Hugo (2008)

Directed by Nicholas Verso
Produced by Rita Walsh
Written by Rachel Bowen
Director Of Photography: Laszlo Baranyai
Editor: Ken Sallows
Music: Wendy Rule & Craig Patterson
Production Design: Marg Horwell
Costume Design: Mel Liertz
Sound Design: Emma Bortignon

Cast: Sianoa Smit-McPhee, Andre Jewson, Tessa James


Lonely schoolgirl Desma is determined to win the school science competition and beat her arch-rival, Celestine. When Desma discovers an incredible creature, an insect-boy endowed with a pair of moth-wings, she thinks victory is hers. But can Desma ignore her attacks of conscience and condemn the vulnerable moth-boy to win a competition? Or will she forfeit her dreams of glory and suffer another humiliating loss to Celestine?

An enchanting short film about human connection, ruthless ambition and entomology.

Inspired by the fantasy films of the 1980’s that they grew up with, Verso along with writer Rachel Bowen and producer Rita Walsh worked with puppeteers, wing-makers, moth breeders and slime to help bring the story to life using “in-camera” effects rather than animation and CGI

Two years later, in 2007, with the support of the Australian Film Commission, Hugo was shot in the middle of a cold Melbourne winter with a devoted and talented cast and crew.


Rhode Island International Film Festival 2008
Palm Springs International Short Film Festival 2008
Chicago International Children’s Film Festival 2008
Canberra Short Film Festival 2008
Adelaide Shorts Film Festival 2008
Melbourne ATOM Award Screenings 2008
Newport Beach Film Festival 2009
St Kilda Film Festival 2009
Little Big Shots International Film Festival For Kids 2009 (Australian tour)
Rialto Inspiration Night – Amsterdam 2009
Expresion en Corto International Film Festival, Mexico 2009


Winner – Grand Prize for Fantasy (Rhode Island International Film Festival)
Winner – Best Short Film (Australian Writers Guild Awards)


“Hugo is an intriguing, complex piece that is undoubtedly worth the 14 minute break from reality.  Though it won in the fantasy category at RIFF, this short covers an expansive range of genres. At some points tragic, other times horrific and heart-warming later still, the film keeps its viewers hooked from the very beginning and fully enthralled to the last second.”

– Review by Em Hopkins


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Tessa James as Celestine

Andre Jewson as Mothboy