Ruby Challenger’s short ‘MumLife’ selected for Cannes


A short film from AFTRS Masters students will screen in competition at next month’s Cannes Film Festival, selected for the La Cinef section.

MumLife, a pop musical about post-natal anxiety, was directed by Ruby Challenger and written by Gerard Dewhurst from a story by Challenger and Claudia Shepherd.

All from the class of 2021, the trio collaborated with Master of Arts Screen: Music student Sophia Christopher, who composed all the original numbers. Other key collaborators include Benjamin Bellette (Master of Arts Screen: Cinematography), and Emily Jansz (Master of Arts Screen: Production Design).

MumLife was one of 16 international entries selected from more than 1,500 film school submissions for the category, which is designed to shine a light on new talent.

(L-R): Claudia Shepherd, Emily Jansz, Benjamin Bellette, Ruby Challenger, Gerard Dewhurst and Sophia Christopher.

La Cinef (formerly Cinéfondation) forms part of the official selection at Cannes. The selected films are presented to La Cinef and the Short Films Competition Jury, which awards a prize to the best three at an official ceremony.

Challenger, whose debut short film Daily Bread won the 2018 People’s Choice Award at the St Kilda Film Festival, said she “never dreamed” her latest project would be screening in competition at Cannes.

“Being at AFTRS allowed me to find a tribe of incredibly talented and hardworking filmmakers that made the process intensely gratifying,” she said.

“With MumLife, I hope to reach other women like me and show them that anything is possible.”

AFTRS CEO Nell Greenwood congratulated the MumLife team on being chosen for a festival that is known for placing “an international spotlight on talent” and launching careers.

“This is such brilliant news and a testament to the skill and dedication of the Master of Arts Screen teaching team and the value of the creative relationships that are formed by our students as they progress through the School,” she said.

Other Australian projects selected for the 75th Cannes Film Festival include Thomas M Wright’s crime thriller The Stranger, Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis, and George Miller’s Three Thousand Years of Longing.

The festival will be held from May 17- 28.