Award-winning VCA graduate releases debut feature Partisan

June 15 / 159

Ariel Kleiman with Sarah Cyngler and Vincent Cassel on the set of Partisan
Ariel Kleiman with Sarah Cyngler and Vincent Cassel on the set of Partisan


Partisan, the debut feature film from Melbourne director, Ariel Kleiman, who graduated from the VCA in 2010, was released theatrically this month.

Starring lauded French actor Vincent Cassel (Black Swan, Ocean’s Thirteen, Mesrine), Partisan is set in a closed community where Gregori (Cassel) shelters vulnerable women, teaching their children to run dangerous errands to provide for the group. As the eldest child, 11 year-old Alexander, begins to think for himself, Gregori's idyllic world begins to unravel.

Partisan was produced by Warp Films Australia which has been involved with the project since its inception, guiding it from a concept to cinema screens around the county.

Mr Kleiman was invited to workshop Partisan at the prestigious Sundance Director’s and Screenwriters Lab in 2011.  The film then premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival where it received the World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Cinematography.

Mr Kleiman’s short films from VCA received awards at both Cannes and Sundance in 2010. His 20-minute graduation film, Deeper than Yesterday, had its world premiere at Cannes Film Festival’s Critics Week where it was awarded the Kodak Discovery Award for Best Short Film and the Petit Rail d’Or.  It was also awarded the Sundance 2011 Jury Prize in International Filmmaking.

Mr Kleiman said the journey from VCA to Sundance opened up a world of opportunities for him.

“VCA launched me onto an international stage. I went literally from making student short films to an international feature film and in many ways it’s a credit to my three years at VCA,” Mr Kleiman said.

 “I’d just finished my graduating film, Deeper Than Yesterday, and randomly found out that another of my VCA films, Young Love, had got into Sundance,” he added.

Young Love went on to win an Honorable Mention at the festival and played a big part in getting the producers on board for Partisan.

 “I think the great thing about VCA is it creates a safe environment where you can explore.  It gave me confidence about the sort of filmmaker I wanted to be and what type of films I wanted to make."

Story by Louise Bennet

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