Nadia Tass
Creative

Bio

The recipient of the 2014 Screen Leader Award for Outstanding Leadership, Achievement and Service to the Screen Industry, Nadia Tass is one of Australia’s most respected and unique filmmakers & theatre directors.

Known for directing Australian classic films MALCOLM and THE BIG STEAL, Tass’s other feature works include RIKKY AND PETE, MR RELIABLE, AMY, and MATCHING JACK.  She also directs films and high-end television movies in the US for Universal Studios, Disney, Warner Bros, ABC and CBS.  Her first feature in the US was PURE LUCK starring Danny Glover and Martin Short.  And her most recent projects are FATAL HONEYMOON starring Harvey Keitel, and LEA TO THE RESCUE.

In 2011, MATCHING JACK, won BEST DIRECTOR, BEST FILM and BEST SCREENPLAY at the MILAN International Film Festival. It features Jacinda Barrett (Bloodline, School For Scoundrels), Richard Roxburgh (Hacksaw Ridge), James Nesbitt (The Hobbit, The Missing) and Kodi Smit-McPhee (X-Men: Apocalypse).  The film was nominated for an Australian Film Institute Award, and won BEST FILM PRIX DU JURY 2011, CANNES Cinephile.  MATCHING JACK is a gripping drama that explores a complex set of relationships amidst the intensity of a child’s deadly illness and spousal infidelity, described as “A must-see movie. Powerful and uplifting” by The Today Show, “…the film’s heartbeat is a definite 5 out of 5” by Cinephilia, and a four-star review on ABC TV’s At The Movies.

THEATRE

After pursuing an academic career in Arts and Education, Tass began acting and directing classical and contemporary theatre in Melbourne.  Her experience as a director of theatre is extensive and diverse, ranging from improvised theatre, classic plays, contemporary pieces and musical theatre.  Early works include productions of “The Merchant of Venice”, “Macbeth”, numerous plays by Euripides including “Medea”, plays by Aristophanes including “Lysistrata” and “The Birds”, “Three Sisters” by Chekhov and “Blood Wedding” by Federico Garcia Lorca.

In 2016 Nadia directed “E-Baby” for Ensemble Theatre in Sydney, “Disgraced” for Melbourne Theatre Company, “Extinction” for Red Stitch/GPAC, “The Book Club” for AKA (commercial theatre producers) in Melbourne and London, and “Uncle Vanya” for Red Stitch.  2017 saw her re-stage her acclaimed 2014 production of Annie Baker’s “The Flick” for Queensland Theatre.  Amongst other recent work, Tass has directed “Out of the Water”, “The Aliens” and “The Gronholm Method” for Red Stitch, “The Other Place” for MTC, “Promises, Promises” for The Production Company, and “Three Women In An Ice Cream Cone” in London.  Her 2002 production of “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” toured Australia and garnered her a Helpmann Award nomination for Best Director of a Musical.

In 2018 Nadia directed David Williamson’s play “Sorting Out Rachel” for Ensemble Theatre in Sydney, Australia, followed by Marisa Smith’s “Sex and Other Disturbances” for Portland Stage in Maine, USA.  Nadia recently directed Fern Hill by Michael Tucker with a cast including: Jill Eikenberry, John Glover, Dee Hoty, Jodi Long, and Tom McGowan; followed by Ear To The Edge Of Time by Alana Valentine in Sydney.  Next she will direct Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by Heather McDonald for Signature Theatre, Va opening in February 2019.  Additionally, Fern Hill will transfer to New York City in September 2019.

