Jennifer Kent

Jennifer Kent

It could be said that Australian director and actor Jennifer Kent began practicing her art when she was still a child, crafting stories and characters as her favorite form of play. By the time she was nearing adulthood, Kent was ready to formalize her training, enrolling at the prestigious National Institute of Dramatic Art in Kensington, Australia. The rigorous program at NIDA encouraged students to focus on one area of interest, and so Kent chose to major in Performing Arts, honing her acting abilities through intense class work and theater roles until she graduated in 1991. Kent would spend the next several years acting on Australian television in series like "The New Adventures of Black Beauty" (7 Network, 1992) and "Murder Call" (Nine Network, 1997-2000) as well as in films like "Babe: Pig in the City" (1998). However, as Kent recounts it, her enthusiasm for acting was already waning as she entered the realm of professional acting. She yearned to step behind the camera, and so she sent a message to renowned Danish director Lars von Trier, asking him for the chance to observe him at work and hopefully glean some insights about filmmaking. To her astonishment, von Trier's assistant responded, granting Kent permission to visit the set of "Dogville" (2003) for one day, so long as she was willing to contribute work to the production. Kent was happy to do so, and the experience helped her formulate a plan for her own debut as a director. She soon set to work writing and directing a short horror film called "Monster," which would prove a major success on the 2006 festival circuit, screening at over 40 festivals including the Telluride Film Festival, the Montreal Film Festival, Slamdance, SXSW, and Aspen Shortsfest. Based on the short's success, Kent was able to write and produce her next project, expanding the story and concept in "Monster" into a full length feature film called "The Babadook." Kent secured financing for the project from Screen Australia, the South Australian Film Corporation, and a hefty crowdfunding campaign throughout 2012, eventually bringing the project to the big screen in 2014 to widespread international acclaim.