Gracie Otto‘s latest 11-minute short film, dubbed Desert Dash, is screening at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) between September 6-16, and folks, that’s a pretty big deal.


Other than Otto being one of the best directors Down Under‘s ever birthed, of course, the script won the Soho House North American Script Incubator Program, judged by Barry Jenkins (Get Out), Sean Baker (Florida Project) and Bruce Wagner (Map to the Stars). The prize? Oh, just a cool $20K + a screening at the renowned TIFF.

“I am proud of  Desert Dash and hope to get it out into the world and onto the festival circuit, like my other short films, after it’s Toronto debut,” Otto told PEDESTRIAN.TV of the project.

Otto teamed up with producers Jessica CarreraCraig Deeker and Francesca Duncan, as well as actress Krew Boylan (Schapelle) and actor Damian Walshe-Howling for the project.

You can expect a taste of Quentin Tarantino action in this one, and, as with all productions touched by The Dollhouse Pitcures, is female-led with a feisty heroine front and centre.

The lead, Georgie (Otto), lives on the outskirts of Australian outback town Lightning Ridge (aka Home of The Opal) where the population is seemingly getting smaller by the second. Georgie and her pal Sherry (Boylan) watch TV + play video games to keep themselves entertained, almost using it as an opportunity to really live their damn lives.


Until, that is, a mysterious call propels Georgie into the game of ‘Desert Dash‘. Opals are the currency and you have to get outta town before the sun goes down to survive (omg The Swan Princess vibes, no?). But – is Georgie playing the game or being played?

Loves me a good mindfuck.


I loved that it was set in Lightning Ridge and within a ‘game’ – I immediately said, ‘Let’s do it’,” Carrera explained. Boylan also jumped at the opportunity to work on a project with her Dollhouse associates, saying:

We are a really good tight-knit team so working with Jess and Gracie is always very creatively focused. We know how each other works and how we can get the best out of each other so it’s rewarding, hard-working but joyous.


Otto dedicates the film to her friend Sami Rebillet, who sadly passed last year.

She has always been an inspiration to me with her career as writer/director/actor, and as a lecturer in film studies who was always pushing me to learn more about the industry. Sami also had a connection with Lightning Ridge, and we had talked about people who live “off the grid” in remote places, but who get stuck there with no way of getting out.

Watch the trailer below: