Burleigh Smith

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Burleigh Smith
Burleigh Smith on set.JPG
Smith in 2014
Born Andrew Christopher Burleigh Smith
(1979-01-07) 7 January 1979 (age 35)
Occupation Screenwriter, director, actor
Years active 2003–present

Burleigh Smith (born Andrew Christopher Burleigh Smith, 7 January 1979) is an Australian screenwriter, film director and actor. His films centre on relationships between men and women and often emphasise dry wit and desperate characters. His strongest influence is Woody Allen.[1]

Smith studied filmmaking at Curtin University of Technology, where he completed a Graduate Diploma in 2002[2] and a Masters in 2009.[3] He also studied under prominent Australian film critic David Stratton at the University of Sydney's Centre for Continuing Education.[4] In 2011, Stratton wrote that Smith's enthusiasm for film matched his own.

Smith lives in Perth, Western Australia and lectures in filmmaking at SAE Institute.[5]


Smith's short films have screened at over two hundred festivals around the world.[6][7] They include:

  1. Mere Oblivion (2007). Kenny Bunkport has nothing but trouble the night he takes his elderly grandmother out to dinner. Burleigh Smith, Elizabeth Caiacob. Winner of the Nicole Kidman Best Actress Award at Tropfest, the world's largest short film festival.[8][9]
  2. Gentle Persuasion (2008). Frank Fenner decides to practise psychology without any qualifications or ethics. He is soon blackmailed into helping a man exit his daughter from a cult. Burleigh Smith, Sarah Louella, Greg Higgs. Competed as one of eight finalists at Tropfest New York.[10]
  3. Love Like You've Never Been Hurt (2009). Problem gamblers orchestrate a romance between two broken hearts so that they can bet on the outcome. Burleigh Smith, Taryn Leggett. Opened the Perth International Arts Festival's Lotterywest Films.[11][12]
  4. Then She Was Gone (2010). Basil pursues Mia. But Mia is only interested in men who are masculine. Burleigh Smith, Sarah Louella.
  5. Ragtime (2011). Ernest is set up on a series of blind dates with various hard and damaged women. Burleigh Smith, John Waters, Geoff Morrell, Bridie Carter, Daniel Henshall, Penelope Andrews, Phyllis Foundis, Jennah Bannear, Ashleigh Galipo.
  6. The Things My Father Never Taught Me (2012). Melvin gives irrelevant dating advice to his three-year-old son. Burleigh Smith, Aiden Papamihail, Bridie Carter.
  7. Blue Drag (2013). A morose advertising executive has an unexpected romance with a potential client. Burleigh Smith, Jennah Bannear, Tiriel Mora.
  8. Fixed (2014). Jemimah wants Tilly to have puppies. At any cost. Screened as one of sixteen finalists at Tropfest.
  9. Cake Shop (2015). Norah must abandon her dreams and face reality. Marthe Snorresdotter Rovik.

In June 2013, Smith announced his debut feature will be a romantic comedy titled You Can't Play the Game If You Don't Know the Rules,[13] inspired by the self-improvement book by Dr. Irene Alexander. The film will be released in 2015 and features Zoe Ventoura, John Waters, Tiriel Mora and Bruce Spence.[14]

The screenplay won the annual Garden State Film Festival's Screenplay Competition[15] and was performed on stage in Atlantic City in April 2014, directed by Diane Ladd.[16]

Other work[edit]

Book: "As the World Falls Down: A Screenplay" (2014). Wavebreaker. Melbourne, Australia. ISBN 978-0-646-92757-2.

Book: "China Doll: A Screenplay" (2015). Wavebreaker. Melbourne, Australia.

Book: "This Can Only End Badly: 21 Short Screenplays by Burleigh Smith" (2015). Wavebreaker. Melbourne, Australia.


Love Like You've Never Been Hurt (2009)

Reviewing The Things My Father Never Taught Me, Hal Astell wrote "It's obvious that Burleigh Smith dreams of being Woody Allen and he's clearly doing much better than most wannabes ... He's great at making a mild idiot out of himself without ever losing believability".[17]

Smith won Best Director at the 2011 West Australian Screen Awards for Then She Was Gone.[18] In his acceptance speech, he dedicated the award to a Curtin University lecturer, who had told Smith on several occasions that he would never succeed as a director.[19]

Smith has also received a West Australian Screen Award for his 2004 documentary on W.A. truck drivers, Grinding to a Halt. He was nominated for Best Experimental Film for Party For One (2007) and Best Director for Love Like You've Never Been Hurt (2009).[20]

