Short Film Competition Jurors and Festival Guests

We are delighted to welcome all of our special festival industry guests, many of whom will be judging the short films
in competition in addition to presenting films and taking part in talks and workshops, lending their considerable expertise
and experience to this year’s festival.

Fiction Jury

Matt Day

Matt Day is well known to Australian audiences having worked extensively in film, television and theatre. Matt’s film roles include Kiss Or Kill, (nominated for an AFI award and a Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor); the international hit film Muriel’s Wedding; Love and Other Catastrophes; Doing Time for Patsy Cline; and the award-winning Sarah Watts’ My Year Without Sex, as well as a cameo role in Woody Allen’s Scoop.

Matt has also worked extensively in the UK, in The Hound of the Baskervilles; as the photographer Frank Hurley in Channel 4’s Shackleton opposite Kenneth Branagh, and a recurring guest role in Spooks. Matt extensive television credits include the role of David Potter in the ABC’s Rake, the ABC mini-series Paper Giants: The Birth of Cleo and Showtime’s critically acclaimed series Tangle, which saw him nominated for a 2010 ASTRA Award. He has also appeared in The Outlaw Michael Howe, directed by Brendan Cowell, and local independent feature film Touch.

In 2015 Matt returned to the stage in the lead role of the Melbourne Theatre Company’s (MTC) production of North By Northwest, and will soon appear in the feature film Dance Academy: The Movie. Matt has written and directed a number of short films including Wish, Perry (St Kilda 2016) and The Mother Situation.

Kath Shelper

Kath Shelper is a prolific Australian film producer whose production credits extend from short film to television to features, art projects and beyond. She was the recipient of the IF Award for Rising Talent in 2005 and the last chairperson of Metro Screen board until the closure at the end of 2015.

Kath has produced short films Confessions of a Headhunter, Plains Empty, Above The Dust Level, and Green Bush. Her debut feature film, Samson and Delilah, directed by Warwick Thornton, won the Camera D’or in 2009 at Cannes, after premiering at the Adelaide Film Festival.

Since then, Kath has produced, feature films Ruben Guthrie with director Brendan Cowell and The Darkside, working again with Warwick Thornton. Kath has also branched out into documentary with award-winning film Tender, directed by Lynette Wallworth and into television with new TV series Black Comedy. Her producing work also include chapter stories for feature length projects Madly, with Mia Wasikowska as director, (Tribeca Film Festival 2016), The Turning, and Words with Gods, which screened at Venice in 2014, both directed by Warwick Thornton.

Sue Smith

Sue Smith is a multi-award winning screenwriter, playwright and script editor. Her recent screen credits include co-writer of Saving Mr Banks, produced by Disney Pictures in 2013, ABC telemovie Mabo (screened SFF in 2012 and winning an AWGIE and Queensland Literary Award), ABC miniseries Bastard Boys (won AFI Award for Best Screenplay in Television), feature film Peaches (nominated AWGIE Award) and SBS miniseries RAN, which Sue co-wrote with John Alsop and Alice Addison, receiving another AFI Award for Best Screenplay in Television.

Other credits include telemovies Temptation and The Road From Coorain, and, in partnership with John Alsop, ABC series Bordertown, and miniseries The Leaving of Liverpool and Brides of Christ, both of which won AWGIE and AFI awards.

Sue’s theatre writing credits include Thrall for the Tamarama Rock Surfers, In the Violet Time for the National Play Festival, Strange Attractor for Griffin Theatre, The Kreutzer Sonata for State Theatre Company of South Australia (STCSA), the libretto for Rembrand’st Wife, which won 2010 AWGIE, Kryptonite for STCSA and nominated for Best Play at the 2014 Sydney Theatre Awards and Sydney Theatre Company (STC) and most recently Machu Picchu for the STC and STCSA in their 2016 programmes.

Documentary Jury

Marcus Gillezeau

Marcus Gillezeau [Jillezo] has over twenty years experience as an executive producer and producer of film and TV. In 1998 he co-founded Firelight Productions.

Marcus has won some of the industries’ most prestigious awards. In 2013 he won the AACTA Award (Australian Academy of Cinema Television Arts), Best Feature Documentary Award for Storm Surfers 3D and in 2009 the International Digital Emmy® Award for the drama Scorched.

In 2010 and 2012 he was honoured by the Screen Producers Association of Australia for Best New Media and Interactive Producer of the Year. He has executive produced the feature Nerve and produced several short films. He is currently producer on two theatrical feature documentaries, Own the Sky and The Living Universe and EP on Motorkite Dreaming. He has developed, produced and delivered prime time television to all the major networks and has written, directed, produced and executive produced more than 80 hours of film and television that has screened around the world. Marcus has a masters in Media Arts Production from UTS and a masters in Screen Arts Business from AFTRS and has written two books about the screen industry.

