Meet the 2021 Advisory Committee

Meet the 15 industry heavyweights helping AIDC develop a conference that addresses international trends and challenges.

2021 Advisory Committee

Harriet Armston-Clarke
Director, TVF International (United Kingdom)

Harriet is the director of TVF International, the independent factual distributor based in London. Representing some of the most innovative and creative producers from across the globe, the TVF catalogue encompasses everything from factual, entertainment and lifestyle series to exceptional one-off documentaries. Harriet joined the company as an Arabic language specialist in 2012 and began leading TVF’s sales division two years later. In 2017 she took on the leadership position at TVF International where she now oversees sales, marketing and acquisitions of the more than 4,500 hour catalogue of programming.

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Larissa Behrendt
Independent Film Practitioner/Academic (Australia)

Director Larissa Behrendt is an award-winning filmmaker, novelist and writer with a passion for telling the stories of Indigenous Australia. Appointed Distinguished Professor at the University of Technology Sydney, she has a legal background and is an experienced researcher. She also won the Australian Directors Guild Award for her documentary After the Apology in 2017. Larissa wrote and directed the Walkley-nominated documentary, Innocence Betrayed that aired on NITV in 2014. Her short film, Under Skin, In Blood (2015) screened at Sydney Film Festival and Melbourne International Film Festival. Larissa’s short film Clan won Best Documentary at both the Canberra Short Film Festival and the Shorts Film Festival in Adelaide in 2015. Her short film, Barbara, was been nominated for an AACTA award and a Dendy Award in 2018. She wrote and Directed Rosemary Valadon: A Sensual World (2017) for ABC Arts. Most recently, she wrote and directed Maralinga Tjarutja which aired on the ABC in 2020.

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Laurrie Brannigan-Onato
Development & Investment Manager, Screen Australia (Australia)

Laurrie is an emerging Asian-First Nation producer who was born and raised in Sydney’s Greater West suburbs and has been immersed in the visual arts sector from as young as four years-old. With a Bachelor of Arts in Communication: Media, Arts and Production (2013) from the University of Technology Sydney, as well as an Advanced Diploma in Screenwriting from AFTRS (2017), Laurrie now works at Screen Australia as a Development and Investment Manager within the Indigenous Department, managing a range of projects and programs. Laurrie has also developed and produced their own content with their independent shorts screening both locally and internationally at film festivals including Flickerfest, Sydney Underground Film Festival, Melbourne Underground Film Festival and the Byron Bay International Film Festival.

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Karina Holden
Head of Factual, Northern Pictures (Australia)

Karina has worked in both the independent sector as a head of production, creative producer and writer/director as well as within the national broadcaster as Commissioning Editor of Science and Natural History, commissioning over 100 hours of documentary content for ABC TV. Currently Karina is Head of Factual at Northern Pictures, a company that produces docu-series, scripted drama, kids programming, and factual entertainment shows for international broadcast. Her recent slate includes award winning programs such as Love on the Spectrum, Employable MeMagical Land of Oz, Big Weather and currently in production, and See what you made me do and Strong Female Lead.

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Nic Hopkins
News Lab Lead - Australia & New Zealand, The Google News Initiative (Australia)

Nic is the Google’s News Lab lead in Australia and New Zealand, responsible for Google’s work with newsrooms and publishers in training, innovation and industry partnerships. Nic joined Google in 2016 after a career in journalism spanning more than two decades. He began as a cadet with The Advertiser in Adelaide in 1995 and subsequently worked at The Australian in Sydney, The Times in London and with News Corp in New York. In 2000, Hopkins joined CNN’s Hong Kong office to help establish the network’s first online newsroom in Asia; he later spent several years as digital editor of The Australian, part of the team that created News Corp’s first paywall and news apps in Australia.

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Richard Huddleston
Managing Editor of Factual, ABC (Australia)

For over 20 years Richard has worked on an extensive range of factual and entertainment programmes for the Australian, UK and Asian TV markets. Many of the series he has been associated with have won or have been nominated for major industry awards including Logie, AACTA, Rose D’Or, BAFTA and International Emmy. Richard joined the ABC in 2012 and executive produced numerous primetime and digital shows including Gruen, Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery, Lukewarm Sex, #7DaysLater, Everyone’s A Critic, Growing Up Gracefully, Dream Gardens, How Australia Found It’s MojoShort Cuts To GloryWham Bam Thank You Ma’am and The Recording Studio. In 2019 he became the Manager of Development for Factual, Entertainment and Partnerships where he was responsible for developing stronger creative ties with the Australian production sector to ensure that the best possible content outcomes were achieved across all ABC platforms. More recently Richard has taken up the role of Managing Editor of Factual.

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Danny Horan
Head of Factual, Channel 4 (United Kingdom)

Danny’s role at Channel 4 sees him take responsibility for documentaries, where he works across History, Science, Natural History, Arts and Adventure, alongside the network’s Head of Specialist. Before heading up the Factual team at Channel 4, Danny worked for the BBC as the Commissioning Editor for Documentaries. His award-winning commissions include HospitalLouis Theroux’s Dark StatesAmbulance, and Generation Gifted, as well as numerous other factual projects that screened on BBC One, Two and Three.

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Fiona Gilroy
Content Sales & Acquisitions Director, Flame Distribution (Australia)

With a background working in sales and marketing at Film Australia, as Content Sales Manager at SBS and through running her own consultancy business, Fiona has nearly 30 years’ experience working with independent producers to maximise commercial opportunities for their content and explore new business models. In 2011 Fiona assisted in establishing Flame Distribution, the specialist factual and documentary distribution arm of Flame Media, an international production business with production arms in the UK and Germany. Now with a catalogue of over 3,500 hours of content from around 180 producers worldwide, Flame has sales teams in London, New York, Eastern Europe, Singapore and Sydney who regularly maintain contact with buyers through market attendance and territory trips.

