Iris Prize 2019

Joy Boy


Stef Smith


Belinda Dean & Morgan Benson-Taylor


Stef Smith & Jonny Hawkins



Australia, 9 mins

We first meet Jonny as a precocious, flamboyant child, performing a rendition of Happy Birthday (in the style of Marilyn Monroe) before bewildered family members and guests.  

Twenty years later he is a youth leader at an evangelical Christian church and has a girlfriend. How did that boy become this boy? Joy Boy takes us skipping through Jonny’s life, from childhood to adulthood and the moment when he’ll learn to embrace his true self. 

Programme 5 | Faith and Freedom | Cineworld Screen 15 | Thur 10 Oct 12pm

Buy tickets for Programme 5 / Buy festival passes

Stef Smith is a director and writer working across film and commercials. Her short film, Joy Boy, was a recipient for Create NSW 2017 Generator: Emerging Filmmaker’s Fund. Joy Boy premiered on SBS Viceland and SBS OnDemand in 2018 and has since gone on to win Best Australian Short Film at Melbourne Queer Film Festival, Best Director, Best Screenplay & Audience Choice Award at Freshflix Vivid Film Festival and Best Film & Best LGBTI Film At West End Film Festival. Joy Boy had it’s International Premiere at Palm Springs International ShortFest 2019. Stef is a recipient of the 2018 Australian Director’s Guild Commercial and Content Mentorship program and was placed with Photoplay Films with whom she is now signed for commercial representation. Stef was selected by Create NSW to attend the MIFF Accelerator Director’s Lab 2018 alongside the most promising emerging directors from Australia and New Zealand. Stef was funded by Create NSW again in 2018 to develop her television drama project, FISH, which was also shortlisted for Sundance New Voices Lab 2019. Stef proudly tutors weekly at Bus Stop Films – the not-for-profit filmmaking school for young adults with an intellectual disability.

 joyboyfilm | studiounko