AMONGST HER RECENT THEATRE WORK:

  • MASTERPIECES OF THE ORAL AND INTANGIBLE HERITAGE OF HUMANITY by Heather McDonald 2019 Signature Theatre, Washington DC (USA) 

  • EAR TO THE EDGE OF TIME by Alana Valentine (2018) Sport For Jove

  • FERN HILL by Michael Tucker (2018) NJ Rep Company (USA)

  • SEX AND OTHER DISTURBANCES by Marisa Smith (2018) Portland Stage (Maine, USA)

  • SORTING OUT RACHEL by David Williamson (2018) Ensemble Theatre

  • UNCLE VANYA by Anton Chekhov (2016) Red Stitch Actors Theatre Adapted by Annie Baker

  • E-BABY by Jane Cafarella (2016) Ensemble Theatre

  • DISGRACED by Ayad Akhtar (2016) Melbourne Theatre Company (Winner: Pulitzer Prize for Drama 2013)        Toured Melbourne, Geelong, Brisbane

  • EXTINCTION by Hannie Rayson (2016) GPAC, Red Stitch, Art Centre Melb. Toured Geelong, Melbourne, Brisbane

  • THE BOOK CLUB by Roger Hall (2016) AKA Group, Melbourne, London

  • THE FLICK by Annie Baker ( 2014 *) Red Stitch Actors Theatre (Winner: Pulitzer Prize for Drama 2014)
    *Staged as part of Melbourne International Film Festival at Shebeen (2014); re-staged due to public demand at Red Stitch’s home theatre (2015); re-staged by Red Stitch for Queensland Theatre (2017)

  • OUT OF THE WATER by Brooke Berman (2014) Red Stitch Actors Theatre

  • THE OTHER PLACE by Sharr White (2013) Melbourne Theatre Company

  • PROMISES, PROMISES by Neil Simon (2012) The Production Company

  • THE ALIENS by Annie Baker (2011) Red Stitch Actors Theatre

  • THE GRONHOLM METHOD by Jordi Galceran (2010) Red Stitch Actors Theatre

  • THREE WOMEN IN AN by Elizabeth (2010) Phillip Emanuel Productions

  • ICE CREAM CONE Fotheringham London

  • THE LION, THE WITCH & THE WARDROBE  by C. S. Lewis (2002/2003) Malcolm Cooke & Associates Adapted by David Parker and Billy May

  • MISS BOSNIA by Louis Nowra (1996) Melbourne Theatre Company

  • COSI by Louis Nowra (1994) Melbourne Theatre Company

  • SUMMER OF THE ALIENS by Louis Nowra (1992) Melbourne Theatre Company

 

LOVED BY ACTORS, she is the definitive ACTOR’S DIRECTOR.  Some actors Ms Tass has worked with are Ben Mendelsohn (on 3 movies), Harvey Keitel, David Strathairn (Good Night and Good Luck), Marcia Gay Harden (Pollock), Toni Collette, Rachel Griffiths, Dominic West, Richard Roxburgh, Rob Morrow (Northern Exposure), Tyne Daly, Mia Farrow, Jami Gertz, Connie Britton, Shailene Woodley (The Descendants), AnnaSophia Robb (Soul Surfer), Hinton Battle (from the stages of Broadway), Kodi Smit-McPhee, Danny Glover, Colin Friels, Jill Eikenberry, Michael Tucker, David Rasche, John Glover, Jodi Long, Tom McGowan and others.

RETROSPECTIVE: The AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE in Los Angeles honored Ms. Tass with a Retrospective of her work in 2012, which is traveling through different venues across America. She is considered to be one of Australia’s most respected and unique filmmakers with her films being responsible for twenty-three Australian Film Institute Award wins and 68 International awards. She has had retrospectives of her body of work in Moscow, Cape Town & Johannesburg, Hawaii and New Delhi.  In addition, Ms. Tass has sat on film festival juries for the Hawaii Film Festival, St. Tropez (as the head of the jury,) Asian Festival Of First Films, and most recently, the Pune International Film Festival (as the chair of the jury.)

