Advisory Committee

Program Advisors

Rebecca Barry, Producer / Director, Media Stockade

Rebecca Barry directs and produces across a variety of genres. In 2012 she founded the production company Media Stockade with fellow producer/director Madeleine Hetherton. Recent productions include the feature documentary film I Am A Girl (nominated for 4 AACTA awards and winner of Best Documentary Film at the 2014 SPA Awards); and producing the critical and ratings success The Surgery Ship (SBS), which has evolved into an 8-part series with Nat Geo. She was also the producer of controversial film The Opposition, which has screened at Hot Docs, IDFA, Sydney Film Festival, and was the opening night film at HRAFF in 2017. Through her experience in hybrid self-distribution of her own films, she has become a sought-after expert in alternative pathways to audiences and activating measurable impact.

Dan Brown, Co-founder and Creative Director, Joined Up Films

As Co-founder and Creative Director of Joined Up Films, Dan Brown has accrued over 20 years of television and independent factual production experience. UK born and raised, Dan moved to Australia 17 years ago having worked for broadcasters all over the world. He spent eight years at the ABC and rose steadily through the ranks at the ABC where he finished up executive producing around 60 hours of content before starting Joined Up films in 2010. He is the driving force behind Joined Up’s development department and recently produced and/or directed Is Australia Racist? Secrets of Our Cities, Policing Modern Australia (working title) Australia’s Secret Heroes (SBS) Who’s Been Sleeping in My House? Series 3 (ABC), and Vietnam: The War That Made Australia (SBS). He has also been working on a number of development projects for SBS, ABC and Foxtel.

Esther Coleman-Hawkins, Producer and Writer

Esther Coleman-Hawkins is a creative producer with a wealth of experience making and developing factual and documentary content in Australia and the UK. She has produced for TV, online, live events, social media, advertising and radio. Her expertise lies in producing engaging stories with contributors with complex needs and backgrounds. Her recent factual productions include The Obesity Myth for SBS, Revolution School for the ABC and she has developed shows like Secrets of Our Suburbs (SBS), and Luke Warm Sex (ABC). She has also produced comedy and Children’s TV and her shows have been Logie, SPAA and ACCTA winners. She’s particularly interested in the ethics and effects of factual TV production on participants.

The Mischief Sisters, aka Alison Black and Marion ‘Maz’ Farrelly, Screen Content Consultants

The Mischief Sisters are Alison Black and Marion ‘Maz’ Farrelly, respected screen content experts who have worked on three continents and successfully developed and worked on shows in excess of a quarter of a billion dollars of non-scripted and scripted content, from high-end documentary to the world’s biggest rating juggernauts. Both former BBC executives and development specialists, The Mischief Sisters run masterclasses that take participants from concept and format development through to the perfect pitch. They also run public masterclasses, such as So You Think You Have a Great TV Idea, and a corporate masterclass called Why Reality TV Producers are Smarter Than You.

Alison Black was the youngest ever Foreign News Editor at ITN in the UK covering major world events like the fall of the Berlin Wall, the first Gulf War and Tiananmen Square. She’s a trained journalist and has made some of Australia’s most important social impact documentaries, like the Logie-winning Choir of Hard Knocks, which changed Government policy on homelessness, and while at Northern Pictures, two series of Changing Minds for the ABC which was described by the Sydney Morning Herald as “one of the most important series in Australian television history.”

Maz Farrelly, on the other hand, went to art college, then fashion college, then journalism school, and finally got a job working as a writer and stylist in London. Naomi Campbell did her first job with Maz (Absolutely Fabulous was based on Maz’s agent at the time.) From The X Factor to The Celebrity Apprentice to Big Brother, she’s the stand out showrunner in Australia and UK. She is the go-to expert on all things reality, was the regular panelist on the ABC’s panel show Reality Check and is experienced in crisis management.