Jeff Hann

Jeff Hann is a young and adventurous documentary filmmaker whose drive for travel and storytelling has taken him all around the world. From staying with with the Tamils in north east Sri Lanka to exploring the conditions for refugees and the homeless in Malaysia, Jeff has unearthed fascinating stories.

Jeff’s film credits include his first feature-length documentary, The Coffee Man, which has screened in 21 countries around the world, short documentaries Walk to Water: Sri Lanka, Homeless in Kayel, Pride Cup and a number of music videos.

Jeff was the first person to see something interesting in Sasa Sestic, star of The Coffee Man, and that spark has since been fanned into this unique film.

Janet Merewether

Dr Janet Merewether is an award-winning filmmaker, media artist, designer and media academic with a distinct creative practice and over 25 years experience in the Australian film industry design, animation as well as documentary directing and production . Her film, digital art and documentary works Jabe Babe – A Heightened Life and Maverick Mother, which have won numerous Australian and international prizes including ATOM, IF and AFI Awards. Her short films have won a Sydney Film Festival Dendy Award and an award at Videobrasil, and have enjoyed retrospectives in Taipei, Berlin, Boston and Australia. Her films have toured with the best of INPUT and have screened at the New York Film Festival, New Directors/New Films MoMA, Tampere, Uppsala, EMAF, Impakt, Sheffield Doc/Fest, DOK Leipzig, TIDF and the Margaret Mead Film Festival in New York amongst others, with sales to Arte/ZDF Germany/France, RTP, TVE, Sundance Channel, SBS and the ABC.

Janet has designed numerous titles sequences for Australian feature films, including The Boys, and recently worked as production designer on the AACTA Award Winning ABC Documentary series Redesign My Brain.

International Jury

Samantha Lang

Samantha Lang works through her production company Handmaid Media. She is international film director, writer, and visual artist who has worked in Australia, France and the US over the last 20 years. Her films have screened at major international festivals such as Sundance, Toronto, Locarno, and have received international recognition at the highest level, competing at the Cannes Film Festival for the prestigious Palme D’Or. In Australia, her films have been awarded many times including – at the Australian Film Institute Awards and the Sydney Film Festival, In 2015 – her film ‘Carlotta’ was nominated for five AACTA awards and won three. 

As well as being a creative practitioner, she has mentored, supervised and lectured postgraduate film students, as well as emerging film directors. Most recent recently she was elected as President of the Australian Director’s Guild and was on the task force at Screen Australia that rolled out the Gender Matters Initiative to redress gender and diversity imbalance in the sector.

Samantha’s current projects include a feature film adaptation of ‘Kill The Messenger’ by playwright, Nakkiah Lui (Brilliant Stories initiative) and TV adaptation of Anna Krien’s ‘Night Games’  (with Aquarius Films).

Simon Weaving

Currently a lecturer in Communication and Media at the University of Newcastle, Simon Weaving is a filmmaker, writer, festival director, and film critic. Simon was Director of theCanberra International Film Festival from 2009-2012, Founder and Co-Director of the Stronger Than Fiction Documentary Film Festival held annually in Canberra each July, and currently curates the Winter Film Series at the National Gallery of Australia.

Simon has made a number of award-winning short films, including Waiting For Robbo (2011) which had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. Twice a Tropfest finalist, and runner-up in AD:05 (the national Art of Documentary competition), Simon wrote and directed the feature film The Competition in 2014.  

Simon was a film critic for The Canberra Times from 2004-2014, is a member of the Australian Film Critics Association, the Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique (FIPRESCI), and sits on the Jury of a number of film festivals in Australia and Europe. Simon was also a founding member of the ACT Screen Industry Association (ACTSIA), serving on its Advisory Committee from 2010 until 2014.

David Field is also on the International Jury

Young Filmmaker Awards

Anya Beyersdorf

Anya Beyersdorf is an actress turned writer/director. As a screenwriter she has been shortlisted twice for the Sundance Screenwriter’s Lab in the past two years, was a 2016 Academy Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowship Semi-finalist, and an AWGIE (Australian Writer’s Guild) award-winning writer. Earlier this year she was shortlisted by the Weinstein Company, and went on to win one of the inaugural Lexus Australia Short Film Fellowships worth $50K to write and direct a new short which will premiere at the Sydney Film Festival in 2017.

Her student films Gayby and Vampir played Palm Springs, Rhode Island, Seattle International Film Fest, Flickerfest and St Kilda Film Festival amongst others, as well as being nominated for an AACTA Social Shorts Award for best short drama in 2016. She is a founding member of Gift Horse Collective – a collective of filmmakers dedicated to creating unusual and striking cinema.