A consummate professional, Ms. Tass has given back to the industry by presenting MASTERCLASSES around the world from NEW YORK to LONDON to SINGAPORE to nearby NEW ZEALAND (Auckland & Wellington) and, of course, in Australia’s major film cities of Sydney and Melbourne on many occasions.  She regularly lectures at the Victorian College of the Arts and Deakin University (where she is an Adjunct Professor), and has guest lectured at Beijing Normal University, Yunnan University, Wuhan, Chongqing University and Beijing Film Academy in China.

Nadia currently has 2 China/Australia film co-productions in the works: the feature films “Melbourne, Melbourne” and “Tying The Knot”.  In 2019, Nadia is scheduled to direct a feature to be shot in Australia and the US.

FILMOGRAPHY

  • American Girl: Lea to the Rescue (2016)  – DirectorMartin Chase Productions for Universal Studios| Starring: Maggie Jones, Hallie Todd, Storm Reid

  • Fatal Honeymoon (2013) – DirectorCascade Films | Starring: Harvey Keitel, Amber Clayton, Billy Miller, Gary Sweet

  • Matching Jack (2011) | DirectorCascade Films |Starring: Jacinda Barrett, James Nesbitt, Richard Roxburgh, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Tom Russell.

  • Custody (2007) | DirectorJaffe/Braunstein Films | Starring: Kay Panabaker, Rob Morrow, James Denton 

  • Felicity: An American Girl Adventure (2005) |Director The WB (Warner Bros), Revolution Studios, Red Om | Starring: Marcia Gay Harden 

  • Samantha: An American Girl Holiday (2004) | DirectorThe WB (Warner Bros), Revolution Studios, Red Om | Starring: Mia Farrow, AnnaSophia Robb, Jordan Bridges

  • Undercover Christmas (2003) | DirectorCBS, Jaffe/Braunstein | Starring: Jami Gertz, Tyne Daly 

  • Child Star: The Shirley Temple Story (2001) | Director Disney Studios | Starring: Ashley Rose Orr, Connie Britton, Hinton Battle

  • The Miracle Worker (2000) | DirectorDisney Studios | Starring: Hallie Kate Eisenberg, Allison Elliott, David Strathairn 

  • Amy (1998) | Director/ProducerCascade Films | Starring: Rachel Griffiths, Ben Mendelsohn

  • Mr Reliable (1996) | DirectorPolygram UK | Starring: Colin Friels, John Neville

  • Stark (1993) | DirectorBBC UK.   3 x 1 hour mini series | Starring: Ben Elton, Colin Friels, Jacqueline McKenzie

  • Pure Luck (1991) | DirectorUniversal Studios | Starring: Danny Glover, Martin Short, Sam Wanamaker

  • The Big Steal (1990) | Director/ProducerCascade Films

  • Rikky and Pete (1988) | Director/ProducerMGM/UA

  • Malcolm (1986) | Director/ProducerCascade Films

 

AWARDS

Matching Jack

  • Best Film, Milan International Film Festival (2011)
  • Best Director, Milan International Film Festival (2011)
  • Best Screenplay, Milan International Film Festival (2011)
  • Best Film, Cannes Cinephile Prix du Jury (2011)
  • Best Independent Feature, Edmonton International Film Festival (2011)
  • Best Actress (Jacinda Barrett), Cinema des Antipodes Saint-Tropez Film Festival (2011)

 

Felicity: An American Girl Adventure

  • The Humanitas Certificate for humanizing achievement in television and feature films, Human Family Educational and Cultural Institute (2006) USA

The Miracle Worker

  • Best Movie, Family Television Award (2001) USA

 

