unko + VANDAL bring to life director Stef Smith’s ‘Weather Girl’ using Epic Games Unreal Engine

unko + VANDAL bring to life director Stef Smith’s ‘Weather Girl’ using Epic Games Unreal Engine

unko was recently commissioned by international juggernaut Epic Games, maker of the realtime gaming engine Unreal Engine, to create a 5-minute short film as part of the nationwide Unreal Engine Short Film Challenge.


Shot in a single day with the support of Screen NSW and Epic Games, Weather Girl has been named as one of the Top 5 films in the Australia wide competition.

Given a mere six weeks to write, prepare, film and post-produce, unko producer Belinda Dean and director Stef Smith turned to creative technology company VANDAL to assist with Unreal Engine’s virtual production technology.

VANDAL, in collaboration with Unreal Engine specialist Shanny Lam, designed the film’s many in-camera visual effects shots, including a complete virtual environment rendered in real time on set. This allowed director Stef Smith to see and alter the Unreal Engine environment and visual effects for the various camera angles needed right there on set. Building upon data captured, VANDAL further created numerous Unreal Engine visual effects shots and particle simulations.

Says Dean: “Almost everyone I called thought we were mad to attempt a short film during the industry’s busiest period in October 2020. The incredible support of crew, VANDAL, The Editors and Electric Sheep Music made it possible and we managed to create a polished visual effects film we’re incredibly proud of.”

unko + VANDAL bring to life director Stef Smith’s ‘Weather Girl’ using Epic Games Unreal Engine

Says director Stef Smith: “I’m a big sci-fi nerd and am endlessly grateful to Epic Games for financing so many short films and giving us the opportunity to make use of real-time technology. Huge thanks to the entire Weather Girl team who combined their energy and enthusiasm for this project with a mental deadline and many unknowns! I feel lucky to have had their support.”

Says Emile Rademeyer, executive producer, VANDAL: “VANDAL is proud to be a leader in visual effects and helped create a showpiece film by demonstrating the potential of using real-time in-camera visual effects on set and in virtual productions.”

unko + VANDAL bring to life director Stef Smith’s ‘Weather Girl’ using Epic Games Unreal Engine

Weather Girl is a lo-fi retro futurist sci fi starring Shabana Azeez as Molly, a 16-year-old girl who is undergoing a transformation she doesn’t yet understand. Trapped in an unhappy family dynamic, Molly decides that today is the day to make a stand.


unko + VANDAL bring to life director Stef Smith’s ‘Weather Girl’ using Epic Games Unreal Engine

Directed by Stef Smith
Written by Stef Smith & Penny Greenhalgh
Produced by Belinda Dean, unko

Molly – Shabana Azeez
Sue (Mum) – Karina Bracken
Til – Nishka Bhagwat
Henry – Melon
Voice of T.O.D – Jacqui Duncan

Casting Director – Daisy Hicks CGA
Director of Photography – Christopher Miles
Production Designer – Hugh O’Connor
Editor – Lily Davis
Composer – Cassie To
Production Manager – Morgan Hind
1st Assistant Director – Naomi Enfield
Script Supervisor – Kerinne Jenkins
Business Affairs – Sara McFarlane, E/S Collab
1st Assistant Camera – Zachary Peel-McGregor
2nd Assistant Camera – Chantal Jack
Gaffer – Matt Willis
Best Boy – Nik Damianakis
Key Grip – Dave Griffiths
Sound Recordist – Mario Gabrieli
Boom Operator – Turner Graves
Set Dresser – Aaron Healey
Standby Props – Annemie Iles
Costume – Emma White
Make Up – Amelia Fell
Stills Photography & BTS – Charlie Ford
Covid Cleaning – On Stage Cleaning

Visual Effects and Post Production – VANDAL
Executive Director, Creative Strategy – Emile Rademeyer
Creative Technologist – Sarthak Sachdeva
Unreal Engine Technician – Shanny Lam
VFX Artist – Robo Dinnerville
Colourist – Daniel Pardy
Online & Mastering – Phil Stuart-Jones
Post Producer – Catherine Terracini
Post Production Coordinator – Gabrielle Filtz
Technical Assist – Mariah Dunn

Post Production:
Edit Facility – The Editors
Edit Executive Producer – Nicoletta Rousianos
Edit Producer – Liv Reddy
Edit Assistants – Grace O’Connell & Carly Anne Kenneally

Audio Post Production – Electric Sheep Music
Sound Designer – Joe Mount
Audio Post Producer – Kate Stenhouse

Title Design – Rikkili Clark

Special thanks to Panavision, McGregor Casting, Big House Locations, Nicolas Godoy, Peter Lorz, Tom Slater, Dave Ruby Howe, Edie Smith, Igby Smith, Rabbit Content, Alex Hay, Lucas Jenner, Danielle Baynes, Amelia Carew-Reid, Epic Games, Antony Reed, Chris Murphy, Alex Stevens

Financed with the assistance of Screen NSW

Weather Girl uses the Unreal Engine. Unreal is a trademark or registered trademark of Epic Games, Inc. in the United States of America and elsewhere.

Unreal Engine, Copyright 1998 – 2020, Epic Games, Inc. All rights reserved

2020 Stef Smith, unko Pty Ltd