Australia’s Power 50

It’s been four years since Encore published its Top 20 Directors and Producers list, and we felt it was time to compile a new, more comprehensive list that included professionals working across all areas – film, television and TVC production – as well as the leaders and decision-makers that determine the direction of the industry.

Instead of having a limited list of panellists, we consulted with the main agencies and organisations, and also asked our readers to nominate their candidates. We ended up with a list of more than 200 screen industry professionals, and deciding the final 50 was indeed a difficult task. Of course, some other very influential and successful people didn’t make the final cut, but there were only 50 spots and too many talented men and women!

We hope you’ll enjoy – or not, and if so, debate it passionately – the selection of what will become our annual Power 50 list.


Who: Managing director – Omnilab Media Group

What: Is there any area of the screen industry that Christopher Mapp’s empire doesn’t reach? Omnilab Media defines itself as “Australia and New Zealand’s largest privately owned, vertically integrated media company”, and that’s almost an understatement; its 16 companies do everything from film and TV production (Dr. D and Ambience Entertainment), production, post-production, sound and VFX (The Lab Sydney, Cornerpost, Digital Pictures, Iloura, Flagstaff Studios, Boffswana, Oktobor), captioning (The Substation), airline content (Pax Entertainment), broadcast and media management (The Playroom, Dubsat) and print distribution services (Websend), with a reported turnover of $100m per annum.

Mapp’s is not a rags-to-riches story, but he has employed the family’s existing resources to diversify and vertically integrate a media emporium that has allowed him to work with and for the best. His service companies operate independently but, when necessary, they share resources and expertise, such as the 3D lessons and infrastructure obtained from postproduction projects like Sanctum.

His creative ambitions have never blurred his desire to reduce risk by understanding the market and clearly identifying bankable projects. He’s one of the voices championing for a stronger business sense within the Australian screen industry.

In terms of content creation, Mapp has explored partnerships domestically and internationally, as well as different business models to grow his TV and film slate in terms of investment and/or production. They haven’t all been hits like Bran Nue Dae or The Bank Job – remember Dying Breed or Closed for Winter? -, and while many of these projects might be low to mid-budget in Hollywood standards, they’re reasonably large and ambitious for Australia. The upcoming slate in particular includes projects with a commercial vision not dissimilar to those coming from the big studios, with production values that can compete with the blockbusters.

What comes next: The eagerly-awaited release of horror masterpiece The Loved Ones and potential international hit Tomorrow When the War Began, end of principal photography and post-production for The Killer Elite, and production of Power of the Dark Crystal… and these are only the officially announced Omnilab projects; there are many more in Mapp’s busy world.


Who: Medical doctor, director, producer

What: It is unlikely that you were his patient during his medical practice years in the 1970s, but you may have heard of his legendary creation Mad Max, among many other domestic and international hits and awards over the last 30 years – with partners Byron Kennedy (1949-1983) and Doug Mitchell. He may not have been able to make his Justice League project in 2008 – famously being denied a provisional certificate for the Producer Offset in its early days – but that hasn’t stopped him; his U$100m+ sequel to the Oscar-winning Happy Feet (produced through his new studio Dr. D, in partnership with Mitchell and the Omnilab Media Group) is currently employing hundreds of visual artists, and required the creation of a state-of the art motion capture facility at Sydney’s CarriageWorks. The film has contributed significantly to NSW’s production expenditure and, working in close partnership with the state government, Miller – who recently said that the Australian industry has been complacent for 20 years, with moments of unsustained brilliance and an urgent need to catch up with New Zealand – hopes that a number of projects will go through the motion capture facility.

What comes next: The NSW shoot of big-budget Mad Max: Fury Road is imminent, proving Miller’s ability to find international investors and A-list talent to his high profile projects, and his understanding of the importance of creating and exploiting a franchise.

What the industry says: “A superhero of Australian motion picture production, with the best yet to come.”


Who: CEO, Screen Australia

What: When she packed her things and crossed the ditch 19 months ago, the former head of the New Zealand Film Commission knew the challenge of leading the newly-created agency Screen Australia during its formative period would be difficult, if not impossible.

