A variety of John’s recent projects have screened at various local and international film festivals gathering nominations and awards for best sound design Promax New York Promax Sydney, LA
webfest, Sicilian webfest, Tuscany webfest and Tropfest.
Elizabeth is credited to over 60 short films since 2016, and been awarded ‘Best Hair and Makeup’ Awards for multiple films at Sydney Film School’s 26th festival 2017, and for Who’s a Fly Bird? at the Seattle International Fashion Film Festival 2018. She has recently been working more extensively within the fashion industry and with editorials. In the Mirannie Road collection shoot featured by Fen Hong Sé magazine, she worked for the first time as both makeup artist and creative director. She is excited to continue to find new ways to combine her artistic disciplines.
Based on ‘The Tea Party for Sad People’ by Cathy Friend, the film is directed, adapted and produced by Michael McLennan.
An Excelsia College Production
in Association with Wavelength Films
When Ziva happens upon an invitation to a Tea Party for Sad People, she is drawn into a surreal Purgatory where sadness is sought for all the wrong reasons. Tears are a source of pride, no matter how minor the trigger, and status is about how sad your story is.
The mysterious Joy fetishises sorrow, and eschews all solids. The amiable Lavender isn’t particularly sad that’s why she carries an onion in her hankie. Jill is the alpha of the pack, policing the etiquette of sadness.
How will the ladies react to Ziva’s sob story?