The Last Time I Saw Richard (2013)


Written & Directed by Nicholas Verso
Produced by John Molloy
Director Of Photography: Stefan Duscio
Music: Darrin Verhagen
Production Design: James Clark
Costume Design: Erin Roche
Sound Design: Emma Bortignon
VFX Design: Cumulus VFX (Will Gammon)
Editor: Nicholas Verso

Cast: Toby Wallace, Cody Fern, Brian Lipson, Melissa Godbold, Marta Kaczmarek

Developed and funded through Screen Australia’s Springboard programme, the short films is designed to showcase a distinct cinematic voice and assist in leveraging finance and interest in the teams’ debut feature film, which is currently in development.

The film serves as a prequel to the feature film, Boys In The Trees and introduces us to Jonah, 2 years earlier, and the friendship he forms with his roommate, Richard, at a mental health clinic in the winter of 1995.

Boys On Film 11: We Are Animals - now available to pre-order on Amazon UK

Boys On Film 11: We Are Animals – now available to pre-order on Amazon UK


The Last Time I Saw Richard is available to purchase on DVD and VOD exclusively in the UK as part of the short film anthology, BOYS ON FILM 11: WE ARE ANIMALS from March 10th 2014 -






AUSTRALIAN WRITERS GUILD AWARDS 2013 – Best Short Film (Nominee)


IRIS PRIZE FESTIVAL 2013 – Jury Mention

SAN JOSE SHORT FILM FESTIVAL 2013 – Audience Favourite



LONDON: BFI FLARE LONDON LGBT FILM FESTIVAL – Friday 27th March 2015 @ 3.50pm and Saturday 28th March 2015 @ 1.20pm (BFI Southbank) -

LOS ANGELES: OUTFEST LOS ANGELES – Sunday 13th July 2014 @ 9.30pm and Monday 13th July 2014 @ 9.30pm –

PARIS: PANORAMA DES NUITS EN OR – Monday 16th June 2014 @ 9pm (UNESCO) -

HAWAII: HONOLULU RAINBOW FILM FESTIVAL – Sunday 15th June 2014 @ 4.30pm (The LGBT Center) -

TORONTO: INSIDE OUT LGBT FILM FESTIVAL – Wednesday 28th May 2014 @ 5.30pm (TIFF Bell Lightbox Cinema Three) -


BENDIGO: BENDIGO QUEER FILM FESTIVAL – Sunday 27th April 2014 @ 12.30pm (La Trobe University Visual Arts Centre) -

NEWPORT BEACH: NEWPORT BEACH FILM FESTIVAL – Sunday 27th April 2014 @ 8pm (Starlight Triangle 8 Cinema)

NASHVILLE: NASHVILLE FILM FESTIVAL – Saturday 19th April 2014 @ 7.15pm & Friday 25th April 2014 @ 5.15pm and 10pm -


MELBOURNE: MELBOURNE QUEER FILM FESTIVAL – Saturday 22nd March 2014 at 6pm (Australian Centre For The Moving Image) -

BERMUDA: BERMUDA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL – Saturday 22nd March 2014 at 3.45pm -

SYDNEY: MARDI GRAS FILM FESTIVAL (MY QUEER CAREER) – Tuesday 18th February 2014 at 7pm (Event Cinemas, George Street)  -

MELBOURNE: FLICKERFEST MADE IN MELBOURNE – Wednesday 12th February 2014 at 6.15pm (Kino Cinemas) -

CANBERRA: SCREENING WITH MYSTERY ROAD – Sunday 25th January 2014 at 3pm -

PRAGUE: PRAGUE SHORT FILM FESTIVAL – Saturday 18th January 2014 at 9pm & Sunday 19th January 2014 at 8.30pm -

SYDNEY: FLICKERFEST – Sunday 12th January 2014 at 6.30pm -


MELBOURNE: MIFF SHORTS: THE SHADOW ELECTRIC – Tuesday 10th December 2013 at 8pm -

LOS ANGELES: HOLLYWOOD SHORTS – Sunday 3rd November 2013 at 6pm -

AUSTIN: HOUSECORE HORROR FILM FESTIVAL – Saturday 26th October 2013 at 9am (screening with Scum Of The Earth) -

SAN JOSE: SAN JOSE SHORT FILM FESTIVAL – Friday 18th October 2013 at 10.30pm -–passes.html

WALES: IRIS PRIZE FESTIVAL, CARDIFF WALES – Thursday 10th October 2013 at 12.30pm (Cineworld) -

BLUE MOUNTAINS: BLUE MOUNTAINS FILM FESTIVAL – Thursday 3rd October 2013 at 8pm (The Carrington Hotel) -