Harley’s influence as the head of Screen Australia is unquestionable. Of course she doesn’t make all the decisions by herself, but as CEO she is fundamental in the direction of the Australian industry because, in a country where screen production still counts government funding as one of its main sources of finance, and where the federal agency is usually the principal contributor, deciding what gets supported, developed and produced – and how – determines the artistic and business potential of the resulting slate.

Screen Australia has suffered budget cuts – a trade-off for the money going towards the Producer Offset – but given that private investment has been limited since the introduction of the rebate, the agency still needs to top it up. It can only invest smaller amounts of money in lower budget projects in order to keep a broader slate, and mid-range projects are “suffering”, but Harley is a firm believer that the offset will ultimately work in benefit of the industry.

Harley has focused her attention on development – including the introduction of the multi-year support program for companies Enterprise –backed in this area by Martha Coleman. More help comes from another former NZFC exec, marketing manager Kathleen Drumm, to ensure the success of one of Harley’s core aims: building audiences by ‘thinking like a distributor’- and enthusiastically supporting more commercial fare than previous bodies.

What comes next: Where do we start? Continued support for features, television, documentaries and, increasingly, digital media; redefining the role of theatrical distribution in a converged media environment; ongoing consultation with industry, etc. The list is endless!


Who: Managing directors, Screentime

What: Screentime is much more than Underbelly, but even if it weren’t, Campbell and Monaghan would still deserve to be in this list, based on the ongoing success of the real life crime drama series – which will soon grow into three tele-movies – that has given the Nine Network a boost in ratings and an opportunity for never-ending cross-promotion across its factual programs. Operating in Australia, NZ and Ireland, the former MD of Seven (Campbell) and the founder of South Pacific Pictures (Monaghan) have an impeccable drama and factual slate that includes the recent A Model Daughter and False Witness tele-movies.

What comes next: The TV adaptation of Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet – which set reports indicate will be impressive – will screen in 2011. The Underbelly telemovies will go into production soon and, of course, a fourth series has already been confirmed.


Who: Director, producer

What: After the success of the landmark documentary series First Australians – produced with her Blackfella Films partner Darren Dale – Perkins proved that an irreverent retro musical with humour and a social conscience may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it could nevertheless be a hit, turning Bran Nue Dae into the highest grossing Australian film of 2010 so far, with $7.6m+ at the box office. One of the most successful Indigenous filmmakers, Perkins is bringing history to life.

What comes next: Blackfella signed a three-year deal with SBS, including features, mini-series and documentaries. The next feature is The Comet, currently part of the Screen NSW script development program Aurora, about the love between a British marine and an Aboriginal woman in 1788.


Who: Managing director, ABC

What: Many are not happy about the ABC’s digital and television expansion, which has been labelled as “visions of world domination”, but Scott’s point of view is very different: the ABC should connect with more Australians in new ways, more often, and experiment in ways that commercial TV can’t, even if the free-to-air and pay-TV networks feel the public broadcaster is entering their sacred territory with its digital children’s and news multi-channels. Scott has pursued an aggressive online presence, with mobile applications and the iView catch-up service building a large audience and pioneering IPTV in Australia.

“The more we fragment, the more our reach grows and the stronger our brand gets,” he said. But he’s no fortune-teller: “The media industry is like dog years, and no-one has any idea of what’s going to happen.”

What the industry says: “Scott has transformed the ABC into a public broadcasting powerhouse.”


Who: Director, writer, cinematographer

What: After years of training , going through traineeships, film school and countless workshops, the son of the first director of the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association and director of Imparja Television (Freda Glynn) finally got $1.6m to make a film about two Indigenous kids, their community and their petrol-fuelled misadventures in Alice Springs. The project was embraced by Australia – even more so when it received the Camera d’Or at Cannes 2009 – and went on to make $3.5m and reach an even larger audience when it screened on the ABC before the DVD release, breaking traditional distribution models.

What comes next: Thornton is planning Art and Soul, a three-hour documentary series with Indigenous art curator Hetti Perkins, and a script for a period film about an orphanage/monastery.


Who: Managing director, Roadshow Films.

What: Pearlman’s commitment to Australian films is as clear as his nose to pick the right projects. In the last 12 months, Beautiful Kate achieved fantastic results for an art house film; the partnership with Hopscotch saw Mao’s Last Dancer make $16m and Bright Star literally shine; Bran Nue Dae was a surprise hit with $7.6m; and the romantic comedy I Love You Too opened strongly, with $0.8m in its first weekend. Sure, Roadshow is not the only distributor supporting local product, but it’s one of the smartest – and, of course, with more resources to do so.

