Private Project

Don't Mess With The Fungi

Lettie, her girlfriend, Penn, and Lettie's Maa Maa must band together or risk dying in their apartment complex overrun by rage fuelled neighbours possessed by a supernatural killer Fungi. Can they put their differences aside or will they be killed by the Fungi?

  • Keelan Betts
  • Holly Hunter
  • Kyle Goldfinch
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student, Web / New Media
  • Runtime:
    2 minutes 31 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 21, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    300 AUD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - Australian Film Television, Radio School
Director Biography - Keelan Betts

Keelan is a 22 year old Aussie from rural NSW who has always been dedicated to telling authentic stories through a new lens in the 21st century. He started out in the industry as a child extra in tv shows. Ever since then he's undertaken theatre classes, taught as a drama teacher and has now completed his Bachelor of Arts in Screen Production at AFTRS. He's been using those skills he's developed to work in the production offices of large international feature films in Sydney.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Directing Don’t Mess with the Fungi will be an interesting but difficult undertaking - to direct a female, queer led Asian-Australian story. Being a straight caucasian myself, I haven’t had the life experience to tell this story authentically on my own. So, throughout the whole production process I have begun, and plan, to continue to direct this story in strong consultation with people who identify with some and/or all of the above communities. The creator of the feature, Holly Hunter is going to be one of my main collaborators and most of my decisions will be in consultation with her, as one of my main goals is to tell this story as authentically as possible. I want audiences who are apart of these communities to be able to see a reflection of themselves in these characters.

I feel I’m the right person to direct this project for several reasons. I see myself in Lettie – an energetic ambivert who struggles to concentrate on one thing but loves to work in a team. I have a strong relationship with my grandparents, we have conflicting outlooks on life sometimes (thanks to the generational differences) I can empathise with Lettie’s relationship with Maa Maa. On the outside we are two completely different people but, I feel I can draw from my own experiences and bring them into this story authentically.

The Fungi in the story represents a multitude of different things, and that’s what is so great about this story, audience members will see the Fungi drawing of the characters’ negative thoughts and energy and will be able to reflect on their own lives and ultimately empathise with the characters in the story. For me, the Fungi represents my own insecurities, but I also see it as a way to reflect on my own life and how I can overcome my hardships. I hope audiences are able to do the same.

In terms of directing style, I’m a big fan of Edgar Wright and I feel that this story really suits his visual comedy tropes like syncing action to music, quirky editing style and heavy reliance on pop culture. I think I’ll be able to draw from movies like Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and Last Night in Soho as they all touch on the horror and/or comedy aspect we’re aiming for in DMWTF.

Ultimately, this story is a horror at heart, and I want to have moments in the story where the audience is genuinely scared. I’d like to approach it with the “less is more” way of thinking. I feel we will heavily rely on the creepy child type vibe towards the beginning of introducing the Fungi and slowly progress to the more end of the world/ doomsday feeling towards the end. Of course, this will be contrasted with comedic aspects and how Lettie and Penn bounce off each other. I don’t want to lean too heavily on absurd comedy but rather comedic moments that juxtapose with the horrifying plot points.