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S. Leo Chiang
Independent Director/Producer, Walking Iris Media (USA/Taiwan)

Leo is a Taiwanese-American filmmaker based in San Francisco and Taipei. His most recent film, Our Time Machine, won the Best Cinematography Award at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival and Best International Director award at Doc Edge Festival (New Zealand). His previous film, the Emmy® Award-nominated A Village Called Versailles, picked up eight awards and aired on the PBS series Independent Lens. Leo’s work has received funding support from the Sundance Documentary Fund, the Tribeca Film Institute, and ITVS. He also collaborates with other documentarians as editor and a cameraman. Leo received a MFA in film production from the University of Southern California. He is the co-founder of A-Doc, the Asian American Documentary Network, and a documentary branch member of the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences.

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Leonie Lowe
Founder and Managing Director, Lune Media (Australia)

Leonie has worked in the television industry for over 25 years, starting in live events before moving to the Seven Network. She has also worked with various independent production companies in all genres of production. Leonie was the managing director of Granada Television (now ITV Studios Australia) for seven years until she departed in 2013 to establish Lune Media, an independent production company focused on non-scripted and factual formats. Lune Media has since produced the 8-part series Donna Hay – Basics to Brilliance for Foxtel’s LifeStyle Food Channel and was also the co-production partner on ABC’s Bullied series. Lune Media also partnered with KEO Films UK to establish KEO Films Australia with productions including the documentary series Struggle Street, the highest-rating series ever commissioned by SBS Television. Leonie also self-funded the 1998 documentary My Khmer Heart, which won the prestigious Hollywood Film Festival Award.

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Joseph Maxwell
Head of Documentaries, SBS (Australia)

Joseph joined SBS in 2012, and is currently the Head of Documentaries. He has developed, directed and produced high end, prime time documentaries for most of the major broadcasters in Britain and America, working for many of Britain’s leading production companies.

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Gary Paramanathan
Outreach Manager, AFTRS (Australia)

Gary works at the intersection of arts, culture and community. He is currently the Outreach Manager at the Australian Film Television and Radio School, where he works to cultivate emerging and diverse screen creatives. Gary has previously worked in Australia on community arts and development projects, with organisations including ICE, Fairfield City Council, Penrith City Council, Parramasala and Diversity Arts Australia. Gary worked in Sri Lanka supporting a number of local informal community groups and established NGOs, which included securing funding to establish queer networks in regional areas of the country incorporating former war zones. In 2019 Gary curated and produced four storytelling nights in Sydney, from which a number of articles were developed and published on SBS. Gary holds a Masters in International Communications.

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Malinda Wink
Global Director of Good Pitch, Doc Society (Australia)

Malinda’s professional experience spans senior roles within the corporate, political, philanthropic and NGO sectors. Before joining the Doc Society team, Malinda was Executive Director of Good Pitch Australia and Shark Island Institute from 2013-2019. During her time as Executive Director of Good Pitch Australia, Malinda raised more than AUD $14 million in philanthropic grants and built over 400 strategic partnerships for 19 social impact documentaries. She is the recipient of a number of awards including the Australian Financial Review’s 100 Women of Influence in 2016, and the B&T Women in Media Award for Social Impact in 2019. For the last six years, Malinda has worked as a mentor for pitch and impact workshops including Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and Good Pitch programs in South East Asia, Miami and Colombia. Malinda is Executive Producer of 2040, The Final Quarter and The Democracy Project. She is also part of the Screen Australia Gender Matters Taskforce.

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Darren Dale
Managing Director / Producer, Blackfella Films (Australia)

Darren has been a company director of Blackfella Films, Australia’s premier Indigenous production company, since 2000. In 2008 Darren, together with business partner Rachel Perkins, produced the landmark multi-platform history series First Australians, broadcast on SBS to over 2.3 million viewers. For the second consecutive year, he was the recipient of a United Nations Media Peace Award for the 2010 SBS documentary Lani’s Story. Among Darren’s many award-winning and highly acclaimed productions are the feature documentary The Tall Man (2011) for SBS; the telemovie Mabo (2012), which Darren produced with Miranda Dear for the ABC; and two seasons of the documentary series Filthy Rich & Homeless. Darren has just completed the third season of Filthy Rich & Homeless and is also producing the historical documentary series First Wars for SBS. For the ABC Darren’s has produced, with Jacob Hickey, the feature documentary Maralinga Tjarutja. He is also producing a series adaptation of Bruce Pascoe’s acclaimed book Dark Emu. Darren currently serves on the board of ACMI and the Sydney Film Festival. He was the recipient of the prestigious AFTRS Honorary Degree in 2012.

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Debra Richards
Director, APAC Production Policy, Netflix (Australia)

Debra is the immediate past CEO of Ausfilm. She has over 30 years communications, media & screen industry experience. Previously she spent 12 years as CEO of the Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association, over 13 years at Australia’s broadcasting regulator and most recently almost nine years as CEO of Ausfilm, where she attracted major production and post-production work to Australia. Debra has been involved in most screen content policy and production industry issues in Australia during her working life as regulator, stakeholder and advocate covering local content, sports rights, copyright, digital conversion and disruption. She is also an adjunct professor for Boston University (Film and Media in Australia). Debra is a Director of the Communications and Media Law Association Board; a director of the International Institute of Communications, Australia; Deputy Chair of the Advertising Beverage Advertising Code adjudication panel; a director of Northcott; and a professional member of AACTA. Debra joined Netflix in September 2019 as Director of Production Policy for the APAC region.

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