What the industry says: “Committed to using his knowledge and influence as a major studio distributor to prove that local films can work at the box office.”


Who: Co-directors, Transmission Films

What: With years of experience and connections in the industry and after a long stint at Dendy Films, Mackie and Payten were able to launch an independent distribution company that thinks and acts big, combining commercial titles with foreign language films, Oscar nominees land the most acclaimed local and/or successful local projects: Balibo, Charlie & Boots, Samson & Delilah, Beneath Hill 60 and The Kings of Mykonos: Wog Boy 2. Most of Transmission’s titles have been released through its strong, ongoing partnership with Paramount Pictures – an alliance that has proved invaluable for Mackie, Payten, and the industry at large.

What comes next: Two potential local hits, both starring True Blood’s Ryan Kwanten: the contemporary western Red Hill, and the superhero movie Griff the Invisible.

Note from the editor: Since the publication of this list in late May 2010, Red Hill moved to Sony Pictures for distribution in Australia.


Who: Director, writer

What: The former journalist is Australia’s hottest director after winning at Sundance last February. It didn’t happen overnight; his skills were developed over the years, with short films that played at that festival to very positive reactions and building strong relationships. Kingdom has been sold to more than 10 key territories, and has built an impressive word of mouth prior to its US release in August, which could result in a healthy box office run. 2010 is indeed the year of Michôd.

What comes next: “I have my head swimming with Australian stories, so I’d like to do another Australian movie,” he told Encore right after Sundance. Whether that will happen remains to be seen, as Hollywood has been knocking on his door and the offers might be too good to resist, particularly if the film does well in the US.


Who: Managing director, SBS

What: At a time when many question the relevance of SBS, based on the availability of online information for Australia’s ethnic communities and the broadcasters’ low ratings – being occasionally surpassed by 7Two and Go! – Brown is a tireless defender of Australia’s Special Broadcasting Service. Limited by his budget, Brown believes SBS can help ethnic communities connect with Australian media and society, thus avoiding the creation of ‘digital ghettos’. SBS has remained daring and experimental when commissioning content.


Who: Producer, Taylor Media

What: Her French co-production The Tree was the closing film (outside of competition) at Cannes last month, generating invaluable publicity that will force distributor Kojo Pictures to expand its exhibitor base. WA-based Taylor is pioneering a subscription-based campaign, offering people extras for a fee, allowing her to learn more about online and social networking as a marketing tool, and to use the community to generate long-term interest in Taylor Media’s output.


Who: Executive director, Screen Producers Association of Australia

What: The head of SPAA since 2002 is not afraid to speak his mind. Brown is one of the strongest voices in the industry, tirelessly lobbying government and looking after the interests of Australian producers – SPAA members or not. His decisions sometimes lead to conflict with other sectors of the industry – like last year’s conflict with the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance over SPAA’s withdrawal from the Offshore Commercials Agreement – but ultimately, Brown is a well-respected figure that won’t hesitate to tell the  world when a policy, strategy or legislation is not doing what it’s supposed to be doing.


Who: Producer

What: Chapman is an institution. Behind this year’s president of the Sydney Film Festival Jury are two of the most iconic films this country has created: The Piano and Lantana. She’s industry royalty, so it would be understandable if Chapman were a diva, but she’s the exact opposite. In addition to her own projects, Chapman has devoted her time and energy over the last decade mentoring young producers such as Nicole O’Donohue (Griff the Invisible), Leah Churchill- Brown (Suburban Mayhem) and Anthony Anderson (Somersault).


Who: Producer, Porchlight Films

What: Watts is another key figure behind this year’s success story, Animal Kingdom. One of the faces behind Porchlight Films, with Vincent Sheehan and Anita Sheehan; her projects have been met with various degrees of commercial success, but she never let disappointment stop her and now she’s harvesting the sweet fruits of those seeds.

What comes next: Preparing for the TV comedy Like a Virgin, for the ABC.


