Anya Beyersdorf and Tony Rogers swap roles in St Kilda premiere Vampir

27 April, 2016 by Harry Windsor

Anya Beyersdorf is an actress (Blue Heelers, Crownies) turned director, whose 2014 short Gayby was made as a Masters project at the Sydney College of the Arts before touring to festivals at home and abroad.


While studying she was taught screenwriting by Blue Murder's Ian David, and "fell hard" for it.

Her new film, Vampir, was produced by Nicole Coventry and will premiere at next month's St Kilda Film Festival. 

Off the back of it, Beyersdorf was also shortlisted for Sydney Film Festival's Lexus Short Film Fellowship, presided over by Judy Davis.

Vampir came out of a single image, of "a guy walking across a field", said Beyersdorf.

"I started to think how easy it is to misunderstand people, and to judge people by the way that they look, and for the consequences to be quite full on."

To play the lead role, she enlisted Tony Rogers, a director best known for Wilfred who had cast Beyersdorf in his 2007 feature Rats and Cats.

Tony Rogers in Vampir.

"We just stayed really close. At my 26th birthday party he was the only person who came, so it was me and him with his partner Carol sitting at the Shanghai Dumpling House for about four hours while all my hipster friends turned up fashionably late." 

When it came time to cast Vampir, "all I could see was Tony with oily hair in an old fluoro tracksuit trudging across this muddy clod-filled field, and it was just so right. It took me quite a few years to talk him into it."

According to Rogers, "I kept saying, look, I can get you a good actor" (laughs).

"But Anya said I'm almost a little bit like [the character] already. She said just be yourself and you'll be fine. I wasn't talking, so that made it easier."

"It was fun, being the actor. They looked after me. I didn't have to do too much." 

The film was shot last April in the small town of Wilberforce outside Sydney as well as at Somersby's Old Sydney Town, which Rogers describes as "a period fun park that's been closed for a few years but is a great location to shoot in."

Both Beyersdorf and Rogers single out the work of Warwick Field, who last year won an ACS award for his work on the film. 

"The first thing I did was when I thought about making the film was ask Warwick if he'd read it, hoping he'd want to shoot it, and luckily for me he did", Beyersdorf told IF.

"When I attached Warwick to it, suddenly it became this big professional thing rather than my final Masters project, which it was. A lot of people wanted to work with him, because he's so good." 

Rogers calls it "a very good looking film", and is full of praise for his director.

"This is first film she's done that she directed with what you'd call a proper crew, proper DP, proper camera. I thought she did a great job. She's learnt a lot from it. She's a really good writer and I think she's going to do some good things."

"Anya's coming along, I must admit."