Discussing Mere Oblivion at Tropfest 2007 for Empire magazine, Oscar Hillerstrom wrote "Melange of stylistic influences leads to a black and white story about a man and his grandmother. Not quite funny, with sharp, truthful barbs."[21]

Reviewing Love Like You've Never Been Hurt in The West Australian, film critic Mark Naglazas wrote "Smith skilfully replicates a Woody Allen movie, right down to the black-and-white credits and the old-time jazz-inflected soundtrack, making for a kooky and charming contrast: the sophisticated New York romantic comedy relocated to a daggy Perth setting that climaxes (cringe) in front of the Bell Tower".[22]

Then She Was Gone screened at twenty-six festivals around the world. Winner of Best Drama at the Katoomba Short Film Festival,[23] Best Director at the West Australian Screen Awards,[24] Best Screenplay at the Angry Film Festival[25] and an Audience Award at the Sydney Underground Film Festival.[26]

Caught Short programmer Katharine Rogers described Then She Was Gone as "Smith's playful observation of unrequited love and the gross transformations people undertake in order to win affection. Confidently written and uniquely styled, Smith's film is an original take on a common theme."[27]

Smith's Ragtime screenplay was a finalist at the Beverly Hills Film Festival,[28] the Charleston International Film Festival,[29] the Mexico International Film Festival[30] and the Alaska International Film Awards,[31] was placed second in the Short Screenplay Competition at the Honolulu Film Awards[32] and received Honourable Mentions at the Canada International Film Festival,[33] Renderyard Short Film Festival (Spain) and the Skyfest Film and Script Festival (North Carolina).[34]

The Things My Father Never Taught Me has been accepted into over one hundred and thirty international film festivals.[35][36] Festival acceptances include the Arizona International Film Festival,[37] the Boston International Film Festival,[38] the Cambridge Film Festival,[39] the Canada International Film Festival,[40] Clint Eastwood's Carmel Art and Film Festival,[41] Mike Leigh's Cornwall Film Festival,[42] the Montreal World Film Festival,[43] and the Long Island International Film Expo (New York), where it screened on Opening Night.[44]

She Will Be Mine, an unproduced, short screenplay, was winner of Best Short Drama at the Woods Hole Film Festival Screenplay Competition[45] and Best Overall Screenplay at the Sidewalk Film Festival's Sidewrite Screenplay Competition.[46]


  1. ^ Not Just Fashion, Live From Australia: Auteur Burleigh Smith; by Leslie Amadio 8-3-12. Retrieved 15-4-14.
  2. ^ Curtin University of Technology, Curtin Graduates 2002-3; by Curtin University of Technology 2003. Retrieved 15-4-14.
  3. ^ Curtin University of Technology, Curtin Graduates 2008-9; by Curtin University of Technology 2009. Retrieved 15-4-14.
  4. ^ Film and Television Institute, PAC Script Lab: Goliath; by FTI 17-3-10. Retrieved 15-4-14.
  5. ^ SAE Perth Staff Profile; by Damian Masters 27-4-13. Retrieved 26-11-13.
  6. ^ FilmInk, Global Exposure; by Cara Nash 27-6-13. Retrieved 26-11-13.
  7. ^ ScreenWest, WA short screens in Montreal, Cambridge and Long Island; by ScreenWest 24-7-12. Retrieved 26-11-13.
  8. ^ Tropfest, Mere Oblivion – Tropfest Finalist (TSI: "Sneeze"); by Tropfest 8-12-11. Retrieved 21-2-12.
  9. ^ Blue Mountains Gazette, Film Passion Wins Out For Maths Whiz; by Matthew Rufus 7-3-07. Retrieved 21-2-12.
  10. ^ Downtown Express, Seven-Minute Stories on the Silver Screen; by David Callicott 19-9-08. Retrieved 21-2-12.
  11. ^ The West Australian, Movie Review: Please Please Me!; by Mark Naglazas 30-11-09. Retrieved 21-2-12.
  12. ^ SAE Institute, Film Lecturer from SAE Opens LotteryWest Films; by Damian Masters 16-12-09. Retrieved 21-2-12.
  13. ^ Film and Television Institute, Smith's Local Short Cracks 100 Festivals; by Film and Television Institute 12-6-13. Retrieved 01-7-13.
  14. ^ The Music, The Game Player; by Dave Drayton 24-4-14. Retrieved 24-4-14.
  15. ^ Garden State Film Festival, GSFF Screenplay Competition; by GSFF 6-3-14. Retrieved 15-4-14.
  16. ^ The Music, W.A. Screenwriter Wins New Jersey Film Comp Prize; by The Music 4-4-14. Retrieved 15-4-14.
  17. ^ Apocalypse Later, The Things My Father Never Taught Me; by Hal C F Astell 2-12-13. Retrieved 15-4-14.
  18. ^ Film and Television Institute, 24th W.A. Screen Awards Winners; by Liz Sideris 20-3-11. Retrieved 30-8-11.
  19. ^ Youtube, Best Director, W.A. Screen Awards 2011; by Ted Derez 21-3-11. Retrieved 30-8-11.
  20. ^ Film and Television Institute, Full List of Nominations; by Liz Sideris 19-2-10. Retrieved 30-8-11.
  21. ^ Empire Australasia, Empire's Tropfest 2007; by Oscar Hillerstrom 18-2-07. Retrieved 30-8-11.
  22. ^ The West Australian, Movie Review: Please Please Me!; by Mark Naglazas 30-11-09. Retrieved 30-8-11.
  23. ^ Film and Television Institute, Then She Was Gone Wins Best Drama at Katoomba; by Film and Television Institute 16-6-10. Retrieved 21-2-12.
  24. ^ SAE Institute, SAE Film Lecturer Burleigh Smith Wins Best Director; by Damian Masters 21-3-11. Retrieved 21-2-12.
  25. ^ Film and Television Institute, Best Screenplay Award for Burleigh Smith; by Film and Television Institute 15-4-10. Retrieved 21-2-12.
  26. ^ Underground Film Journal, 2010 Sydney Underground Film Festival: Award Winners; by Mike Everleth 16-9-10. Retrieved 21-2-12.
  27. ^ Film and Television Institute, Then She Was Gone Wins Best Drama at Katoomba; by Film and Television Institute 16-6-10. Retrieved 21-2-12.
  28. ^ Beverly Hills Film Festival, Screenplay Competition Finalists; by Adam Ottmar 11-4-12. Retrieved 16-4-12.
  29. ^ Charleston International Film Festival, Screenplay Finalists; by Summer Peacher 13-2-12. Retrieved 9-3-12.
  30. ^ Mexico International Film Festival, 2012 Screenplay Competition Winners; by Mexico International Film Festival. Retrieved 23-6-12.
  31. ^ Alaska International Film Awards, 2012 Film and Screenplay Competition Winners; by Alaska International Film Awards. Retrieved 14-7-12.
  32. ^ Honolulu Film Awards, 2012 Screenplay Winners; by Honolulu Film Awards 28-3-12. Retrieved 28-3-12.
  33. ^ Canada International Film Festival, 2012 Write Brothers Screenplay Competition Winners; by Canada International Film Festival 24-2-12. Retrieved 25-2-12.
  34. ^ Skyfest Film and Script Festival, Winners Skyfest VI; by Ralph Roberts 2-10-11. Retrieved 25-2-12.
  35. ^ FilmInk, Global Exposure; by Cara Nash 27-6-13. Retrieved 1-7-13.
  36. ^ ScreenWest, ‘The Things My Father Never Taught Me’ gains 100th festival acceptance; by ScreenWest 11-6-13. Retrieved 1-7-13.
  37. ^ Arizona International Film Festival, The Things My Father Never Taught Me; by Arizona International Film Festival 17-3-13. Retrieved 01-7-13.
  38. ^ Boston International Film Festival, Boston International Film Festival Schedule; by Boston International Film Festival 11-2-13. Retrieved 01-7-13.
  39. ^ Cambridge Film Festival, The Things My Father Never Taught Me; by Cambridge Film Festival 13-9-12. Retrieved 1-7-13.
  40. ^ Canada International Film Festival, 2013 CIFF Award Winners and Official Selections; by Canada International Film Festival 1-3-13. Retrieved 01-7-13.
  41. ^ Carmel Art and Film Festival, Film Schedule; by Thomas Burns 1-10-12. Retrieved 6-11-12.
  42. ^ Cornwall Film Festival, Films Without Borders 1; by Cornwall Film Festival 6-11-12. Retrieved 6-11-12.
  43. ^ ScreenWest, WA short screens in Montreal, Cambridge and Long Island; by ScreenWest 24-7-12. Retrieved 1-7-13.
  44. ^ Long Island International Film Expo, The Things My Father Never Taught Me; by LIFTF 2012. Retrieved 23-6-12.
  45. ^ Woods Hole Film Festival, 2012 Screenplay Competition Winners; by Woods Hole Film Festival 13-7-12. Retrieved 14-7-12.
  46. ^ Sidewalk Film Festival, Sidewalk Sidewrite; by Abbey Hester 26-8-12. Retrieved 6-11-12.

External links[edit]