Who: CEOs, Shine Australia

What: The Fennessy brothers officially left FremantleMedia in late 2009 to establish the local arm of Elisabeth Murdoch’s production powerhouse Shine. The company, they say, will remain small, but the slate will be big. Shine has formats galore, from the ones we know – The Biggest Loser has reverted back to Shine and MasterChef will follow after the third series in 2011 – to the ones we don’t: two projects for SBS, Letters and Numbers and The Family, The Boss is Coming to Dinner for Nine and Junior MasterChef for Ten. The brothers are also interested in developing new local ideas, from formats to scripted content, comedy in particular, and online material.

What the industry says: “After outstanding success with Crackerjack and Fremantle, they are now likely to really shine.”


Who: Producer, Matchbox Pictures

What: Former head of TV drama and head of TV at the ABC; always a bold producer whose drama work is legendary. Chapman has joined forces with Tony Ayres, Helen Bowden, Michael McMahon and Helen Panckhurst to form the powerful collective Matchbox Pictures.

What comes next: The second series of My Place, which will take children to the time before white settlement, and a not-so-child-friendly crime drama – produced with Panckhurst – about a family of smugglers, The Straits. She’s also executive producer of The Slap, the mini-series based on Christos Tsiolkas’ novel.


Who: Writers/directors/producers

What: Twin brothers who love genre films and are not afraid of being considered ‘too commercial’ by purists. Their second feature Daybreakers, a U$20m futuristic vampire movie, has earned almost U$50m worldwide. But the Spierigs are not moving to the US just yet; late last year they established a production company in Brisbane, Blacklab Entertainment.

What comes next: This year they’ll direct Power of the Dark Crystal, a high-profile sequel to the 1982 film that will combine motion capture, CGI and Jim Henson’s puppets. Blacklab will focus on factual programming before expanding into TV drama and features.


Who: Managing director, Seven Network

What: Leckie joined Seven in 2000, after 23 years at Nine. He slowly turned the ratings around and took the audience crown from his former employers in 2007, repeating the victory in 2008 before Nine recovered in 2009 – a year when Seven became the national ratings champion but lost the key five-city audience demographic. Seven’s got its strongest local slate in years and 7Two, launched months after Go!, has managed to build an audience.

Not everything is positive; Leckie’s increasingly tense relationship with James Packer reached its peak last year, when Packer reportedly confronted Leckie at a function at the Sydney Opera House over Seven’s coverage of his business dealings.

What the industry says: “He is a clear head and shoulders above every other commercial network head in Australian broadcasting history.” “K. Packer’s biggest single mistake was to axe him.”


Who: Writer, Director

What: Started his career with the kangaroo adventure Joey before moving to Hollywood. Soon he was involved in the first Pirates of the Caribbean, Collateral, Australia and G.I.Joe: The Rise of Cobra. His directorial debut had a US distribution deal before even shooting the first frame; the adaptation of the iconic John Marsden novel Tomorrow When the War Began, potentially the first true Australian teenage blockbuster ever. If he learned anything from his US experience, Tomorrow is going to be huge.

What comes next: Release of Tomorrow – which could become a profitable franchise. Also set to write Northern Lights, Without Remorse and Halo, and has a Bra Boys project in development with Russell Crowe.


Who: Co-founder, Animal Logic

What: A pioneer of computer-generated technologies for the screen, he co-funded Animal Logic in 1991. Soon, the company’s work achieved international recognition – particularly after The Matrix in 1999. Nalbandian has developed a strong relationship with Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow Pictures, resulting in the Oscar-winning Happy Feet. Further work with director Zack Snyder in 300 resulted in a partnership that would see Animal Logic produce its first animated 3D feature, Legend of the Guardians , due for release in September.

What comes next: The company will continue to work on TVCs and external VFX projects, as well as expand its slate, and is currently developing the mystery/ horror graphic novel Night Mary.


Who: CEO and managing director – Foxtel

What: With a penetration rate of 34 percent, Foxtel is an important window for local content creators. Williams has been a vocal critic of the expansion of the ABC’s services and its leadership over Freeview, as well as the license fee rebate to free-to-air broadcasters – which he called “anti-competitive and wasteful subsidies and protections” -, claiming that there needs to be a balance in broadcasting policy and settings. Foxtel must try to grow its membership base in the face of an extended FTA and IPTV offering, by providing new services and adapting to changes in media consumption, as well as continuing to invest on local content.