Amy

  • BEST FILM Le Prix du Public, Paris Film Festival Festival du Film de Paris (2000)
  • Le Grande Prix du Cinécole, Cannes Film Festival France (1999)
  • BEST FILM Grand Prix Cannes Junior, Cannes Film Festival France (1999)
  • BEST FILM Les Mureaux, Grand Prix Cannes Junior, Cannes Film Festival France (2002)
  • BEST FILM Prix du Jeunesse Jury Graine de Cinéphage, Films de Femmes Festival Paris (1999)
  • BEST FILM Golden Gryphon Award for Best Film, Giffoni Film Festival Italy (1999)
  • BEST ACTRESS Bronze Gryphon Award to Alana de Roma, Giffoni Film Festival Italy (1999)
  • BEST FILM The Crystal Heart Award, The Heartlands Film Festival, Indianapolis, USA (1998)
  • Grand Jury Award Best Film for outstanding contribution to humanity,Asia Pacific Film Festival, Hong Kong (1999)
  • Camerio Best Feature Film, Carrousel International du Film de Rimouski, Quebec, Canada (2000)
  • Camerio Grand Public, Carrousel International du Film de Rimouski, Quebec, Canada (2000)
  • Camerio Best Actress for Alana de Roma, Carrousel International du Film de Rimouski, Quebec, Canada (2000)
  • Camerio Best Actor for Ben Mendelsohn, Carrousel International du Film de Rimouski, Quebec, Canada (2000)
  • Golden Reel Award, The Tiburon International Film Festival, USA (2002)
  • Best Film Jeune Jury International, Charleroi Festival du Film, Belgium (2000)
  • Young Peoples Jury Award, Sprockets Toronto International Film Festival (2000)
  • BEST FILM Buff International Film Festival, Norway (1999)
  • BEST FILM Prix du Jury International, Laon International Film Festival France (1999)
  • BEST FILM Australian People’s Choice Awards, Australia (1998)
  • BEST FILM Brisbane International Film Festival, Australia (1997)
  • Award of Distinction for Cinematography, Australian Cinematographers Society (1999)

 

Mr Reliable

  • AFI Best Film Nomination (1996)

 

The Big Steal

  • Australian Film Institute – Best Film Nomination (1990)
  • Australian Film Institute – Best Sound (1990)

 

Malcolm

  • Australian Film Institute – Best Director, Nadia Tass (1986)
  • Australian Film Institute – Best Film (1986)
  • Australian Film Institute – Best Actor (1986)
  • Australian Film Institute – Best Actress (1986)
  • Australian Film Institute – Best Supporting Actor (1986)
  • Australian Film Institute – Best Supporting Actress (1986)
  • Australian Film Institute – Best Sound (1986)
  • Australian Film Institute – Best Editing (1986)
  • Sydney Critics Award – Best Director, Nadia Tass (1987)

__________________________________

  • 2014 Film Victoria Screen Leader Award for Outstanding Leadership, Achievement and Service to the Screen Industry.
  • Nomination for BEST DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL, Sir Robert Helpmann Awards, for “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” (2003) Australia’s most prestigious theatre awards.
  • Byron Kennedy Award for pursuit of excellence, Nadia Tass (1986)
  • Australian Hellenic Award for Excellence, Nadia Tass (1987)
  • Hellenic Award for the Arts, Nadia Tass (1999)

 

RETROSPECTIVES OF NADIA’S FILM CAREER

  • Moscow Film Festival, Moscow, Russia: 1990
  • Cape Town & Johannesburg, South Africa: 1994
  • New Delhi, India: 1997
  • AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE, HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA: 2012

 

MASTERCLASSES NADIA HAS PRESENTED

  • New York University (Film Directing specifically directing of “Malcolm”): 1987
  • Melbourne University, Australia: 2002 – 2013
  • Advanced Performers Studio, London: 2009
  • Deakin University, Melbourne Australia: 2006 & 2013
  • Australian Film, Television & Radio School: 1995
  • National Institute of Dramatic Art, Sydney Australia: 2006
  • Singapore Film Festival, 1999
  • Screen Directors Guild of New Zealand, Auckland & Wellington, 2010
  • Nadia continues to mentor to young directors and actors from various educational institutions.