Oscar Raby, Co-Founder and Creative Director, VRTOV

Oscar Raby is the Creative Director of Virtual Reality studio VRTOV, based in Melbourne, Australia. His Virtual Reality documentary, Assent (2013), about the Chilean dictatorship, has been exhibited worldwide, including Sundance New Frontier 2015, and received the Audience Choice Award for Interactive at Sheffield Doc/Fest 2014. Oscar recently directed the Virtual Reality fairy tale The Turning Forest (world premiere Tribeca Film Festival 2016), the BBC-commissioned VR documentary Easter Rising: Voice of a Rebel (premiere Sheffield Doc/Fest 2016) and was VR Artist-in-Residence at London’s Royal National Theatre.

Kyas Sherriff, Head of Indigenous, AFTRS

Kyas Sherriff has worked across feature films, documentaries, TV series and shorts. As an integral member of Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department, Kyas helped bring popular and critically acclaimed content to international screens, including TV series 8MMM, feature film The Darkside and documentary The Redfern Story. She has worked with some of Australia’s most experienced and renowned Indigenous screen practitioners assisting them in getting their projects from development through to production. Kyas is focused on bringing unique and compelling Indigenous stories to the screen through the next wave of Indigenous filmmakers.

Sue Spencer, Producer Journalist; Executive Producer Four Corners, The Howard Years & The Killing Season

Sue Spencer has more than 25 years’ experience as a researcher, producer/director and executive producer at the ABC. She has worked on Four Corners, Lateline, Foreign Correspondent and Australian Story. In 1993 she produced and directed (with Philip Chubb) the award-winning series Labor in Power. In 2001 she produced and directed (with Paul Kelly and Deb Masters) the series 100 Years – the Australian Story. Between 2002 and 2005, Sue worked for the United Nations in Cambodia and Vietnam. In October 2007, she returned to the ABC as Executive Producer of Four Corners where the program won four Logies and three Gold Walkley awards. She also executive-produced The Howard Years (2008) and The Killing Season (2015) before resigning from the ABC to pursue a freelance career.

Adrian Swift, Head of Content Production & Development, Channel 9

Adrian Swift is the Head of Content Production & Development at Channel 9, and works across traditional broadcast and digital for the Nine Network, commissioning and developing shows that embody Nine’s brand. He has been a journalist with the Sydney Morning Herald, a news and current affairs reporter for SBS, and a reporter and producer for Nine’s Wide World of Sports. He secured the rights to the Tour de France for SBS and was founding producer of Nine’s travel series Getaway, for which he launched Australia’s first commercial television website - getaway.com.au - in 1994. He spent 12 years in the UK working for Endemol and Mirror Group Newspapers before starting his own production company, where he made TV for the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky, and created branded channels Thomas Cook TV and London TV. He has received multiple awards for entrepreneurship, broadcast and digital content, and also sits on the advisory board for SPA.

International Advisors

Roy Ackerman, Managing Director, Films of Record; Director of International Strategy, Zinc Media (UK)

Roy Ackerman is Managing Director of Films of Record and Director of International Strategy at Zinc Media, the group of companies including Brook Lapping and Blakeway. He rebooted Pulse Films TV and transformed Jamie Oliver's Fresh One Productions into a multi-genre multi-platform global independent wining Emmy Awards for Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution and launching the global format Dream School. He was creative director of Diverse Productions with hit shows including Operatunity and Man Vs Wild leading to a major sale to Zodiak Media. He's an award-winning Executive Producer of award winning feature documentaries including The House I Live In, Why We Fight, Tsunami, 7 Hours on Boxing Day, 100%White, Not Cricket and Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic; Documentary Series such as Underworld, The Sound and The Fury, Last Chance Kids, Rocket Science and The Gambler; Factual Entertainment Formats such as Codex, Shalom in the Home, Musicality and Ballet Changed My Life; and scripted successes including Mrs Mandela, Killing Hitler, Our Hidden Lives and Spies of Warsaw.

Donovan Chan, Creative Director, Beach House Pictures (Singapore)

Donovan Chan is a founding partner of Beach House Pictures and spearheads strategy and content development. He also executive produces, writes and directs many of the company’s international productions. Donovan has worked on award winning shows including Lonely Planet Six Degrees for TLC (Best Entertainment & Best Editing – Asian TV Awards) and Megastructures: Singapore’s Vegas for Nat Geo International (Silver World Medal – New York Festivals). He is an expert in science and engineering programs such as Man Made Marvels (Discovery Channel), was an Executive Producer on the Nat Geo International series China From Above, and co-created Hidden Cities for HISTORY. He recently exec produced NYF Culinary Program medal winner Nomad Chef (TLC), and ob doc series All Access Changi for Channel News Asia.