What the industry says: “His business achievements in driving growth in subscriber TV and commitment to the industry in his positions at NSW Major Events and AFTRS are extraordinary.”


Who: Director, producer, writer

What: A filmmaker committed to telling stories that matter, including his biggest hit Balibo – the first feature ever shot in East Timor, which was embraced by the country and banned by Indonesia. It also had an effect in Australia, bringing back the Balibo Five to the public’s attention and prompting the Australian Federal Police a new investigation based on a 2007 NSW coroner’s report. His white paper about solutions for the film industry has been greatly debated, and he’s also been a supporter of green initiatives for the sector.


Who: CEO, Film Victoria

What: Sdraulig leads Australia’s most innovative state agency, which has made digital media and gaming a priority – even though its digital budget has been slashed. “It doesn’t matter to us what the delivery medium is, we’re really about content creation,” she’s said. That’s why support of TV production is also strong, resulting in the growth of several Victorian production companies developing healthy and diverse slates.


Who: Writer

What: Sardi knows how to touch people’s hearts, from his old TV work to the Oscar-nominated Shine to the box office success of his adaptations for Nicholas Sparks’ The Notebook (U$115m worldwide, plus very healthy and constant DVD sales) and local hit Mao’s Last Dancer ($16m) from Li Cunxin’s autobiography. Sardi is a firm believer in script development, and has often spoken about the struggles of Australian writers to practice their craft and make a living from it.


Who: Producer

What: The CEO of Sticky Pictures now has a bigger company, after the merger of the animation business she co-founded with Stu Connolly and the live action production arm (Buster Dandy Productions) with Justine Flynn. Andrews had an animated hit with Pearlie, and is now shooting the UK co-prod Me and My Monsters (produced by Flynn and Roger Ford) at Fox Studios. A producer with a clear understanding of the children’s / youth market and the commercial opportunities associated with that segment.


Who: Managing directors, Zapruder’s other films What: Zapruder’s is the source of intelligent content such as The Gruen Transfer (a big hit and sellable format), Elders and the extinct Enough Rope. They discovered the Chaser team with CNNN, and their Hungry Beast allowed them to find new talent and explore the possibilities of online content creation and consumption in a practical way, resulting in the creation of an online team that will generate material for the web to reach audiences directly and without the need of a network. They’re currently working on ways to monetise their online material.

What the industry says: “Innovative and always outside the square”.


Who: Producer/President, SPAA

What: A provocative, prolific Melbourne veteran producer sharing his time between Australia and Los Angeles. A participant of the revival of the industry in the 70s and 80s, Ginnane has for decades spoken about the importance of listening to the market and ending the art/business debate to give audiences what they want, in addition to art and social realism. He’s been pushing the market door film debt facility to encourage distributors to finance mid-range films, and won’t stop until we see the film industry is as successful as local television – a sector which Ginnane always finds time to praise for its achievements.

What comes next: His project Artic Blast, shot in Tasmania, will be released in late 2010, and SPAA will continue to lobby government particularly prior to this year’s election and once DEWHA reports back to the federal government.


Who: CEO, Limelight Cinemas/Board member, Screen Australia

What: The former MD of AHL Entertainment (Greater Union, Brich Carroll and Coyle), Entwistle became the first representative of the exhibition sector to be appointed to the board of Screen Australia (he has since been joined by Hoyts commercial and new business director Matthew Liebman). Entwistle runs Limelight Cinemas, which re-opened with eight screens in the ACT in 2009, following Hoyts’ exit from the Tuggeranong Hyperdrome Cinema.

What the industry says: “He belongs in the list because of his entrepreneurialism in starting Limelight after leaving GU and his commitment to using his knowledge of the exhibition and distribution sector to support the industry in his role at Screen Australia.”


Who: Producer

What: A pioneer in cross-platform and online content, whose comedy/drama series Forget the Rules was the first to broadcast all episodes on TV, broadband and mobiles. His MOWGIE (Movie Over Game Integrated Entertainment) Mordy Koots, developed with creator Clayton Jacobson, did not find the audience they expected during its exclusive run at ninemsn, but it was significant as one of the first content deals a popular Australian video portal has made with an independent producer. Shomos is now looking at new ways to monetise high-production value content generated for online/mobile platforms.