 

NADIA HAS BEEN ON THE FOLLOWING FILM FESTIVAL JURIES

  • Hawaii Film Festival – for selection of main awards, 1988
  • St Tropez – Head of Jury, 2008
  • Asian Festival of First Films, 2008
  • Pune International Film Festival, 2012 HEAD OF THE JURY

 

PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS

  • Directors Guild of America (DGA)
  • Australian Directors Guild (ADG) – currently a member of the Board.
  • Screen Producers Association of Australia (SPAA)
  • Australian Film Institute (AFI)
  • Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) – International Chapter Juror
  • ATOM Awards Patron

 

Reviews

    'Tass has given the audience the space to relax into an enjoyment of the work... she has carefully balanced the gravity of Williamson’s text'
    Sydney Arts Guide - Sorting Out Rachel @ Ensemble Theatre

    'Nadia Tass directs the play’s premiere for the Ensemble Theatre, with strong performances all round. '

    Daily Telegraph - Sorting Out Rachel @ Ensemble Theatre

    “Melbourne movie maker Nadia Tass has created another emotional MASTERPIECE…”

    Sunday Herald Sun (Melbourne) - Amy - Feature Film

    “AMY has many tones: Tragedy, comedy, romance, melodrama, and Tass moves between them with perfect confidence, creating an enchanting, almost fantastical, story that has its feet firmly planted in reality.”
    Chicago Sun Times - Amy | Feature Film

    “Director Nadia Tass is somehow able to up the artistic ante while remaining true to the guts of the story as reworked by Monte Merrick”.
    The Hollywood Report - The Miracle Worker

    “Tass deftly mixes pathos and tears with generous dollops of winning humour.”
    Film Reviews - Matching Jack

    “Nadia Tass directs with great sensitivity and maturity.”
    Urban Cinefile - Matching Jack

    “Superbly entertaining. Tass’ direction lends the film a gentleness and sensitivity that steers a course of calm naturalism interrupted by quirky humour.”
    The West Australian - Rikky & Pete

    “Tass is a meticulous filmmaker, leaving nothing to chance, and her impeccable casting here reflects her attention to detail.”
    The Courier Mail - The Big Steal

    “Director Tass allows her performers time to develop their characters which makes for a gentle-paced opening, but once established, the film moves along at a good pace. THE BIG STEAL will delight all who see it.”

    The Sun Melbourne - The Big Steal

    “Nadia Tass has a sure instinct for timing and for ending a sequence at exactly the right moment (this last is a rare gift indeed).”
    The Daily Telegraph Sydney - Malcolm

    “MALCOLM is 90 minutes of sheer joy…great entertainment.”
    “It is a very funny film. …unforgettable lines which Tass has ensured are delivered with perfect timing.”
    “…a handsomely directed, lensed and acted, original comedy…”
    Variety - Malcolm

    Director Nadia Tass guides her trio of actresses through McDonald’s tightly written opus while keeping the material accessible at all times for the audience. Under Tass’ direction even a first-time theatre attendee to this kind of show will be taken
    Broadway World - “MASTERPIECES OF THE ORAL AND INTANGIBLE HERITAGE OF HUMANITY” Signature Theatre Played Washington DC, USA

    **** ½
    An enthralling world premiere – Ear to the Edge Of Time is superbly written, magnificently directed and performed.

    Arts Hub, Ear to the Edge of Time

    …the empathetic pull on the audience is superbly evoked by director Nadia Tass.
    There’s a freedom in Tass’ physical and rhythmic direction of Ear To The Edge Of Time which allows an audience to expand and contract their interactions with the subject.
    Sydney Arts Guide, Ear to the Edge of Time

    Here Valentine’s writing is as rigorous as it is poetically powerful.
    Nadia Tass’ direction is slick and inventive
    Stage Whispers, Ear to the Edge of Time

    Director Nadia Tass draws out the humour while keeping the bigger issues in focus.


    Sydney Morning Herald, Sorting Out Rachel