Jessica Barclay Lawton is a Naarm (Melbourne, Australia) based writer-director. Her work is raw and intimate, characterised by a hybrid style that combines documentary and narrative practises.

Lawton established herself as an up-and-coming talent with her short film ‘Morning Star’, which premiered at the 63rd Locarno Film Festival and continued on to screen at over 30 festivals worldwide. Her two follow up films, ‘We Keep On Dancing’ and ‘Building Bridges’ screened widely, winning ‘Best Live Action (Under 15)’ at Palm Springs International Shortfest and nominations for the 'Grand Jury Prize' at Slamdance Film Festival, the 'Grand Prix International Prize' at Cork Film Festival.

In 2016, Jessica’s Screen Australia funded webseries, Movement, was selected as one of only six web series from around the world to screen at TriBeca Film Festival as part of TriBeca N.O.W. Furthermore, the Movement team were also selected as one of twenty content creators from across the globe to take part in the Digital Creators Market in NY. 

Lawton was selected by VICE and Screen Australia as a finalist to pitch her documentary project ‘White Fella In A Hole’ at the 2020 Australian International Documentary conference. Shortly after this, her documentary ‘ZEF’ premiered through NOWNESS, reaching 2 million + views.

Lawton is a MIFF Accelerator Lab alumna and recipient of the Creative Victoria ‘Creators Fund’ through which she is developing hybrid feature film ‘The Sweetness’, a second-round finalist in the 2020 Screencraft Film Fund.

Most recently, Jessica has been selected as 1 of 20 international filmmakers for the highly curated TIFF Filmmaker Lab of the Toronto International Film Festival with her debut feature film, ‘Melaleuca’. She was also honoured with the TIFF Share Her Journey Fellowship.


TIFF Announces 2021 Filmmaker Lab Participants

Recipient of Creative Victoria’s 2021 ‘Creative Workers’ Fund

Directors Notes: 10 Must-Watch Shorts at Aesthetica Short Film Festival 2020

NOWNESS: ZEF premiere

Finalist at the VICE Pitch Australiana competition, AIDC 2020

Second Round Finalist ‘The Sweetness’ - Screencraft 2020 Film fund

Recipient of Creative Victoria’s 2020 Sustaining Creative Workers Arts Grant
Recipient of City of Melbourne Quick Response Arts Grant

Recipient of Creative Victoria’s 2019 'Creators Fund' Grant for hybrid feature film research and development

'Movement' (Web Series) Screen Australia Post Completion Fund recipient

'Romper Stomper' (Stan mini series) Director's Attachment - Funded through the Film Victoria Director’s Attachment Scheme


Aesthetica Film Festival 2020
NOWNESS premiere
ReelGood Film Festival 2021
Promofest Short of the Year - Winter
Cinematica #3
Himachal Short Film Festival
Usak Short Film Festival
Skiptown Film Fest, LA
Greenwich Village Film Festival


Palm Springs International ShortFest 2019
Melbourne International Film Festival 2019
Flickerfest 2020
Newport Beach Film Festival 2020
Cannes Court Métrage - Short Film Corner 2020
Deep Focus Film Festival – Finalist 2020
Vertigo Film Fest 2020
St Kilda film Festival 2020
2nd Deptford Cinema Film Festival
3rd Kinomorphia Film Festival
13th Filmzeitkaufbeuren Film Festival
Bolton International Film Festival
7th Goa Short Film Festival
11th Macau International Short Film Festival
3rd Porto Femme International Film Festival
8th ASFF – AS Film Festival
DFF Bradford 2020
Linz Int'l Short Film Festival 2021
Chambal International Film Festival 2021 


Aesthetica Short Film Festival 2016
LA Music Video Festival 2016


Tribeca NOW 2016
St Kilda Film Festival 2015
Melbourne Web Fest 2015


Melbourne International Film Festival 2014
Flickerfest 2015
St Kilda Film Festival 2015
ReelGood Film Festival 2015


19th Palm Springs International ShortFest
2013 Raindance Film Festival
2013 San Diego Film Festival
2013 Cork Film Festival
2013 Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival
2014 Slamdance Film Festival
2014 Flickerfest
World Of Women Film festival 2014
38th Cleveland International Film Festival
Byron Bay Film Festival 2014
Aspen Filmfest 2014
Rincon International Film Festival 2014
Nashville Film Festival 2014
St Kilda Film Festival 2014
21st Capalbio Cinema ISFF
Barwon Heads Film Society 2014
Missouri Film Festival 2014
Fairhope Film Festival 2014
Heathcote Film Festival 2014
Heartland Film Festival 2014
Calgary International Film Festival 2014
Sapporo International Short Film Festival 2014
FIJR Granada –International Short Film Festival 2014
Milwaukee Film Festival 2014
Made In Melbourne Film Festival 2014
ReelGood Film Festival 2015
Yarra Valley Film Festival 2017  

Revelation Perth International Film Festival 2013

63rd Locarno International Film Festival
14th Rhode Island International Film Festival
4th Dungog Film Festival
Flickerfest 2011
Hillside Film Festival 2011
Made In Melbourne Film Festival 2011
13th Wisconsin Film Festival
The Indie Fest 2011
44th Annual WorldFest Houston
7th International Short Film Festival Detmold
2011 Busho Budapest Short Film Festival
Malta International TV Short Film Festival 2011
Parvin Etesami International Film Festival 2013
Federation Square 10th Anniversary Celebrations 20


Winner ‘Best Documentary’ ReelGood Film Festival
Winner Gold Award (VIC / TAS) Australian Cinematographers Society
Short of the Year (Winter) - Special Jury Mention


‘Best Narrative’ DFF Bradford
‘Best Cinematography’ Vertigo Film Festival
Nominated ‘Best International Film’ Filmzeitkaufbeuren Film Festival


Best of Spotlight - Melbourne WebFest


Nominated for Grand Jury Prize of Best Narrative Short Slamdance Film Festival
Best Film - ReelGood Film Festival
Best Actor (William Gluth) - Made In Melbourne Film Festival
Festival Honours - Newport Beach Film Festival           
Nominated ‘Best Achievement in Editing’ - St Kilda Film Festival
Best Live Action Narrative Under 15 Minutes - Palm Springs ShortFest
Nominated for 'Best Achievement in Sound for a Short Film' - Australian Screen Sound Guild Awards
Nominated for Grand Prix International Prize - Cork Film Festival


Bronze Fictional Drama Short Award - ACS (Australian Cinematographers Society)  

Best Director - Malta International TV Short Film Festival
Best Film - Malta International TV Short Film Festival
Silver Remi - WorldFest Houston
Best In Show - Indie Fest
National Winner - Kodak Filmschool Competition           
GOLD ACS – Student Category VIC / TAS - ACS - Australian Cinematographers Society           
Nominated for the ‘Golden Paradino’ - Locarno International Film Festival

I acknowledge the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first inhabitants of the nation and the traditional custodians of the land where I live, learn and work. Sovereignty was never ceded. I pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging.