MWFF 2017

PANELISTS

 

BETWEEN 1975 AND TODAY: WHAT HAVE we LEARNED ABOUT WOMEN'S FILMMAKING?

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LINDA BLAGG

Linda Blagg has been a practicing filmmaker since her twenties. In 1979, she wrote and directed Just Out of Reach starring Sam Neill. Since then, she has worked for Film Australia, ABC TV Drama and made over 100 educational docu-dramas for schools and universities, as well as many award-winning corporate commissions.

More recently, Linda has been working the area of multimedia, including a YouTube concept of ‘filmed portraits of the human spirit’. Linda achieved her PhD in Sustainability using digitally as her methodology and is Filmmaker in Residence at the CUSP Institute at Curtin University.

Linda’s short film Daddythings screened in the 1975 International Women’s Film Festival and appears in our Art & Life, Then & Now program.


ANNETTE BLONSKI

Annette Blonski is a freelance script editor of a number of award-winning feature films, shorts and documentaries including My Tehran for Sale, What I Have Written, and Eternity. She co-edited and co-wrote Don’t Shoot Darling! Women’s Independent Filmmaking in Australia and Shared Visions: Women in Television.

Annette was awarded a Script & Story Editing Fellowship in the AFC Distinctly Australian Program in 1996 and in 1999, won the WIFT Lottie Lyell Award for Outstanding Contribution to Screen Culture. She was a member of the Melbourne International Film Festival Board for 10 years, six of those as Deputy Chair, chaired the Industry Advisory Committee of the RMIT’s Associate Diploma of Professional Screenwriting and for 10 years was the Chair of Swinburne and then VCA School of Film and Television’s Industry Advisory Committee. She was a founding Member of the Board of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melbourne and a founder member of the Natalie Miller Fellowship (NMF).

Annette’s film And Not Even Cry screened at the Melbourne International Women’s Film Festival 1975 and appears in our Art & Life, Then & Now program.

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SUZANNE SPUNNER

Suzanne is a Playwright/Designer, Dramaturg and Critic. She writes on performance and on Contemporary Australian and Aboriginal Art.

She was a member of the Women's Theatre Group at the Pram Factory, the co-ordinator of 1975 International Women's Film Festival and the founding editor of LIP, a magazine about women in the visual and performing arts. She was a co-founder of Home Cooking Theatre Company in Melbourne and created Paradise Productions in Darwin to create and produce original Australian theatre  She has written some fourteen plays, which include, Not Still Lives, Running Up A Dress, Dragged Screaming to Paradise, Edna for the Garden and The Ingkata's Wife. She has also wrote and directed a drama documentary film, Tea and Pictures about the Australian artists Margaret Preston and Thea Proctor. 

Her recent PhD ‘Vindicating Rover Thomas’ developed a methodology for assessing the provenance of works attributed to the artist, which is applicable to other Australian Aboriginal artists. Her current research interests include investigating the origins and history of the East Kimberley art movement, and writing a book about Rover Thomas.  


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Victoria Waghorn is a Sydney-based filmmaker and founder of art collective and filmmaking tribe, Punk Monk Propaganda. Victoria's 2007 short film, When Sally Met Frank, received international success winning Best Australian Film at the 2008 A Night of Horror International Film Festival and Best Experimental Film in New York and Los Angeles' HD FEST 2008. It was also a finalist at the 2007 Viscera Film Festival. In her follow up experimental short film, Mine Demon, Mine Own (2008), Victoria pays homage to the goddesses of the silent screen through a surreal exploration of her heroine's p

Victoria is currently making a feature length documentary, Ravishing Sleeping Beauty, which explores the normalisation of rape culture in our society and the resurrection of herstory through the reinvention of oral tradition. 

Victoria's films Chick Addict and Salome's Picnic appear in our Art & Life, Then & Now program.

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Panel moderator:

Associate Professor Belinda Smaill (Monash University)

Associate Professor Belinda Smaill is head of Film and Screen Studies at Monash University. Her research encompasses women and cinema, Australian film and television and documentary film. She has been interested in the challenges faced by female film practitioners, and their work, since she studied filmmaking and fine arts in New  Zealand in the 1990s. Belinda is the author of The Documentary: Politics, Emotion, Culture (Palgrave, 2010), Regarding Life: Animals and the Documentary Moving Image (SUNY Press, 2016) and co-author of Transnational Australian Cinema: Ethics in the Asian Diasporas (Lexington Books, 2013). 

MAKING, WRITING, DOING: WOMEN GETTING A START IN SCREEN CULTURE

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AMIE BATALIBASI

Amie Batalibasi is a writer, director and producer. Her creative practice is driven by a passion to collaborate with diverse communities at a grassroots level, to unearth stories that have the possibility to spark empowerment and create change. She has written and directed award winning short films that have been screened at festivals in Australia and internationally. Amie is the 2017 recipient of the Sundance Institute Merata Mita Fellowship through which she will receive support and mentorship to develop the feature adaptation of her award-winning short film, Blackbird. The story explores the little-known history of Australia’s sugar slaves by shining a light on the dark history of “blackbirding,” where from 1863-1904 approximately 60,000 Pacific Islanders were taken, often by kidnapping and coercion, to labor on the country’s sugar cane and cotton farms. 

Over the last nine years, as mentor and media trainer, Batalibasi has produced dozens of short films by first-time filmmakers through collaborative community projects with children and young people, new migrant groups, remote Indigenous communities, and culturally and linguistically diverse communities in and around Melbourne, interstate Australia and in the Solomon Islands.


