Joy Boy

Stef Smith’s short film Joy Boy, shot by cinematographer Tania Lambert, was reviewed as part of the Australian short film program at the Melbourne Queer Film Festival (MQFF) in 2019.

Review by James Cunningham.


A scene from 'Joy Boy' - DOP Tania Lambert
A scene from ‘Joy Boy’ – DOP Tania Lambert

Unexpectedly, Joy Boy delivers probably one of the best performances of the entire festival when young Jonny (George Holahan-Cantwell) kicks off the film and introduces us to the character. Based on a true story, Jonny is played later in life by Jonny Hawkins. He’s a young man caught between his conservative family, and evangelical church and his emerging sexuality.

Cinematographer Tania Lambert has done a truly wonderful job in bring together all the elements of what was a very ambitions short film, layering the images with both realism and beauty. Lambert is an award winning cinematographer with a keen eye for composition and lighting as well as a desire to tell stories which move people in every way. With her work on the film Joy Boy she has very much proved herself ‘one to watch’. 

And kudos, too, to the talented Paul Capsis who was brilliant in the film.


James Cunningham is the Editor of Australian Cinematographer Magazine.

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