David Field

David has been an actor in theatre, film and TV for the last 30 years. He has acted for all the major theatre companies and received many awards in theatre such as the Sydney Theatre Critics award for best actor (2005) and the Helpmann award for best actor (2004). His film and TV credits are also many with over 30 feature films and awards such as Best Actor at the St Tropez film festival, the Critics Circle Award for The Night We called it a Day and AFI award for Best Actor as well as many nominations for the Australian Film Institute. In 2003 he was awarded The Centenary Medal of Australia for contributions to the Australian film and television industry.

He has directed two feature films, The Combination and Convict. Both of which focus on the Lebanese community in western Sydney. His next film, For Her Blues is due to be shot in 2017 and stars Jessica Mauboy. Recent TV acting credits include The Secret Daughter, also starring Mauboy and Colin Friels.

John O’Brien

Multi award-winning screenwriter and Dungog Shire local, John O’Brien runs Dungog Community College, pulls out lantana in his spare time, plays vibes in the trio Fancy, and was the creative force behind the TV series Fireflies and Bondi Banquet. Short films he’s written have screened at Cannes, Venice, Hamburg, SFF, MIFF, NDNF, Aspen, Edinburgh and numerous other festivals. He has won an AWGIE for feature film A Wreck A Tangle as well as for his short film Masseur. John’s most recent short film (lyrics, sound producer, director, first AD, editor, stand-by props) is Dungog Shire Community Centre Annual Report 2015-2016 Financial Year.

Special Awards

Kylene Anderson

Kylene is a proud Murri Kanaka woman originally from Queensland where her mother is of Aboriginal heritage and her father is of South-Sea Islander (Vanuatu) & English heritage.

She currently works as a production manager with ABC TV News and Current Affairs and is the star of the feature-length documentary Destination Arnold, screening at the festival after it’s premiere at the Sydney Film Festival earlier this year. Kylene is also studying acting and presenting at NIDA and has is currently filming with a popular television series in Sydney, and has featured in music videos with Australian artists as she continues to pursue her on-camera career.

Kylene is certified in health & fitness as a Personal Trainer but much prefers to continue working at ABC at 7.30.

Festival Guests & Speakers

Brian Thomson

Brian has been active in Australian design for more than three decades, and his work is highly acclaimed both here and overseas. Nationally, his design credits include: Keating!, Shane Warne The Musical and Priscilla Queen of the Desert, which has since had productions on Broadway, London’s West End and the Norwegian Epic cruise ship. He also received the 2012 Helpmann Award for Opera Australia’s La Traviata, the first Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour.

Internationally, Brian’s design works include: the original London productions of Jesus Christ Superstar and The Rocky Horror Show; Dame Edna’s Glorious Goodbye, Barry Humphries’ farewell US tour; Hugh Jackman’s Broadway to Oz; The King and I on Broadway, for which he received a Tony award,  and the operas Billy Budd, Bliss, La Bohème, Carmen, Death in Venice, The Eighth Wonder, Sweeney Todd and Voss. He was Production Designer for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and Melbourne’s Commonwealth Games Closing Ceremonies and the cult classic film The Rocky Horror Picture Show. In 2005, he received an Order of Australia, AM for his services to the Arts.

John Cherry

John Cherry is a director and award-winning producer who established social issue
film and television production company, Intafusion Films, in 2003. John produced multi-AFI nominated Strange Birds in Paradise (2009, SBS/France Televisions) which premiered at IDFA and won the IF Award for Best Documentary. In 2012, he directed half-hour arts documentary Hidden History for SBS TV before producing and co-directing 2013 feature documentary The Unlikely Pilgrims for Screen Australia’s Signature Documentary Fund which premiered at Sydney Film Festival. In 2014, John was a field director on Outback Truckers (Discovery/7mate), toured nationally as the embedded filmmaker on Damian Callinan’s comedy show Road Trip and in 2015, directed the Keera Vale episode of 7×60’ prime-time series Restoration Australia for ABC Television. John produced Motorkite Dreaming a feature documentary which premieres mid-2016 with a 5×26 minute series for Red Bull TV, SBS TWO, and NITV.

Ellenor Cox

AACTA and Emmy® award winning producer Ellenor Cox is a founding partner of Firelight Productions, a Sydney based film and television company specialising in all-media drama, documentary and 3D production. In the past 18 years Ellenor has produced more than 80 hours of award winning films and television which have been viewed around the world. She is currently producing a documentary about Superhumans. Prior to working in the film and TV industry, Ellenor was an Asian Marketing Executive at Qantas.