NYAWUDA CHUOL

Nyawuda Chuol is the eldest child of six children. Hard working individual and always strive to see through what she has begun. She resides with her family in Australia. Nyawuda graduated high school in Australia in 2009 and went on to university the following year to study medicine while pursuing acting on the side. In 2012 she realised medicine was not her true calling. She packed her bags and headed for acting school on the Gold Coast. Nyawuda graduated from a two year intensive acting program at the New York Film Academy, Australia with a 3 week scholarship at the New York Film Academy Los Angeles. After learning an incredible amount about herself and honing her acting craft, she is now committed to pursuing her dreams of a successful acting career.

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Cerise howard

Cerise Howard is the Artistic Director of the Czech and Slovak Film Festival of Australia and a committee member of both the Melbourne Cinémathèque and tilde: Melbourne Trans and Gender Diverse Film Festival. A film critic on 3RRR's “Plato's Cave”, she has often written for Senses of Cinema and other film journals, as well as The Age, The Big Issue, and Melbourne’s queer street press. She has participated in critics' juries at international film festivals in Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Ukraine, and has been a juror at the Mezipatra Queer Film Festival in Prague and the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival in Melbourne.

A perpetual plotter and schemestress, Cerise has read at Melbourne's “Women of Letters” literary salon and is the bassist in The Homo sapiens, Yana Alana's band for her forthcoming "Queen Kong" shows.


Nora niasari

Born in Iran, Nora is a writer/director based in Melbourne. In 2010, she obtained a Bachelor Degree in Architecture from the University of Technology, Sydney where she started making short films. In 2011, her documentary BEIRUT, UNDER THE BRIDGE was awarded ‘Best Director Documentary’ and ‘Special Jury Prize Documentary’ at the 11th Beirut International Film Festival and broadcast on CNN. In 2012, Nora fulfilled an internship with Emmy Award Winning Director Sonya Pemberton on the feature length documentary Jabbed: Love, Fear & Vaccines

In 2014, she completed the Masters in Film and Television at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) in narrative filmmaking. Her graduate film The Phoenix (Simorgh) premiered at the 64th Melbourne International Film Festival where Nora participated in the 2015 MIFF Accelerator program for emerging Australian directors. In February 2015, Nora was one of 50 filmmakers selected for the Abbas Kiarostami filmmaking workshop in Barcelona. Her short film High Tide was selected in the top 10 films to screen at international film festivals.

In 2016, Nora completed a funded Screen Australia/ADG Director’s Attachment with Emma Freeman on the Matchbox Pictures/FOXTEL TV series Secret City. Nora recently completed a short film titled WATERFALL funded by Screen Australia’s 2015 Hot Shots Program. In 2017, Nora will be travelling to Mexico with the support of the Ian Potter Cultural Trust to fulfil a director’s attachment with Cannes and Venice Award winning writer/director Michael Rowe.


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Panel Moderator:

Vyshnavee Wijekumar

Vyshnavee Wijekumar is an established marketing and communications professional of Sri Lankan heritage with expansive experience across the Australian film and television sector. She is a massive proponent of amplifying the works of culturally and lingustically diverse voices across the film, television and cultural sector and was most recently on the steering committee for Screen Australia's Seeing Ourselves event. Aside from evenings spent binge-watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix, she is currently the Marketing & Partnerships Director of the Human Rights Arts & Film Festival.

Spotlight on Patricia Edgar

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The first session for Sat 4th is a special one. It features the early documentaries of the inspirational Patricia Edgar followed by a Q&A with Patricia.

For the uninitiated, Patricia Edgar is a pioneering filmmaker, television producer, author, educator and media scholar. After studying and completing a Masters in Communication at Stanford University, California, Patricia was appointed the inaugural Chairperson of the Centre of the Study of Media and Communication at La Trobe University. It was there where Patricia established and taught the first course on film and television, and mass media communication in any Australian University. She also undertook her PhD on children’s perceptions of film and television violence, which she was awarded in 1974.
 
In 1975, Patricia was the first woman appointed as a member of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board and chaired the Board’s review of Television Program Standards. As Chair of the Children’s Program Committee for the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal where she developed the children's television production and advertising standards, which have been applied for more than 30 years in Australian broadcasting.

Patricia became the founding director of the Australian Children’s Television Foundation in 1982, where she worked not only as the director, but also as a producer for 20 years, creating over 174 hours of television drama for children. This includes programs like Round the TwistLift OffSky Trackers, and Noah and Saskia. She also produced the film Yolngu Boy in 2001. All together Patricia has won more than 100 national and international awards including 4 AFIs, 2 Logies, and International Emmy Award, the Prix Jeunesse, a Japan Prize, a Banff Rockie Award, and a Grand Jury Prize at the New York Festival.

Since then, Patricia has acted on a numerous industry boards and committees, including Australian Broadcasting Control Board, the Australian National Commission of UNESCO, the Council of the Australian Film and Television School, Film Victoria, the Victorian Post-Secondary Education Commission, and the Victorian Government's Board of CIRCIT Ltd (Centre for International Research on Communication and Information Technologies). 
 
She was awarded the Australian College of Education Medal in 1998 and received an Achiever Award from the Committee for Melbourne in 2001.  Both awards were in recognition of her outstanding contribution to education through the medium of television. In 2002 she was presented with the AFI Longford Life Achievement Award, the highest accolade the Australian Film Institute can bestow on an individual. She was named on the Honour Roll presented to the Parliament of Victoria in 2001, recognising women of achievement who have made a significant difference in Victoria, Australia or internationally.
 
This is only a summary of the impact that Patricia Edgar has had on the evolution of Australian film and media. Our Patricia Edgar retrospective is a rare opportunity to revisit her early work and hear from the woman herself!