Director – Peter Spann

Peter Spann returned to his teenage passion of film, television and theatre in 2016.

Peter Spann studied at Sydney Film School (SFS) and was nominated as Best Director for his first film, “Heavy Heist“, which was selected to be shown in their Film Festival on the Graduating night.

His second film, “No Shortcuts” was a crowdfunded docu-drama highlighting indigenous youth who found a source of inspiration in boxing.  It is a Semi-Finalist in the Hollywood International Documentary Awards.

After completing his studies at SFS, Peter was selected to study at the prestigious Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS), one of only 8 people completing the Graduate Diploma in Directing that Semester.

Peter Directed “Open Hearts” and “Mammon” as major projects. He worked as First Assistant Director, Continuity, Sound, and Second Assistant Camera on a number of other student Films.

As Director of Dream Maker Studios Peter Spann looks to collaborate with creatives in all disciplines.

Director’s Statement

Undertow was a beautiful and wonderful experience of filmmaking for me.

The cast delivered extraordinary performances given their experience and the crew gave it their all.

Considering the entire area had just experienced a natural disaster the local people were also amazing. Plus we got to film in my home, the beautiful Byron Bay, Australia.

Undertow (Surfer Girl) has deep personal meaning for me as it is the story of a young woman I met on the beach on a long summer’s day in Byron Bay.

Her spirit, enthusiasm for life and resilience remains an inspiration for me.

Designer – Kayla Crowe

Graduating in 2016 from Charles Sturt University with a Bachelor in Design for Stage and Screen, Kayla is experienced in Costume and Set design, as well as management. She has worked in theatres throughout Newcastle and Wagga Wagga, NSW and been apart of film projects sponsered by Google, YouTube and Screen Australia in Sydney. She completed her Certificate in Glamour, Fashion and Bridal Makeup with the Napoleon Perdis Academy in 2013 at Parramatta, and has worked with the company for 9 months, as well as freelancing independantly and with various Theatre and Screen companies since then.
​Kayla is an enthusiastic worker and learner and is still attaining skills to help her thrive in the entertainment industry. She is open to new and traditional work and embraces any opportunities or challenges that come her way.


Kayla says, Working on Undertow was a wonderful experience, and something I hadn’t done before. This was my first film production since graduating uni, and one of the first films that I had been given the solo task of Production Designing.
It was wonderful working with such a talented and diverse crew and a pleasure to watch the cast embody their characters.
This production was certainly a challenge for me, as it was working with themes and locations outside of my norm, but I took it with an open stride and with great help and encouragement from the cast and crew.
Helping (Director Peter Spann translate his vision to a reality was a privilege and I am honoured to be featured on the credits of this film and look forward to its continuing success.”

Editor – Grace Vaughan

Grace still loves doing jigsaw puzzles, but these days spends most of her time piecing together video.

A 2016 graduate of AFTRS, in 2017 she edited her first feature film, The Casting Game, a heartfelt family rom-com.

She also worked on the Instagram drama series The Out There, recently picked up by US based Adolescent Content. Grace has edited a number of short films, including futuristic sci-fi Bubble (Official Selection Melbourne Underground Film Festival 2017 and For Film’s Sake Festival 2017), and coming of age drama Undertow (Official Selection Byron Bay Film Festival 2017 and Best Shorts Competition 2017).

Not wishing to be genre pigeon-holed, Grace has worked extensively in documentary, primarily in the fields of education and disability, but jumped at the chance to edit short boxing doco No Shortcuts (Official Selection Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards 2017). 


Grace says, “Undertow was a challenge, but mostly a pleasure, to edit. Interesting story, great leads, beautifully shot, scenic location – what’s not to love?

Having worked with director Peter Spann before, I was keen to collaborate again – not only is he focused and talented filmmaker, he’s a pleasure to edit for – supportive, trusting, considerate and enthusiastic.

Undertow was rewarding to edit as it had plenty of tonal and rhythmic diversity to play with; a coming-of-age surfing film dealing with addiction, death, friendship, the supernatural, it’s at times languid and dream-like, fast-paced and intense, moving and upbeat. I’m extremely happy with the end result and hope people enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed working on it!”

Director of Photography – David Thomas Ross

David Thomas Ross is a cinematographer and creative director based in Sydney. With experience across an array of digital platforms, his passion for cinematography is driven and delivered through foundations in design, aesthetics and innovative storytelling. As a graduate of the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) and Australian Film Television & Radio School (AFTRS), David now works with accomplished and rising creators to produce visceral content with impressively successful outcomes. 


For Undertow, I worked closely with Director Peter Spann throughout the key stages of pre-production, photography and post to best highlight the innate physical feelings and qualities of Byron Bay.

We were predominantly location-based and aimed to be highly-mobile, efficient and ready to capture the specific natural lighting required to replicate the appropriate time-of-day as defined by the script – and through the image, underscore the vibrancy and vitality of Byron at the catalyst for Bella’s recovery.