The Melbourne Women in Film Festival is a not-for-profit festival aimed at celebrating and supporting the work of women filmmakers and creatives – from directors, writers and producers to cinematographers, sound designers and editors. This annual festival endeavours to promote the many talented women who work within all areas of film production, and to encourage and inspire women with creative aspirations to pursue their passions with confidence.

Our goal is to provide a space and opportunities for film creatives to exhibit their work to a diverse Melbourne audience. Further, we aim to advocate for gender equality in the Victorian and Australian screen industries, provide opportunities for dialogue and engagement between women working in film, the Australian screen industry and audiences, provide opportunities for emerging filmmakers to exhibit their work, and of course...entertain!

We look forward to seeing you at the festival!

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Therese Davis (Chair)

Therese Davis is an Associate Professor and head of the Film and TV Studies program at Monash University. Previously, she has worked on community radio and as a media activist. Therese holds a degree in Communications, a Masters in Cultural Studies and a PhD from the University of Western Sydney. Her doctoral thesis on the face, death and spectatorship in the media age was published as The Face on the Screen: Death, Recognition and Spectatorship (Intellect, 2004). She is also the co-author with Felicity Collins of Australian Cinema After Mabo (CUP, 2004). 

Therese has been teaching film and television studies at Australian universities since 1994. Throughout this time she has maintained a strong interest in the relationship between theory and media practice in both her teaching and research. Therese is the co-recipient of a 2006 ARC Discovery Grant to investigate collaborations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous filmmakers and writers in Australia since 1960, and has co-edited with Belinda Smaill a special issue of Camera Obscura on “The Place of the Contemporary Female Director” (2014). In 2009, she was awarded the Ivan Hutchinson Prize for Best Writing on Australian Film by the Australian Film Critics Association. Currently, Therese is collaborating with filmmaker Romaine Moreton on a research project funded by Screen Australia looking at Indigenous filmmaking models.




Emma Jenkin (Deputy Chair)

Emma Jenkin is a finance professional who has worked internationally in investment banking, funds management, environmental finance and in several start-ups including as a CFO. Emma has a degree in mathematics and finance and has a love of numbers combined with an aptitude for problem solving. Emma is a film lover who is passionate about gender equality and supports increased participation of women in all facets of the film industry. Emma recently become an executive producer on a television series pilot – profiling a female tech start up entrepreneur and directed by an emerging female director. 



Leanne Tonkes

Leanne Tonkes develops and produces engaging and emotional stories with a  focus on content for female audiences worldwide. She has become an advocate for Gender Equality in the film industry and champions the careers of female writers and directors. Her credits include director Mairi Cameron’s debut feature The Second which will premiere in cinemas and on STAN in 2018, award winning web series This is Desmondo Ray!, feature film My Mistress, and AFI award winning short Dog with an Electric Collar. She is currently producing Emma Freeman’s feature film The Circus written by Alice Bell and Tigress to be directed by Leena Yadav and written by Jane Hampson. She is also adapting two novels - Erin McKean's The Secret Lives of Dresses and The Wedding Season with Menik Gooneratne, Gurinda Chadha and Paul Mayeda Berges (Bend It Like Beckham)



Hari Morfis

Hari is a practising lawyer with over 15 years experience in professional and financial services. She is currently General Counsel and Company Secretary of an ASX listed fund manager and Company Secretary on another ASX listed investment company. Prior to this, Hari spent more than a decade at a global financial institution in various senior legal, risk and compliance roles. She has a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws from Monash University and is currently studying a Graduate Diploma in Applied Corporate Governance.

Throughout her career Hari has been a mentor, supporter and champion of women. She is equally passionate about film.


Emma Manning

Emma formed, an online town planning consultancy, in 2016. Prior to which Emma held senior positions in metropolitan and regional local Councils and the private sector in town planning. Emma also worked for Singapore’s Urban Redevelopment Authority. Emma is a full member of the Planning Institute of Australia and the Victorian Planning and Environmental Association.

In addition to a Bachelor of Urban Planning and Development (Hons), Emma has completed a Masters in Public and International Law. During her studies at Melbourne Law School, Emma was elected President of the Melbourne Law Masters Student Association for two consecutive terms.

Emma’s high level communication and negotiation skills, combined with her win-win attitude and enthusiasm are responsible for her success in planning and business. Emma is also a passionate advocate for gender equality and human rights.



Sian Mitchell

Festival Director

Dr Sian Mitchell is a film critic, writer and academic at SAE Creative Media Institute. She has presented numerous conference, symposia and seminar research papers at both domestic and international conferences and workshops. Her research on areas of diversity in the Australian screen industry has been published in journals and industry blogs, including Historic Environment, Peephole Journal, NFSA, and the AFI Research Collection. She has worked as a consulting curator on the heritage web/mobile application, 'Past Port' – a history of Port Melbourne (ARC funded project), as a special research project intern at the National Film and Sound Archive, and been a member of the judging panel for the ATOM Awards (short tertiary film in 2012 and short film in 2016). Sian has also worked in areas of communications and sponsorship with the Alliance Française Classic French Film Festival and sits on their board.


Kirsten Stevens

Deputy Festival Director

Dr Kirsten Stevens is an internationally known film writer and researcher working in the areas of film festivals and film exhibition practice. Author of the book, Australian Film Festivals: Audience, Place and Exhibition Culture (2016), she has spent several years tracing the history of Australia's engagement with cinema and the practices that have built the country's vibrant film culture. Now a leading scholar on Australia's film festival history, she has presented her work around the world. Since gaining her PhD in film studies at Monash University in 2013, she has become increasingly involved in Australia's film festival scene, reporting on and volunteering in several festivals, as well as teaching a course on film festival research and practice in 2016. In 2015 and 2016 Kirsten volunteered with the St Kilda Film Festival, gaining invaluable first hand front-of-house experience of the day-to-day running of a large film festival, which further built on her experience in audience research and event management gained through working within the university and at Museum Victoria.


Janice Loreck

Festival Co-ordinator/Marketing & Communications

Dr Janice Loreck is a teaching assistant and researcher at Edith Cowan University. Her academic work focuses cine-feminism, contemporary art cinema and screen violence. She is currently researching feminist fandom and viewing pleasure, with an emphasis on women's criticism online. Dr Loreck has written for Peephole Journal and The Conversation and is the author of Violent Women in Contemporary Cinema (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016).

Whitney Monaghan

Festival Co-ordinator/Screen Critics Workshops

Dr Whitney Monaghan is a screen critic and Assistant Lecturer in Film and Screen Studies at Monash University. She is the social media coordinator for Monash’s School of Media, Film and Journalism and producer of the short film AL (The Movie), which premiered at the Melbourne Underground Film Festival in 2016. With a background in screen, media and cultural studies, she has expertise in gender, queer and youth representation, digital culture, and new forms of screen media. She is the author of the book Queer Girls, Temporality and Screen Media: Not ‘Just a Phase’ (2016) and the founding editor of Peephole Journal, an online magazine devoted to creative screen criticism. She has reported on films, television and film festivals for many publications with international reach. 




Sheri Tantawy


Sheri is a passionate graphic designer with a traditional arts, music and academic background. Images and words play a big role in her visual conceptual explorations so when she was honoured with the opportunity to create a brand image for MWFF, she jumped at the chance. Fuelled by the brand essence of the organisation, MWFF represents so much of what Sheri upholds both artistically and ideologically. Sheri is currently completing her Masters of Communication Design at RMIT, Australia.



Vy Wijekumar - Media and communications

Patricia Di Risio - Audience engagement and research