RHODE ISLAND: RHODE ISLAND INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL – Saturday 9th August 2013 at 8pm (Paff Theatre) -

MELBOURNE PREMIERE: MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL – Saturday 3rd August 2013 at 1.30pm (Greater Union Cinemas) & Saturday 10th August at 4pm (Kino Cinemas) -


AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE: SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL (DENDY AWARDS) – Saturday 15th June 2013 at 4pm (Event Cinemas George Street) -



“Take note, filmmakers: you don’t need to be watching a feature film to have your pants up around your neck in fear. The Last Time I Saw Richard, unerringly directed by Nicholas Verso, is superbly edited with sound design and cinematography to match. It is a lush, deeply textured narrative set in a mental institution. The two leads (Toby Wallace and Cody Fern) dance around one another in games of basketball, Connect-4, and razor blades. One might be disturbed, but what the other guy has is far, far worse. Utterly chilling.” - Simon Bossell, Megaphone Oz

“This 22min short directed and written by Nicholas Verso is a superb supernatural film of epic proportions. It has echoes of The Ring and honestly has an equivalent in production values. To win a film award everything must align and be perfect in every way and this film did. It suits my tastes in the unusual and darkness and the cinematography of Stefan Duscio is literally stunning. The special effects are stellar and the acting by Toby Wallace is enough for this film to win on its own.

A film that is brilliant on every level and I wish there was some way you could all see it. Enjoy and join their FB page and ask them how you can see the film – it deserves to be seen!!” – Jason King, Salty Popcorn

“Mental health, rather than sexuality, is at the centre of this significant film. An outstanding performance from Toby Wallace as Jonah takes us into a bleak nightmare world where love is not able to heal. One to remember.” Iris Prize, Jury Review

“A prequel to the upcoming feature-length film Boys In The Trees, The Last Time I Saw Richard is set in a mental health clinic for young people and follows Jonah, a young man who prefers to push people away and present a face of bravado, rather than let anybody in. He gets a new roommate, Richard, who initially doesn’t say a word. However after Richard discovers Jonah self-harming, and later Richard shows he isn’t intimidated by Jonah’s brash attitude, they begin to form an unexpected connection. Well-made and written, it’s an involving and complex film that thankfully steers away from either melodrama or easy answers. These are believable troubled young people, and some of the genuinely creepy, seemingly supernatural moments that emerge play into that, bringing new meaning to shared demons. It doesn’t reveal its gay leanings for a while, but when it does it’s deftly and movingly handled. 9 out of 10” - Tim Isaac, Big Gay Picture Show

“Demons are certainly present in The Last Time I Saw Richard. Nicholas Verso’s prequel to his feature-length Boys in the Trees is a dark, compelling look at Jonah (Toby Wallace) two years previously, as he forms an unexpected connection with his roommate Richard (Cody Fern), who is haunted by demons that become all too literal for Jonah. The enigmatic difference between Jonah’s charismatic impetuousness and Richard’s sober thoughtfulness makes for a moving, enrapturing short.”  - David William Upton, So So Gay

“You should know that there was a many a moment in this film that I stared at the exit sign alongside the cinema screen, too terrified to look directly at it. You’d think that’s an ordinary fact, but this is coming from a person who has watched The Exorcist, Salo and Cannibal Holocaust without the slightest flinch (yes, I know, I have a worryingly high tolerance for violence and horror in film). That is how scary The Last Time I Saw Richard is. But it’s not the things you would expect. Two teenage boys with very different demons are roommates in a psychiatric hospital, and become each others’ wingman in tackling those terrors. Alongside demons climbing on your chest, the much more worldly horrors of severe depression and resultant self-harm infuse the film. Watching a boy with empty eyes torment others in some sick parody of his own ‘madness’; or try to feel alive by slashing blood red ribbons into his own arms makes my stomach churn more than any monster of the night. Toby Wallace and Cody Fern are exceptional as the leads; torture boils under their baby faces. I request the highest of fives, boys, you nailed it. Speaking of nailing it, cinematographer Stefan Duscio and the visual effects by Cumulus conjure smoky demons and dark forests brilliantly; it’s a punch in the gut for a no-doubt-shoestring-budget. I’d be interested to know how many filmmakers on this project (director, writers, cast, producers, anyone) have had experience with mental illness, because this film has an incredibly visceral quality that normally either comes from great skill or your own heart. For example, one of the boys holds a razor to his wrist, praying for the courage to press down and bring an end to it all. When he can’t, he sobs “coward” to himself and the tears flow down his cheeks. This film is brave enough to show you that; and I really, really wish I couldn’t tell you how true it is.” – Tess Connellan, The Scribblings Of A Cinephile

