Chocolate Oyster was a labour of love for the filmmaker, who wrote, directed and produced.
Shot in black and white, with a largely improvised script, the film follows the trials and tribulations of a group of millennials pursuing their dreams in the big smoke.
“We’ve all been through those big decisive moments in our 20s, where we have to start making choices about our careers and relationships,” he said.
“This film is an exploration of universal themes in a contemporary setting.
“It also allowed me to experiment creatively – it’s so hard to make an independent film, so we really went for broke and tried to make a film that looks and feels different.”
The film premiered last year at Sydney Film Festival where it made it into the curators Top 10 list and garnered praise from the critics, who called it “captivating and complex” and “a charming black and white comedy”.
It is now receiving a limited theatrical release around the country, where audiences are responding to its expose of millenial life.
“I think it offers audiences a glimpse into what life is like for young people today,” he said.
“My generation has been sold an impossible dream by popular culture and social media, but people are caught on the hamster wheel, trying to live their best lives.
“We have a lot of millennials coming to see the film, but also people in their 50s, who’ve told me that the film has helped them understand their kids!”
Since graduating from Griffith, Steve has established his own production company and carved out a niche producing big-budget teen movies for Disney and Netflix. His movie Rip Tide, was one of the highest grossing Australian films and picked up by Netflix for worldwide release. He recently finished Back of the Net, which will be distributed by Disney and open on 100 screens around Australia over Easter.
Steve said moving from his native Canada to study film at Griffith had prepared him to forge a diverse career in the industry.
“I really enjoyed the course and I feel like it has given me an edge in my professional career,” he said.
“I think I also received a boost from coming to study abroad – it gave me the confidence and connections to build up my company and approach these huge companies in LA and London.”
Chocolate Oyster screenings and Q&As will take place in Brisbane this weekend: 4pm, Saturday 23 March at New Farm 6 cinemas and 4pm, Sunday 24 March at Dendy Coorparoo.
Back of the Net is released in theatres on 11 April.