In 2018 Filmmaker Scott Mannion won an Australian Directors Guild Award for directing The Defector. IT became a Viral hit with over 3 million views online. It received coverage and highly positive reviews in Gizmodo, Vice, Polygon, Io9, Kotaku, Geektyrant, from Sundance and Tiff program directors, Want Magazine, Vintage News, Herald Sun, SMH, The Age, The Australian alongside thousands of 5-star user comments across platforms. The Defector was shot by Oscar-winning cinematographer Russell Boyd, edited by two-time AACTA winner Matt Villa, alongside a world class team. Currently Mannion is co-authoring a non-fiction science book for Cambridge University Press.

Mannion is developing a drama series for the US defense manufacturing industry, and financing his turn of the century mystery thriller feature, Gestalt, set in Victorian London. Mannion received Australian Directors Guild award nomination for his film Anima, which secured grants from Screen Australia and Screen NSW. Anima had its international premiere at the prestigious Clermont-Ferrand film Festival and TV premieres on Canal+ and SBS , and SVOD on Amazon Prime.

After Anima’s tour Mannion joined US production company Benderspink (A History of Violence, The Hangover) to write and develop feature films Polybius and Battlesim.

Mannion directed and produced two successful Kickstarter campaigns (with former Australian of the Year Patrick Mcgorry, and Gold Logie-winning actor Samuel Johnson, award winning Actor John Noble)



“There is no doubt that Mannion possesses some serious cinematographic talent and potentially someone who can join people like David Michôd and Zak Hilditch. I hope he gets a chance to try this as soon as possible.

Menacing. If The Defector was any single emotion, it would be pure, unfiltered sense of menace. Like a bus with that might or might not carry a suicide bomber, this short film expertly racks up the tension without doing too much. Instead, it allows its conflicting ideas to battle in the mind of the viewer. Who is justified in his action and who is the real menace? Defector leaves the audience guessing as the story quickly moves through its plot.

The film follows the real-life figure of Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt as he engages with his security chiefs about the Reds, individuals suspected of working against the state. However, Holt has his own agenda and begins to explore one of the secret threads, culminating in a single night of dangerous confrontation, which the film depicts.

Created by Scott Mannion, the film shows the power of a precisely executed thriller, combined with a modest layer of science fiction. As the film unravels, this layer begins to fill up, but still thankfully remains neither naive nor pretentious. On the other hand, the visual style of Defector, like its superb cast, especially Sean Taylor as Holt, is spot on. The decor and fashion of 1960’s offer a great backdrop to the mystery of the real life death of this figure.

All of these elements resemble movies like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, telling a story of incredibly dangerous men who decide the fate of the world and still manage to look like everyday bureaucrats. These gray and almost faceless persons (even though this changes later on as well) are ideal personification of this menace.”

—IMDB, Myriam Nys

“Wonderfully atmospheric and stylish short, both an homage to, and a satire of, Cold War spy dramas à la LeCarré. The beginning of the movie reminds one of a really faithful, really meticulous LeCarré adaptation – think BBC at its best – and then gradually ever more uncanny elements creep in. The finale is deeply disquieting, proving once again that horrors hinted at are more frightening than horrors explained. Nice, natural performances and very high production values.”