The Morning After


20 Mar 2019

TheMorningAfter1 300dpi



The Morning After

20 Mar 2019

Two lucky SAE students got the opportunity of a lifetime when they were hand picked to travel to Siem Riep Cambodia to work on indie film project, The Morning After, a short film exploring the concepts of memory and grief. Currently finding great success on the festival circuit, the film has taken out a slew of nominations and awards worldwide. 

This is the first film produced and directed by Leanne Mangan who also wrote the script, loosely based on her own lived experience. Producer and SAE Melbourne Film Lecturer Sean Cousins came on board when Leanne realised that for The Morning After to come to life, she would have to make it herself and discovered Sean’s company, Filmmaker Abroad during her research.  

Finding Filmmaker Abroad was serendipitous for Leanne and was the sign she needed to make The Morning After a reality. A highly experienced filmmaker working on projects both here and abroad, Sean was the perfect person to guide Leanne and the SAE interns through the process, naturally assuming the role of mentor on set. Sean’s connection with SAE was also invaluable as the student interns he was able to bring on board were, in Leanne’s words “committed to the project from day one, I was absolutely thrilled with their work and assistance.”

Felix Parnell was one of the two SAE students who joined the production team in Cambodia (the other being film student Ben Friesen). As an audio student, Felix was already very experienced in location sound. During the course of his studies Felix had worked on over 30 student films. This working trip was Felix’s first time in South East Asia, “the experience was a whirlwind, I got the call to join the team out of the blue and was on my way to Siem Reap before I knew it,” he says. 

Felix Parnell

Felix Parnell on set in Siem Riep

As a testament to his abilities, Felix went on to graduate as the national SAE Dux of his year cohort.   

Leanne and Sean said Felix did an amazing job with the sound considering the challenges, “Siem Reap is loud, not only in the bustling streets but even in the rice field scenes there was buzzing insects to contend with,” Leanne says.

It was wet season when the crew were in Siem Reap to shoot The Morning After, which meant waking at dawn to get the day’s filming done in unfamiliar territory before the daily downpour started every afternoon.

“The students had an experience that some graduates wait years to have, and they did amazing work considering the challenging environmental elements,” Sean said. 

While The Morning After is a work of fiction, Leanne is now working on the script for a follow up feature film. The next instalment will be centred around some extraordinary real-life events that involved some of the Cambodian cast members after filming wrapped up on The Morning After. 

Through Sean’s work with SAE and his company Filmmaker Abroad there may be more opportunities for exceptional students to travel with Sean on his film projects overseas. 

The Morning After Full awards and Festival Official Selection List: 

  • Melbourne Independent Film Awards Melbourne, Australia 2018 - Honorable Mention; Best Editing
  • Creation International Film Festival Ontario, Canada 2017 - Best Produced Short Screenplay & Best First Time Filmmaker
  • Festigious Film Festival Los Angeles, USA 2017 - Best Drama
  • Independent Horror Movie Awards USA 2017 - Best Writing
  • Genre Celebration Festival Tokyo, Japan 2017 - Best Director
  • Changing Face International Film Festival Sydney, Australia 2018 - Best Short Drama
  • Altff Alternative Film Festival Toronto, Canada 2018 - Finalist; Best Drama
  • Los Angeles Film Awards Los Angeles, USA 2018 - Honorable Mention; Original Story
  • Detroit SheTown Film Festival Detroit, USA  2018 - Nominated for Breakout Filmmaker
  • Southern Shorts Awards Georgia, USA 2018 - Award of Merit, Best Mystery/Thriller
  • Oregon Short Film Festival Portland, USA 2018 - Best International Director
  • The Macoproject Film Festival Florida, USA 2018 - Second Place; Shorts Category
  • Sydney Indie Film Festival Sydney, Australia 2018 - Semi-Finalist
  • Hollywood Screenings Film Festival Hollywood, USA 2018 - Semi-Finalist
  • Hollywood International Moving Pictures Film Festival Hollywood, USA 2018 - Semi-Finalist
  • First Glance Film Festival Los Angeles, USA 2018 - Semi-Finalist
  • Best Short Fest Ontario, Canada 2018 - Semi-Finalist
  • Los Angeles Independent Film Awards Los Angeles, USA 2018 - Semi-finalist
  • Oniros Film Awards Valle d'Aosta, Italy 2018 - Runner Up Best Cinematography (finalist)
  • Canada Shorts - Canadian and International Short Film Festival Saint John, Canada 2018 - Runner up Best Thriller/Mystery Film (finalist)
  • Swindon Independent Film Fest Swindon, UK 2018 - Award of Excellence
  • A Night Of Horror Film Festival Sydney, Australia 2017
  • Play Film Festival Paris, France 2017
  • The Lost Sanity Film Festival New Jersey, USA 2017
  • Worldwide Women’s Film Festival Phoenix, USA 2017
  • Bloodstained Indie Film Festival Tokyo, Japan 2017
  • Southern Shorts Awards Georgia, USA 2017
  • Short Film Slam Presented by The Madlab Post Philadelphia, USA 2018
  • Roma Cinema DOC Rome, Italy 2018
  • Arthouse Asia Filmmakers Confluence Kolkata, India 2018
  • For Films Sake Sydney, Australia 2018
  • Short+Sweet Film Festival Sydney, Australia 2018
  • Cambodia International Film Festival Phnom Penh, Cambodia 2018
  • LA Shorts Awards Los Angeles, USA 2018
  • Swindon Independent Film Festival Swindon, UK 2018
  • Cine Pobre Film Festival La Paz, Mexico 2018
  • Motor City Nightmares Film Festival Detroit, USA 2018
  • Peninsula Film Festival Melbourne & The Mornington Peninsula, Australia 2018
  • End of Days Film Festival Florida, USA 2018
  • MidWest Weird Fest Wisconsin, USA 2018
  • Ocean Coast Film Festival Oporto, Portugal 2018
  • Cambodia Town Film Festival Long Beach, USA 2018
  • Dramatic Shorts Film Festival Missoula, USA 2018
  • Top Indie Film Awards Tokyo, Japan 2018
  • Auckland International Film Festival Auckland, New Zealand 2018
  • Detroit Shetown Women’s Film Festival Detroit, USA 2018
  • Shiver international Film Festival Ontario, Canada 2018
  • Indie Suspense Horror Sci-Fi Film Festival Florida, USA 2018
  • Nightpiece Film Festival (Edinburgh Fringe) Edinburgh, Scotland 2019

Interested in a dynamic career in Film or Audio? Explore the possibilities by attending the free SAE Information night at your local campus Thursday 9th May 2019 Register at