Who: CEO, Southern Star

What: Former director of programmes Callaghan was appointed CEO after the departure of Hugh Marks (now at Hoodlum). Callaghan came from Granada and prior to that, Nine, with credits in many of the biggest formats produced in the country over the years. Callaghan is now responsible for a slate that is impossible to ignore, covering FTA and pay-TV networks across all genres : Rush, Love My Way, Rescue Special Ops, Tangle, Bed of Roses, Hi 5, Deal or No Deal, Beauty & the Geek and the upcoming Strictly Speaking, among others. The company was acquired by Endemol in March 2009, and Callaghan faces the challenge of increasing production of scripted and non-scripted material, as well as branded content.


Who: Actors/Writers/Directors/Producers

What: The Edgertons are at the very centre of Australia’s power collective Blue Tongue Films – with David Michôd, Oscar-nominee Luke Doolan, Kieran Darcy- Smith, Spencer Susser and Tony Lynch. Always busy, working on each other’s projects and providing honest, valuable feedback, this relationship has allowed all of them to build their skills and benefit from the success of the others when people make connections between its members. Joel has explored more his talent in front of the camera, but his only feature script, The Square, directed by Nash has received glowing reviews when the film was released in the US last April. Nash – also a stunt man and stunt coordinator – has directed award-winning shorts (Spider) and music videos, and should benefit from the US achievements of The Square.


Who: CEO, South Australian Film Corporation

What: South Australia might be small in population, but its industry is extremely vital and counts with the ongoing support of Premier Mike Rann. Since joining the SAFC, Harris has introduced the Enterprise Development Program and the low-budget FilmLab initiative, as well as the Producer Equity Scheme and Rights Reversion Policy. Many of Australia’s most innovative projects come from, or have been supported by South Australia, which is working to become a production centre for low-budget projects.

What comes next: The opening of the Adelaide Film and Screen Centre in 2011.


Who: Director

What: One of Australia’s most acclaimed TV drama directors, with more than 30-years experience including G.P., Wildside, Grass Roots, East West 101 and Underbelly. With a number of tele-movies under his belt, like the recent False Witness, Andrikidis only made his film debut this year with The Kings of Mykonos: Wog Boy 2, embracing a highly commercial project and leaving aside any kind of artistic elitism.

What comes next: Currently shooting the crime series Killing Time, and attached to direct The Straits and his second feature, the ANZAC-themed film Simpson.


Who: Producer

What: US-born Waters is the principal at Princess Pictures. Her collaborations with Chris Lilley, Summer Heights High and We Can Be Heroes, were big ratings and critical hits for the ABC, generating the attention of US pay-TV network HBO and the UK’s BBC, to co-produce Angry Boys – the first ever collaboration between the three broadcasters. Her feature film debut I Love You Too, directed by Daina Reid, managed to earn, at press time, almost $2m.


Who: Producer

What: Sherman set up See-Saw films with Iain Canning, his London-based partner. The company’s slate is diverse and based on official and unofficial co-productions, from last year’s animated $9.99 (Israel) and Disgrace (South Africa) to the recent The Kings of Mykonos: Wog Boy 2 (Greece), and the upcoming Oranges and Sunshine and The King’s Speech (UK).


Who: VP of licensing, FremantleMedia Enterprises What: Head of the commercial arm of Fremantle Media, Liebman has coordinated the multi-million expansion of the MasterChef brand and will oversee the development of a live events division for stage productions, theatre, consumer and trade shows based on their existing properties, as well as new acquisitions.


Who: General manager of creative services, Deluxe Australia/General manager for EFilm

What: An expert in digital post-production, Simon oversaw the company’s infrastructure upgrades. One of the driving forces behind the successful restoration of the classic 1971 film Wake in Fright and oversees Deluxe’s film restoration project with Kodak and the National Film and Sound Archive.


Who: Cinematographer

What: Academy Award winner for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring; Lesnie has been a close Peter Jackson collaborator. He also works extensively shooting high-profile TVCs, and hasn’t forgotten Australia, recently returning to shoot Bran Nue Dae in WA, giving the film its explosive colour palette.


Who: Graphic artist

What: Film poster designer extraordinaire, Saunders has created some of the most beautiful, provocative, bold film posters in Australia, both for local and international films. Above all, his artwork is always relevant to the film’s artistic vision and look – sometimes it’s better than the film itself. Currently nominated for a Key Art Award for Lars von Triers’ Antichrist.


Who: Chief executive, Soundfirm

What: An Oscar nominee for Moulin Rouge and multiple AFI winner, the re-recording mixer and head of Soundfirm is a legend in the sound post sector. Originally from the UK, he worked with many recording stars when he migrated to Australia in the 60s, before entering the screen business with Mad Max II – using synchronised video picture and multi-track sound for the first time on a feature. He founded one of the most successful sound post houses in the country, Soundfirm, now operating in Sydney, Melbourne and, in a visionary move, Beijing since 2004.

What the industry says: “[…] Award-winning soundtracks, an innovative approach to recording equipment, and support and fostering young sound engineers.”


Who: Director, producer, writer

What: One of Australia’s most successful filmmakers working in Hollywood. The decision to grant his film Knowing the Producer Offset after an initial rejection is a positive sign for international projects developed and driven by Australians regardless of their funding, storyline and cast, to access the offset.

What comes next: The $100m Universal Pictures epic Dracula Year Zero, which he hopes to shoot in Sydney. Sam Worthington has been attached.


Who: Producer

What: Warwick Thornton’s long-time collaborator.

What comes next: At Scarlett Pictures, Shelper is now working with Alice Springs director Beck Cole on The Place Between, about a South Australian Indigenous woman who is released from gaol and has to rebuild her life. It’s set to shoot in Adelaide this year.

What the industry says: “Her commitment to Indigenous filmmaking over many years is tenacious, and her support for the production of Samson & Delilah and its consequent success, unwavering.”


Who: Managing Director, Zealot

What: With offices in Sydney, London, New York and Los Angeles, Farrington’s marketing company Zealot is growing, delivering trailers and sales reels for Australian and international film and TV projects and corporate clients. Their trailer for Animal Kingdom was one of the highlights of the campaign, and their work is up for the Key Arts Awards in the US (the trailer for the doco Food Inc., and the TV spot for the Cohen brothers’ A Single Man).


Who: Cinematographer

What: A rising star, who has photographed Bright Star for Jane Campion, The Boys Are Back for Scott Hicks and Last Ride for Glendyn Ivin. Fraser recently asked Let Me In to Hollywood, having completed work on the remake of Swedish teen vampire hit.


Who: Producer, Pictures in Paradise

What: A master of genre and co-productions, with recent credits that go from The Proposition to the hit vampire film Daybreakers. Brown has traditionally worked with partners in the US, the UK and Canada, but is now expanding his horizons in Europe and Asia. He is currently in production of the first official co-production with Singapore, the 3D shark film Bait.

What comes next: Brown and his wife Diana are developing Italian/Australian co-productions – the first ever since the treaty was signed in 1993 – and planning for an Australian shoot.


Who: Composer

What: A successful concert and events music composer, UK-born Gordon is quickly becoming one of Australia’s options for orchestral scores – as different as Mao’s Last Dancer and Daybreakers – and as conductor of screen orchestrations for film and TV. He’s won the AFI Award (Mao’s Last Dancer), Australian Screen Music Awards, among others.


Who: Cinematographer

What: The DOP of Kokoda, September and Lucky Country was also in charge of the country’s first big scale stereoscopic 3D film, the U$30m Sanctum, executive-produced by James Cameron. With his exposure to the rigorous 3D techniques employed in Avatar, combined with his previous award-winning work, O’Loughlin has an edge over other cinematographers who are just catching up with the 3D trend.


Who: Director – represented by Soma Films

What: One of the most successful TVC directors, winning the Australian Directors Guild Award in 2008 for The  Race (McDonald’s) and nominated again in 2009 for Separation (Quit Victoria). Meehan’s work has also been recognised internationally, including the Cannes Bronze Lion in 2007.


Who: Composer, director Trackdown

What: One of Australia’s most prolific and eclectic screen composers, combining genres and styles across film and TV with a clear understanding of the balance between music as an art and as a business. Currently the vice-president of the AGSC, and recipient of the APRA / AGSC International Achievement Award.


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