Private Project


On the verge of deportation, a Middle Eastern grad student hides on a Southern California campus where he falls in love with
an undocumented janitor who wishes she could go to college.
When a Keystone Cop sniffs out the campus stowaway, the homeless lovers take refuge in a beachside vacation rental and face the sudden death of their American Dreams.

  • Austin Alward
  • Austin Alward
  • Jean Bodon
  • Austin Alward
  • Artur Lago-V
    Key Cast
  • Gabi Giordani
    Key Cast
  • Angela Jones
    Key Cast
    "Keystone Cop"
    Pulp Fiction
  • Abraham Amkpa
    Key Cast
  • Tamara Rodriguez
    Key Cast
  • Madeleine Falk
    Key Cast
    "HR Administrator"
  • Andreas Burgess
  • Olivier Le Solliec
    Sound Designer
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Arthouse, Drama, Love Story, Slow Cinema
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 37 minutes 18 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    September 15, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    160,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
    English, Persian, Spanish
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Austin Alward

Austin Alward is a New Orleans based filmmaker and camera operator who began as a camera assistant in Paris after graduating from the University of Wisconsin. He was hired through the Dan Rather Endowment at Sam Houston State to rewrite and direct Tasmania, his first feature.

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Director Statement

Tasmania is the simple love story of two illegal immigrants who do not share a common language. What they do share is their belief that a bright future is within reach. Until then, they keep to the sunny California shadows and find sanctuary in each other.

My home country dehumanizes immigration systemically. My government uses the word "aliens" to categorize millions of human beings within its borders — to me, that’s plain otherworldly.
With this project, I want to evoke a looming sense of the American Dream as dreamlike — like a pipe dream, tragically naive and nostalgic, that ends in a heartbeat.

The movie's DNA stems from an un-produced script written by Jean Charles Tacchella whose Cousin Cousine was nominated for three Oscars the year I was born, so it's been a minute. But those old French roots allow Tasmania to unfold like a slow cinema blast from the arthouse past, using its de-centered plot and inverted rom-com tropes as literal means to a lyrical end.

The soundtrack features Spanish and English language songs alongside vintage tracks from Iran and traditional mariachi music with a contemporary score. For visual perspective, we looked at culture clashing love stories in French and Iranian films across a span of decades including Hiroshima Mon Amour, Betty Blue, and A Hero.