Critics Lab

Melbourne Women in Film Festival Critics Lab 2018!

We're incredibly thrilled to have launched our inaugural Melbourne Women in Film Critics Lab in 2018. The MWFF Critics Lab is an initiative to support the next generation of Australian women-identified critics and to help them develop their skills by being embedded in a festival setting. We aim to facilitate critical discussion, celebrate established critics, mentor emerging talent, AND promote MWFF as a hub for critics and feminist criticism in Melbourne. The program kicked off with an intensive mentoring session in Monash University's stunning Media Lab and will be happening throughout the festival. Look out for these faces when you attend MWFF!


 The spectagular 2018 MWFF Critics Lab!

The spectagular 2018 MWFF Critics Lab!


Meet the critics!



Claire White is an emerging film journalist and culture critic based in Melbourne, Australia. Claire has a degree in screen and cultural studies, as well as media and communications from The University of Melbourne. White has been published in Screen Education, online on Bitch Flicks, and in the University of Melbourne Wom*n’s Departmental magazine Judy’s Punch, where she critiqued the lack of female filmmakers and theorists studied throughout her cinema studies degree.

With a passion for women in film, Claire’s writing focuses on positive representation on screen, and behind the camera. Claire is the founder and writer for all-female film and television blog Cause a Cine. Created while at University, the blog aims to increase female and non-binary identifying voices in the discussion of screen media. Recently, Claire has begun her journey into screenwriting, so that one day she can contribute to the creation of the characters and driven stories she champions as a journalist.



Ruby Susan Mountford is a freelance journalist, writer and storyteller. She completed a degree in communications and film studies at RMIT and Tec de Monterrey in Mexico City.

She is the co-host of Triple Bi-Pass, the first Bi+ focused show and podcast on Melbourne's LGBTIQA+ community radio station, Joy 94.9,  as well as a weekly contributor to Joy's current affairs program, The Informer. She has been interviewed on The Hook Up on Triple J, as well as Channel 31's LGBTIQA+ show, Bent TV.  Outside Australia, she has been featured on The Huffington Post UK and contributed to BBC radio.

Ruby is a passionate advocate for diversity in all aspects of media, and has recently appeared as a public speaker at to highlight the importance of visibility and representation for marginalised communities.



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Sonja Hammer is a First Nations woman from Aotearoa residing in Australia and has worked in community radio producing and presenting shows that range from Sci-Fi and Squeam a Queer genre based fan show to an Intersectional feminist show called BROAD, and worked as a news reader and film reviewer for The Casting Couch on JOY 949 in Narrm/Melbourne.

Sonja has also been involved in advocacy work with her Queer Geeks of Oz discussion group, which to date has appeared at Oz Comic Con, ACME, Armageddon and PAX and Queer Con and various other pop culture conventions around Melbourne. She’s been a ‘GOFF Mother ‘ ( Girls on Film Festival) and has done solo panels at the Melbourne Queer Film Festival  and Feminist panels for Geek Girl Speak  and has co created two Zines one called Quartz ( Queer Arts Zine) and the other based on her radio show BROAD.

In 2017 Sonja attended the Stranger With My Face Feminist Film Festival in Tasmania at the ‘Attic’ workshop and from that is now working on developing screenplays for two films, one is about a Queer POC  Merwoman and an Indigenous Yabbie girl that fall in love called ‘Wet Girls’, the other is a Netball Thriller Comedy called ‘Contact’.

Sonja is very passionate about film criticism being from a WOC and Indigenous perspective, which she feels is lacking in the current environment of film analysis in Australia. She feels it is time there was more equal representation in media regards film criticism.

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Hannah Pratt is currently in her final year of a Media and Communications degree at Swinburne University, majoring in Cinema and Screen Studies. Initially a Psychology student, she decided to take an introductory media class as an elective in her first year of university. After that, she changed her degree to study film and has never looked back.

Hannah is honoured to be a part of the MWFF 2018 Critics Lab. She's extraordinarily excited to work alongside so many talented and creative women and support our homegrown talent. 








Rebecca Harkins-Cross is a writer, critic and researcher. Her writing focuses on arts and culture, specialising in cinema, and has appeared in publications like CNN Style, Art Das Kunstmagazin, The Saturday Paper, The Australian, Meanjin, Metro and Senses of Cinema. Her work has been awarded several times by the Australian Film Critics Association, most recently receiving the 2016 Ivan Hutchinson Prize. She’s been a judge at the New Horizons Film Festival in Wrocław, Poland, as well as the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival and the Environmental Film Festival in Australia, and was invited to attend the 2016 Berlin Film Festival as a guest of the German Federal Government Visitors’ Programme. She is currently the film columnist for The Lifted Brow and is undertaking a PhD in Creative Writing at Monash University, where she is exploring the intersection of film criticism and creative non-fiction. She was film editor at The Big Issue from 2012-2017 and a theatre critic at The Age from 2012-2015.



Mel Campbell is a freelance journalist, cultural critic and media studies lecturer who co-hosts the fortnightly podcast The Rereaders. She’s the author of nonfiction investigation Out of Shape: Debunking Myths about Fashion and Fit (Affirm Press, 2013), and co-author of the romantic comedy novel The Hot Guy (Echo Publishing, 2017).

Whitney Monaghan