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We believe that you don’t have to be alone in your filmmaking journey.


In partnership with Multicultural Arts Victoria, Cinespace presents the

Ahead of the Curve Mentorship Program.


Four emerging filmmakers were paired with four mentors from three filmmaking disciplines—producing, writing, and directing. From October to December 2022, the mentees received one-on-one mentorship and teaching sessions in the field of their own choosing.

Meet the Mentees

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Ann Keshilyn Sacdalan
Annika Kikuchi
Chido Mwat
Vi Nguyen

Meet the mentors

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Ez Eldin Deng - Director


Ez Eldin Deng is a South Sudanese Australian film and music video Director. He has directed numerous music videos, short films, and online educational content which have reached international audiences in festivals or on YouTube. His writing and directing work includes the critically acclaimed ‘Road Dogs’ and award winning short film, ‘Blvck Gold’.


Deng first arrived in Melbourne, Australia in 2004 with his family and to this day, Melbourne is still his home as he continues to break new grounds in Australia's film and television industry. As a proud member of the African-Australian community, has been a key creative in shaping Melbourne’s arts scene through community projects, workshops, consultation, strategic planning and deliverings. Deng co-found Next in Colour, a ground-breaking creative initiative run by a team of African creative practitioners.

You can also find Deng on LinkedIn and Instagram.

As a mentor, he hopes to share his insights in channelling authenticity, creating and sticking to your vision and empowering the community. 

Matthew Victor Pastor - Writer/Director


Matthew Victor Pastor is a Filipino Australian filmmaker. An alumnus of the prestigious Victorian College of the Arts his feature and short films have been selected at over 70 international film festivals.


In October 2020 his feature film The Neon Across the Ocean (91 mins) world premiered at the 44th São Paulo International Film Festival. In 2021 A Pencil to the Jugular (121 mins) world premiered at the Moscow International Film Festival (the second oldest film festival in the world). He is the also the associate producer on the feature film Anak (Caleb Ribates) which had its world premiere at the 70th Melbourne International Film Festival.

Screen Australia, Film Victoria, and AFTRS funded his short film Fun Times which was penned by AACTA nominated writer Llewellyn Michael Bates. In June 2020 it premiered at the 37th St Kilda Film Festival, and has had a successful film festival run at both Academy & Goya qualifying film festivals and winning Best Film & Best screenplay at the 25th Canberra Short Film Festival.


As a mentor, Matt hopes to impart his wisdom on self-driven projects, lean filmmaking and utilising your resources and community at hand to create. 

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Nikki Tran - Writer/Producer


Nikki is a writer and screen producer living and working on Wurundjeri land. Her screen career began with community arts, and she has since been working to bring a deeper sense of cultural nuance and place into Australian narrative stories. Her online credits include CEEBS, GIRL, INTERPRETED, and FRESH! Nikki also co-created and produced ABC’s factual series CAN YOU HEAR ME?


Nikki is currently a development coordinator of scripted drama at Fremantle Australia. She has cut her teeth in scripted development working with ABC Drama & Comedy, Matchbox Pictures, Tony Ayres Productions and VicScreen as one of the inaugural recipients of the 2019 VicScreen Screen Development Internship.


Nikki’s creative practice has previously received support from Footscray Community Arts’ West Writers and Malthouse Theatre's Writers' Development program, AFTRS Talent Camp, University of Melbourne’s ACMI X residency and State Library of Victoria’s Creative Fellowship. She holds a Bachelor of Media and Communication (RMIT) and Master of Producing (VCA).


As a mentor, Nikki hopes to provide support and guidance for story development, funding and/or pitching projects as well as advice on developing a career in TV.

Jessica Li - Writer/Director/Producer


Jessica Li is a Melbourne-based writer, director and producer.

Her career is fostered by training from the Australian Writer's Guild, Howard Fine Acting Studio and Swinburne University.

Her short film, Mother Tongue, made its Australian premiere at the Melbourne Women in Film Festival in 2021, where it was the recipient of both the Best National Next Gen Film Award and the Programmer’s Choice: Best Victorian Next Gen Film Award, as well as the Critic’s Choice Award. Other accolades include receiving Best Drama at Freshflix Festival in Sydney and Best Emerging Filmmaker at the Setting Sun Film Festival. Mother Tongue is now streaming on SBS On Demand.

In addition to writing and directing her own work, Jessica crews extensively - predominantly working within the producing, assistant directing, scripting and casting departments. Jessica's directing and casting work is heavily informed by her early acting background. In 2018, she was cast in Ric Forster's webseries, Flunk, which received Screen Australia and VicScreenfunding for its third and fourth season, set to go into production later this year.

She is currently developing a long-form project while working full-time as a Production Coordinator.

Find her on Instagram.

As a mentor, Jess hopes to show the mentee how to develop projects as a multi-hyphenated creative.

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Apply now for the chance to jumpstart your filmmaking career!


  • You must be of BIPOC/ CALD background.

  • You must be above 18 years old.

  • You must be available throughout October - December 2022.

  • You must choose one filmmaking discipline.

  • You must reside in Victoria.


Applications close 25 September 2022, 11.59pm. Please direct queries to

This project is created in partnership with Multicultural Arts Victoria

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Supported by The Victorian Department of Families, Fairness and Housing, the Ahead of the Curve

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