Cate Shortland is an Australian writer and a director of film and television. Born in Temora, New South Wales, she completed her undergraduate studies at Sydney University (1991) with a BA in Fine Arts and History and subsequently received a Graduate Diploma in Directing from the Australian Film Television and Radio School (2000) where she received the Southern Star Award for most promising student.
While still in school and shortly aftersaw its North American premiere graduation Cate wrote and directed four award winning short films, Strap On Olympia (Gold Plaque, Chicago International Film Festival 1995), Pentuphouse (Dendy Award, Sydney Film Festival 1999), Flowergirl (Dendy Award, Sydney Film Festival 2000, Oberhausen 16mm Best Film) and Joy (Best Film, Melbourne International Film Festival 2000).
Cate spent three years directing episodes of the Network Ten television series The Secret Life of Us and The Silence. In 2010 Cate adapted Rosie from Christos Tsiolkas' novel The Slap. The series was nominated for a BAFTA Award and won an AWGIE in 2012 for Best Television Mini Series Adaptation.
Cate wrote and directed her debut feature length film, Somersault, which premiered at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival in Un Certain Regard. Exploring the themes of teenage sexuality and emotion, Somersault is about a 16-year-old girl named Heidi who runs away from her Canberra home to the ski fields of Jindabyne in New South Wales. There she meets Joe, the son of a local farmer, and tries to form a relationship with him, despite his difficulty in expressing his emotions. He also seems to be unsure of his sexual orientation, while having better than average luck meeting girls.
Somersault swept the field, winning every single feature film award—13 in total including Best Director & Best Original Screenplay —at the 2004 Australian Film Institute Awards. It also won 6 IF Awards including Best Film, Best Direction & Best Script; Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Best Script; 5 Film Critics' Circle Awards including Best Film & Best Director; Bank Of Scotland Best Feature Film Edinburgh Film Festival; Best Feature Ljubljana Film Festival Slovenia, Special Jury Breakthrough Award, Director at the Miami Film Festival and Best Screenplay, Festival International du Film d'Amour de Mons. The film was released in over 15 countries.
In 2011 Cate co-write and directed her second feature, Lore, which is based on Rachel Seiffert's novel The Dark Room. The film is a German-language drama set during the Spring of 1945 in the immediate aftermath of WWII when the Nazis have been defeated. Lore, the daughter of a high-ranking SS officer, is forced to come to grips with the fact that her parents became war criminals as she takes her brothers, sisters and grandmother on a journey across Germany with no money and the knowledge that she is the child of Nazi leaders.
Lore premiered In Competition at the Sydney Film Festival in 2012 and went on to the Locarno International Film Festival in August 2012 where it won the Audience Award (Prix du Public UBS). The big winner at the 2012 Stockholm International Film Festival, Lore took home four of Stockholm's highest honors including Best Film, Best Actress honor for newcomer Saskia Rosendahl, Best Cinematography for cameraman Adam Arkapaw and Best Musical Score for composer Max Richter. The film saw its North American premiere to rave reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and has been selected as the Australian entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar at the 85th Awards Ceremony of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
For her brilliant work as Director in her feature film LORE a gripping story of survival set in the aftermath of World War II Cate Shortland is receiving TheWIFTS Foundation 2012 Best Director Award.