“Dark and increasingly freaky, this short thriller is shot like a proper feature and seriously gets under the skin. It’s set in a psychiatric hospital, where Jonah (Wallace) strikes a defiant jokester pose against authority, while privately cutting himself. He also taunts the other patients mercilessly, then gets frustrated when his new roommate Richard (Fem) refuses to react to him. When Richard catches Jonah cutting himself, a connection is made that allows a brief smile and a shift in power. After a full-on confrontation, the two develop a connection that gets increasingly freaky as Jonah begins to see into Richard’s private nightmares, where he’s stalked by creeping ghostly demons. Filmmaker Verso shoots this in a skilful way, with superbly naturalistic performances that undercut the nastiness with dark comedy. The effects work is also cleverly understated, which makes it even creepier as we follow Jonah into the darkness, where his biggest surprise is how much he cares for Richard. Yes, the film pulls us into its horrific scenes along with Jonah, throwing us off by mixing charm and menace in equal measure. And since the characters are so complex, we never have a clue where it’s heading. But we can see under the surface that these two young men need each other to survive, and that separating them is the cruelest thing that can happen to either of them.” - Rich Kline, Shadows On The Wall

“This gorgeously shot and superbly acted film tells the story of Jonah, a young patient in a teen mental health clinic in 1995. Bratty towards other patients and loner by default, he suffers from horrific nightmares and copes with his internal wounds by cutting himself in the bathroom stalls. One day he’s assigned a roommate named Richard who’s shut down and spends his time drawing in his sketchbook but Jonah slowly manages to breach in and they bond, hinting at something more than just friendship. When Jonah discovers that some of Richard’s drawings match imagery from his nightmares, it becomes clear that some mysterious supernatural forces might be at play. Taut, creepy and atmospheric, this short has a cool Donnie Darko vibe and I was relieved to find out that the very promising writer/director Nicholas Verso has made it as a prequel to his upcoming feature film Boys In The Trees. My first thought while credits were rolling was: “I need to watch the feature right now!” and I bet that will be your reaction as well.” - Francesco Cerniglia, Candid

“Verso’s gothic movie creeps in all the right directions. Aesthetically it is superior to a most of the others in the collection and it finds the sweet spot between emotive drama and effective horror. On top of this, Verso manages to squeeze a nice little playful streak, some serious undertones and some very nice performances from a couple of talented young actors. The amount of ideas in this short shows that Verso should comfortably move towards making features.” – Ali Gardner, Front Row Reviews

“Although a mental hospital is a familiar setting for supernatural films, this one goes in a slightly different direction, one that focuses in on the relationship between its two lead characters. It is a moody and haunting watch.” – Lauren Davis, io9

“A fantastic short film. Works that take top national prizes (like Oscar, César) are undeniably polished, but often staid, conforming to a very dated idea of “prestige drama”. The Last Time I Saw Richard, Nicolas Verso’s AACTA-winning short film from last year shares some similarities (most notably its 22min runtime), but in others is very fresh. How many genres can one fit into a film? It’s a coming-of-age drama about bullying and mental health with GLBT elements that celebrates the power of friendship, and, oh yeah, throws in incredibly well realized DEMONS. It’s a stuffed premise that fortunately makes a lot more sense than that run-on sentence just did.”  – Jason Sondhi, Short Of The Week

“This nightmarish, yet equally captivating work charts the issue of the demons that come to trouble many a teenage mind. And no more so than in Toby Wallace’s achingly realistic portrayal of Jonah; seen at first as the bully of the piece, ever taking pleasure in taunting his fellow inmates, only for his cocky exterior to mask personal demons that see his arm razor cut with the physical signs of mental torment.  Writer and director Nicholas Verso has delivered a superbly executed work that wonderfully charts the growing bond between two troubled souls and in particular how Jonah comes to rejoice in his growing friendship with Richard, to the point of being protective of him as a best friend, or lover would. Complete with many a neat narrative touch, together with some strikingly dark special effects that brilliantly underscore the supernatural element of the piece, frankly this short plays like a feature, being high in production values throughout.” – David Hall, Gay Celluloid

So we’re looking for tension, yes? Well thank God for The Last Time I Saw Richard – though God cannot protect you from all of your demons! Is that a spoiler? I don’t think so because we all have inner-demons, but when we mix that with mental health issues, what’s real and what isn’t? This blurred line is what hooks you into this short and, in my opinion, it provides everything I love about horror and sci-fi in an amazing condensed package. Everything from the cinematography, the score, the execution, the story to the performances encapsulated me in this creepy, tense, eerie world which I wanted to delve into. If a film makes me jump, it gets bonus points. If a film makes me want to shout at the screen it gets even more bonus points. ” – Timothy Breach, Movie Marker

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