Private Project

Death & Wildflowers

People go missing every day, and while the police move on from cases unsolved, the victims' families never forget. Ada Fernando, an ex-police detective turned private investigator, works the discarded missing persons forgotten by the police. However, when Christine Smith - one of Ada's missing girls - shows up dead, Ada is approached by local detective Jacob Miller for assistance. Adamant to investigate on her terms, Ada and Jacob bump heads as they slowly unravel the mystery of Christine's death, leading them to discover a disturbing truth behind a string of missing girls.

  • Justin Macawili
    Present Day
  • Justin Macawili
    Present Day
  • James Riddell-Clark
  • Mayen Estanero
    Key Cast
    "Ada Fernando"
  • Mark Adams
    Key Cast
    "Jacob Miller"
  • Daniella Armstrong-Hearns
    Key Cast
    "Helen Flowers"
  • Tamara Lee Bailey
    Key Cast
    "Maria Smith"
  • Sarah Iman
    Key Cast
    "Diane Lee"
  • Chelsey Catena
    Key Cast
    "Emily Hoyt"
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Genres:
    Noir, Thriller, Mystery
  • Runtime:
    18 minutes 2 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    December 6, 2022
  • Production Budget:
    10,000 AUD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - Victoria College of the Arts
  • MIFF PLAY VCA Graduate Screening
    December 6, 2022
Director Biography - Justin Macawili

Justin is a graduating Master of Film and Television student at VCA. Prior to studying, he spent over 7 years in the camera department, from assistant to DOP. He co runs Strangeworld Studios, a production company, and is a member of CINESPACE.
Justin's goal is to share his perspective on the world with his films and create a safe space for diversity on screen, in front of and behind the camera.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

The idea of Death and Wildflowers came from a conversation I had with the main actor Mayen Estanero. She is an amazing actor with an impressive range and years of experience but unfortunately due to her age and race the only roles she was offered here in Australia was that of an Asian mother. She wanted to play a badass, and so she did in my film. In fact, nearly every actor I cast was the opposite of their usual gig. Mark, who usually plays bad guys, was the lead detective. Daniella, who usually gets cast as a mother or sister, got to play a cult leader.
My goal for this film was to subvert the expectations of a student film. I consciously chose to avoid static shots, and there aren't any handheld shots. I took inspiration from noir films such as Chinatown and The Maltese Falcon (fades and lighting) and the visual language of Janusz Kamirhki's work on Spielberg's films such as Jaws and Raiders of the Lost Ark (moving masters).
Having worked on sets for over 7 years now, I know how to run a smooth ship. The success of this ambitious film relied on the crew I chose. I made sure everyone on set had chemistry with myself and the entire department and I'm proud to say we absolutely smashed it. We hope you enjoy!