Originally intent on becoming an actor, Miley Tunnecliffe studied at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York followed by a masterclass at the LAByrinth Theater Company, which was co-founded by Philip Seymour Hoffman.
She took up writing to supplement her income as an actor and soon discovered writing and directing were far more satisfying.
Since those acting classes in 2008 it’s been a long and sometimes arduous journey for the filmmaker – and it’s been paying off in the last couple of years.
In 2017 her career got a boost when Screenwest chose her and Aaron Moss to participate in the Bill Warnock Initiative for emerging writers, which included being in the writers room for The Secret Daughter, mentored by Stuart Page, and Mustangs FC under co-creator Amanda Higgs.
The same year she won the PAGE Award prize for best TV comedy for Disorder, a pilot about a family of dysfunctional psychologists who struggle with their own relationships as well as their patients.
Miley earned her first TV drama credit on an episode of the ABC’s The Heights after meeting the co-creator Warren Clarke in the Mustangs FC writers’ room. She loved collaborating with Clarke and fellow producer Peta Astbury-Bulsara and her fellow writers.
Following that she wrote an episode of 100% Wolf: Blood Moon Rising, Flying Bark Productions’ TV series spin-off of animated feature 100% Wolf for the ABC and Germany’s Super RTL.
Earlier this year she won Flickerfest’s award for outstanding emerging female director, which honours the memory of Samantha Rebillet, for her online series Calling.
The dramedy chronicled the dysfunctional relationship between a mother (Please Like Me’s Debra Lawrance) and her daughter (Miley) entirely through their phone calls.
‘Molly and Cara.’
Molly and Cara, which she directed and co-wrote with Jub Clerc and Andrea Fernandez, premiered on the closing night of CinefestOZ and will screen this weekend on SBS as part of the broadcaster’s inaugural Short Film Festival.
The dark comedy centres on the unlikely friendship between an Aboriginal student and a bigoted elderly lady, featuring Lynette Curran, Rarriwuy Hick and Hayley McElhinney.
She has been exploring opportunities in the US since signing with US management firm Fictional Entity’s Krista Carpenter while taking part in Screen Australia’s Talent USA program last year.
Among the projects she is developing are a mother/daughter comedy with LA-based Dynamic Television’s Holly Hines, who was a guest at Screen Forever in 2017; a pilot about a father who discovers he has a whole other family; and a thriller/horror feature with her Molly and Cara producer Emilia Jolakoska.
As part of the MIFF Accelerator Lab this year she developed a feature with the intriguing title Adult Virgins’ Club.
Reflecting on her career, she says: “I know it’s a marathon to get to where you want to go in this industry. I feel I achieved so much in the past couple of years. I’d love to have a dual career here and in the US.”