Private Project


Sybil is a gifted young artist who discovers that her passion for both her work and her artist-lover are irreconcilable - a realisation which has devastating consequences.

Inspired by pre-Raphaelite muse Lizzie Siddal and Edgar Allen Poe's gothic short story, 'The Oval Portrait'.

  • Melissa-Kelly Franklin
  • Melissa-Kelly Franklin
  • Melissa-Kelly Franklin
  • Gloria Endres de Oliveira
    Key Cast
    Nature Morte, Nachtbus, A Dangerous Fortune
  • Raphael Acloque
    Key Cast
    Versailles, The Danish Girl, The Secret Agent
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Historical, drama
  • Runtime:
    21 minutes 38 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 3, 2016
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Melissa-Kelly Franklin

Melissa-Kelly has found herself living in various cities around the world, from Sydney to Bristol, Berlin to Lausanne. She is now based in London, where she writes and directs independent films.

Melissa-Kelly’s short film, PORTRAIT, inspired by Poe's short story The Oval Portrait and pre-raphaelite muse Elizabeth Siddal, screened in official selection at Wollongong Film Festival and Feel the Reel International Film Festival, and was highly commended by Experimental Forum for ‘vision and contribution to cinema’. She was nominated for Best Director at the Largo Film Awards for her short film, EMBRACE ME, and was recently invited to contribute both films to the international short film streaming platform as part of Switzerland’s Largo Film Talent Program.

Melissa-Kelly’s previous film collaborations include the documentary short, WILD THINGS, winner of Best Documentary Film at the Blue Mountains Film Festival and Canberra Film Festival, and highly commended at the Oscar and BAFTA qualifying FLiCKERFEST International Short Film Festival.

Melissa-Kelly graduated with first class honours in Advanced Arts from the University of Sydney, with majors in English Literature and History. She followed her academic study with training in screen acting at NIDA and classical acting at LAMDA, all of which have been formative in shaping her writing and directing style. Her upcoming short, darkly comic romance short ONLY THE LONELY, is currently in post-production. She has several other projects in development, including Australian Gothic period short WILD FLOWER, LGBT French Language short film LE VŒU (The Vow), and speculative fiction play WE'LL DANCE ON THE ASH OF THE APOCALYPSE. She is also in the process of writing her first feature film.

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Director Statement

Portrait is a period short film inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Oval Portrait' and artist, poet and pre-Raphaelite muse Elizabeth Siddal. It seeks to celebrate the talent and intelligence of female artists in the 19th and 20th centuries, who struggled for recognition in the male-dominated art world.

In writing the film, writer/director Melissa-Kelly Franklin was inspired by women who found themselves embroiled in a creative melting pot - women like Lizzie Siddal, Annie Miller and Florence Carter-Wood. These women became almost as mythical as the heroines and idealised women they portrayed in paintings, becoming more recognised for their faces and bodies, rather than their individuality and creativity. This film seeks to peer behind the surface of the portrait, to see something more of the woman behind the face captured on the canvas.