Phil Craig, Head of Factual, Electric Pictures (UK)

Phil Craig is the Head of Factual for Electric Pictures (UK) and the former EVP of Discovery Networks International. He was also the ABC’s Head of Factual between 2012 and 2015, and was responsible for over a hundred hours of documentary output per year, covering history, science, politics and contemporary life. His career as a producer, writer, and executive producer includes senior positions at Brook Lapping Productions and Nutopia in London.

Peter Hamilton, Industry Consultant; Editor & Publisher, DocumentaryTelevision.com (USA)

Peter Hamilton is a senior consultant specialising in business development for the unscripted video industry. His clients have included CBS, Global Canal+, A+E Networks, National Geographic Channels, BBC, Vulcan Foundation and Singapore’s MDA. He has planned and helped launch dozens of channels worldwide, notably Discovery International. He is also the founder, editor, and publisher of Documentary-Television.com, which provides weekly insider analysis and context to over 20,000 executives and producers.

Sanjay Singhal, CEO, Voltage Pictures (UK)

Sanjay Singhal is Chief Executive of Voltage TV Productions, which he founded in 2013. He’s an award-winning producer with more than 20 years’ experience of filmmaking. He started his career as a trainee at the BBC where he worked his way as a producer through several flagship news and current programs, including Newsnight. He moved to the US as the BBC News Washington Producer - culminating in his coverage of the 9/11 attacks. He returned to London to work on a number of documentary and factual entertainment shows as Series Producer and Exec, including The Apprentice. He joined leading factual indie, Dragonfly, as Creative Director before being promoted to MD. During his five years with Dragonfly, Sanjay won successive BAFTA nominations for fixed-rig series The Family and One Born Every Minute, as well as the one-off international special The Plane Crash. He also oversaw several major series, including The Hotel, Bear Grylls’ Wild Weekends and Kill It, Cook It, Eat It. At Voltage, he has launched more than 20 new shows - including the ratings hit Inside the Factory, Life Inside Jail and the upcoming landmark BBC competitive cooking format, The Big Family Cooking Challenge.

Conference Advisors

Britt Arthur, Producer, Director and Programmer

Britt Arthur is a Producer, Director, and Programmer with a track record of delivering thought provoking content across various platforms. Her projects across the documentary and factual sector have been selected for several prestigious film festivals including IDFA, Sydney Film Festival, MIFF and the BFI London Film Festival. Britt’s films have also been recognised with ADG, IF Award and ATOM Award wins and nominations. Alongside this, she has worked on several hit television series, including Grand Designs Australia, The Life Series, and the Australian version of Who Do You Think You Are? Her first documentary Not in Front of the Kids was described as being “compassionate and frank”, and her broadcast debut Give Me a Break was reviewed by The Age as being “as funny as a Christopher Guest mockumentary”. While My Uncle Bluey, an intimate portrait of her estranged uncle, was lauded for exhibiting a “keen understanding of how to order the messy events of real life into a beguiling narrative”. Her enthusiasm for screen culture and events has seen her hold roles as CEO / Director of the Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC), features programmer for the Human Rights & Arts Film Festival, Founder / Director of ‘Doco Club’ and Producer of Tim Minchin’s breakout Melbourne International Comedy Festival stage show Dark Side. In 2016 Britt was an inaugural recipient of a Film Victoria-Natalie Miller Fellowship for Women in Leadership.

