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American-Australian Arts Fund
Recipients 2017
Cat Commander
Writer & Filmmaker
Course/Project: Film and Television MFA at Mount St. Mary's University
Cat is a writer and film maker from Perth, Western Australia. She has a Master of Writing for Performance at the Victorian College of the Arts (2013) and is currently a student in the Film and Television MFA program at Mount Saint Mary’s University in Los Angeles. Cat’s play, The Last Time I Saw Richard, premiered at The Bakehouse Theatre in Adelaide in 2016. Previous work, You Took The Stars was performed in Perth and Melbourne (2014/2015), following Red Stitch Theatre featuring her short play, Melting, in Play List (2014). Cat holds a Bachelor of Arts from The University of Western Australia (2004). Cat is thrilled to have the opportunity to adapt her stage works for the big screen.
Justin Sterling
Visual Artist
MFA from Parsons School of Design
I am a visual artist from Texas currently based in Brooklyn. I attended the Parsons School of Design in NYC for an MFA in Fine Arts and graduated in May 2017. I make art out of found objects from cities. I explore how everyday objects shape our social behavior through history and politics. My aim is to unravel the way we view power, authority, and control by revealing various truths about urban ecosystems and American poverty. Many of my artistic propositions include interventions in public as well as the mediums of painting, drawing, sculpture, video, installation, and performance.  Much of the work has an underlying tone of violence that I use to create tension inside of the status quo and challenge my audience to think critically. It has always come naturally to me to collect neglected objects and attempt to recycle them. I choose to recycle an object based on its metaphorical or institutional significance, attempting to give them new life and reclaim them from their socio-political censor. In my process, I embrace, provoke, and appropriate to explore the ways violence and risk have a stake in what it means to be a responsible citizen.
Philippa Kane
Theatrical Producer
Philippa studied Drama at QUT, Brisbane, and has been working as a theatrical producer in London, since 2013. She has worked with both new and established companies producing theatre in London, throughout the UK and internationally. Philippa is a 2015 Stage One alumna.

For BeFrank Theatre Company she produced a tour for the British Forces in Germany. This was the first ever theatrical tour of it’s kind. She has also worked with The Reversed Shakespeare Company, producing a sell-out run of a gender-reversed “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. Her other experience includes working with Half Moon Children’s Theatre, Icarus Theatre Collective and DumbWise Theatre Company.


Victor Avila
Master of Music at Carnegie
Mellon University

Victor began his tertiary violin studies with Goetz Richter and Ole Bohn at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 2012 and graduated with First Class Honours.

In July 2015 Victor participated in a tour to Italy with the Sydney Conservatorium where he performed in a piano trio which gave recitals in Verona and Mantua.

Victor was selected as part of an internship with the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra of Australia to perform Puccini's La Boheme at the Hanoi Opera House in Hanoi, Vietnam. Victor is now a casual violinist with the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra. Victor has given solo recitals at international venues including the Sala Cecília Meireles in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and the Vigeland Museum in Oslo, Norway. The American-Australian Arts Fund will assist Victor in his study towards a Master of Music degree at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, USA.


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