Peter Skinner: Lost Boy Found

The short film Lost Boy has been making waves across the Australian and International festival circuit recently, having taken Best Short Film Award at the 2021 St Kilda Film Festival and landing its director Peter Skinner a nomination for Best director from the Australian Director’s Guild. 

Skinner, who also penner the script, is set to take Lost Boy into competition for the 2022 Academy Award for Best Live Action Short. An acute coming-of-age drama set against the backdrop of Australia’s distinctive RSL and Leagues Club culture, Skinner drew on his own personal experience having growing up around his own local club, and his years struggling with layers of misunderstood vulnerability and emotional turbulence that affected his transition into manhood.

“When setting out to make Lost Boy.” Explains Skinner “I found myself wondering how my voice as a filmmaker was relevant. What do I have to say that adds something constructive and worthwhile to the complex conversation that surrounds masculinity?”

Citing Paul Thomas Anderson as something of a mentor, Skinner utilizes his narrative to tap a wellspring of intimate and raw emotion, provoking conversations between volatile and exposed characters. And much like P.T. Anderson with his own muse Philip Seymour Hoffman, Lost Boy marks another collaborative effort with Skinner’s own creative partner, AFI / AACTA nominated actor Michael Sheasby (Hacksaw Ridge, Nightingale), who previously graced Skinner’s 2005 short Brother and more recently in 2021’s Staring Contest

“We met through the film industry.” Skinner recalls, regarding the formative relationship between himself and Michael. “But have since created an extremely supportive and encouraging friendship. We both, in varying ways, have experienced our own anxieties, darkness and low points. 

“Mike was the lead at the Sydney Opera House at the age of 25 and, deeply miserable, he learned that mental health was something he had to take responsibility of in order to move forward with his work. 

“Whereas I try to harness my anxieties into my work, expressing feelings as to not feel so alone. And so it is through each other’s process, honesty, trust and willingness that we explore feelings and thoughts together that can, if left unchecked, lead to very destructive means. 

“Like we explore in Lost Boy, which grapples with the outcomes of not dealing with these emotions in honest, engaging conversations where it is never an aim to find an answer, but to engage in the process of peeling back the surface to go deeper in the nuance of masculinity, and a hope that it sparks conversation.”

As Lost Boy makes preparations to take on its Oscars challenge, Skinner continues to actively empower his creative truth, having just launched his latest short film Staring Contest onto the festival circuit while refining a script for a new television series, The Juniors which looks to expand and further explore Lost Boy’s thematic ideas of modern masculinity and vulnerability.  

Lost Boy is now available to view online, complete with an introduction from director Peter Skinner, thanks to ‘AFTR’s Showcase SELECTS 2021’

    J. Fletcher

    Based in Sydney, Australia. Entertainment Journalist. Critic. Photographer. Coffee Snob. Not necessarily in that order.

    All author posts

    Leave a Reply