Dr. Mitzi Goldman, CEO, Documentary Australia Foundation

Mitzi is a founder and CEO of the Documentary Australia Foundation, having been instrumental in its realisation since its inception in 2006. With 30 years’ experience as a documentary director, producer and editor through her production company Looking Glass Pictures, she has created many award-winning international documentaries. Her most recent films include Ka-Ching! Pokie Nation, which was broadcast on the ABC in October 2015, and Night Parrot Stories, which premiered at 2016 Sydney Film Festival. Previous credits include A Common Purpose, winner of the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Sydney Film Festival in 2011 and nominated for Best Feature Doc at 2012 AACTA Awards; and End of the Rainbow (SBS, ARTE, ITVS), which screened at over 20 international festivals and was the winner of eight awards, including IDFA 2008. Her other previous credits include Hatred (ABC), Ports of Destiny (SBS), Chinese Take Away (SBS), Bloodlines (ABC), Memoirs of a Plague (NAT GEO), which screened in competition at IDFA 2010, and Love and Sex in an Age of Pornography (SBS 2013). From 2002 – 2008 Mitzi was Co-Head of Documentary at AFTRS (Australian Film Television and Radio School). She has also been Co-Chair of the Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC) and co-founded OzDox, a monthly forum on documentary culture. Mitzi holds a BA from the University of Sydney and a Ph.D. in Cultural Studies and Political Philosophy.

Peter Hegedus, Program Director, Master of Screen Production, Griffith Film School

Peter Hegedus is the Program Director for the Master of Screen Production at Griffith Film School where has been teaching since 2013. With a filmmaking career that spans close to 20 years, Peter’s work is characterized by a commitment to social justice, be the genre documentary or drama. In 1998, at the age of 21, he embarked on Grandfathers and Revolutions, a one-hour documentary about his grandfather, the Prime Minister of Hungary. After establishing his production company Soul Vision Films Pty Ltd, Peter made his first feature length documentary, Inheritance, a fisherman’s story, based around an ecological disaster that occurred in Hungary in 2000. The film was short listed for the 2004 Academy Awards and won an additional seven awards around the world, including Grand Prizes at the Global Peace Festival and the Real Life on Film Festival. In 2011 Peter completed two feature documentaries: My America, which premiered at the Sydney Film Festival; and The Trouble With St Mary’s. In 2012 he also wrote and directed the award winning short film Welcome to the Luck Country, about the plight of asylum seekers in Australia. Recently Peter produced and directed Éva, a short documentary about Éva Fahidi, and co-directed short documentary Strudel Sisters, selected for Hot Docs and the Sydney Film Festival. Notably, both were nominated at the 2016 St Kilda Film Festival for Best Documentary, and Strudel Sisters went on to win The 2016 Devour! Golden Tine Award for Best Short Documentary.

Julia Overton, Producer and Executive Producer

Julia Overton has worked in the screen industry across all genres, starting her working life in London in TV Drama Production at London Weekend Television, before moving to CBC Canada to work in the documentary arena. For 10 years, from 2001 to 2011, Julia worked with Australia's national screen agencies assisting filmmakers in the development, financing, production, and marketing of their projects. In the last six years of this tenure she specialised in documentary and factual production for broadcast and theatrical release and assisted in the formulation of policy in that area. She has been on the AIDC board, is a consultant to ScreenTerritory, international advisor to Hot Docs Canada, FIFO Tahiti, Sydney Film Festival and Doc Edge New Zealand; is a board member for Tasmanian screen resource agency Wide Angle, and is national coordinator for INPUT, the public broadcast television event. Julia is also part of the selection panel for the David and Joan Williams Scholarship, an annual award that supports the development of emerging documentarians. In 2012 she was presented with AIDC’s Stanley Hawes Award in acknowledgment of her contribution to the documentary sector. Her recent credits as producer or EP include the theatrical documentaries Namatjira Project (MIFF 2017, The Last Impresario (London, Dubai, The Hamptons & more) and Red Obsession (Berlin, Tribeca, Pusan, Best Doc 2014, AACTA). She also produced the short film The Inventive Work of Shigeru Ban by director Maximillian Homaei. Her broadcast credits as producer include Glenn Murcutt – Spirit Of Place (ABC 2016), From the Bottom of the Lake for See-Saw Films (BBC and Hot Docs 2015), and Trent Parke: The Black Rose (Adelaide Film Festival and ABC 2015). Julia’s current production slate includes Lessons From Joan (Andrew Arbuthnott & Walter Macintosh) and Swallow by director Juliet Lamont (selected for Hot Docs Pitch Forum with support from Knowledge Channel Canada and Screen Australia).