Biography - Sean Francis Ellis
Inspired by science-fiction movies and TV shows as a child, Sean began making Super-8 movies at age 11, teaching himself the filmmaking process through experimentation, and by studying successful filmmakers and their work. Sean’s earliest influences were Spielberg, Lucas, Cameron and Carpenter: Writer-Directors specializing in Science-Fiction, Action-Adventure and Horror.
Born in Sydney, Australia, Sean spent his childhood in Australia and New Zealand, before moving to Hong Kong as a teenager. In High School, Sean continued making films: writing, shooting, directing and editing in Super-8. Experiments with animation and special effects soon led to narrative films, featuring friends as actors.
At age 16, Sean made a 25-minute Action-Adventure film, designed to showcase his filmmaking skills. Featuring elaborate skateboard chases and a ‘stop-motion’ alien, Hong Kong Hookie secured Sean’s place in the three-year full-time program at the VCA School of Film & Television, in Melbourne, Australia. During the course, Sean wrote, directed and edited several 16mm shorts, whilst crewing on fellow students’ films. The Bachelor of Film & Television degree emphasized practical training in Screenwriting, Direction, Cinematography and Editing (video and 16mm) as well as theory and the history of cinema. Sean has continued his self-education through short courses and hands-on experience, staying up-to-date with progresses in production and post-production technology.
Since graduating, Sean has completed numerous short films and music videos, whilst working on features, such as the Australian comedy, Muggers, with D.P. Roger Lanser (1998, Camera Department Trainee), and the New Line family adventure/comedy, Son of the Mask (2005, Production Runner), made at Sydney’s Fox Studios. In 1996, Sean spent several months in Los Angeles, observing filmmakers at work, including Paul Verhoeven, directing the sci-fi epic, Starship Troopers, Australian directors Roger Donaldson (Dante’s Peak) and Simon Wincer (The Phantom), and Kevin Reynolds (187). Sean also worked on the independent feature, Scrapbook, as an Assistant Director.
In 2006, Sean moved to Los Angeles, where he interned with Angry Films (Producer Don Murphy, Transformers, Real Steel) and Larger Than Life Productions (Writer/Producer/Director Gary Ross, The Hunger Games, Seabiscuit) reading scripts, writing coverage, and learning the studio development process. Sean was also Personal Assistant to Allison Thomas (Co-Producer, Seabiscuit) on the Universal Studios lot.
Sean has written four feature-length screenplays, including Claws, which was selected as a finalist in the Beverly Hills Film Festival Screenwriting Competition, in 2010. Sean also directed and produced a short film based on the screenplay, which premiered at the 69th World Science-Fiction Convention in 2011. A two minute teaser can be viewed HERE. Since 2011, "Claws" has been in development with Australian producer, Laura Sivis (Courage Films).