Management Team


Natasha Gadd is the current CEO/Creative Director of the Australian International Documentary Conference with a passion for documentary and factual storytelling spanning two decades. She was most recently AIDC’s Partnerships and Industry Development Manager, where she oversaw the industry development  program that unlocked over 1.4 million in project and professional development funding for AIDC delegates across a 3-year period. In 2005, she co-founded Daybreak Films, a Melbourne based production company committed to creating independent and engaging screen content. Natasha’s debut feature documentary, Words From the City was nominated for five AFI Awards and her follow up feature, Murundak: Songs of Freedom, received the Grand Prix – FIFO, Best Documentary – Valladolid International Film Festival, and the United Nations Association of Australia Media Peace Award. She has also made a number of short documentaries for SBS, ABC and Foxtel, including Anatomy: Muscle, for which she received an Australian Directors Guild Best Director award. Natasha has held leadership positions across a number of leading Australian screen organisations including Cinema Programs and Public Programs Manager at the Australian Center for the Moving Image, Festival Director of the REAL: Life on Film festival and board member of the National Film and Sound Archive. 

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Alex has worked in Program, Event, Marketing and General Manager roles with Open Channel Melbourne International Film Festival, Twentieth Century Fox, CInema Nova, Lumiere Cinemas, and most recently, Palace Cinemas. He is the founder of Melbourne Filmoteca: Spanish, Latin American & Portuguese Film Group; as well as the Melbourne Latin American Film Festival (2004-2007).

At Open Channel he developed a suite of professional and project development programs for emerging screen practitioners including the inaugural Generation Next Documentary Conference, regular discussion panels and networking sessions; and production initiatives delivered in collaboration with Screen Australia, Film Victoria, local government, philanthropic and other partners.

A Canberra native, Alex completed a Bachelor of Arts (Art History & Curatorship) at the Australian National University, before moving to Melbourne and completing Honours in Cinema Studies at La Trobe University.

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Lauren Valmadre

Lauren is an avid non-fiction fan and film industry professional with extensive experience across programming, international sales and distribution both within Australia and overseas. Beginning her career in film festival programming, Lauren most notably held the role of Program Director at the Human Rights Arts & Film Festival, as well as programming for the Shadow Electric Outdoor Cinema and running her own film residency at state-of-the-art performance space, Howler. She then moved to Copenhagen, Denmark for three years to work with International Sales Agent LevelK as their Sales & Acquisitions Manager, handling both world sales for their slate and specialising in documentary acquisitions. During her time in the Nordics, Lauren was a tutor for the prestigious international documentary program Dok.incubator, selected as part of the ‘Rising Stars of Nordic Sales and Distributors’ for the 2020 Helsinki International Film Festival and was a member of the Danish Film Academy. Upon her return to Australia, Lauren worked in distribution for Umbrella Entertainment, handling both the monthly digital releases and world sales of classic Australian cinema. Lauren was the former Conference Programmer of AIDC in 2022 and is thrilled to be continuing her work supporting the development of dynamic Australian non-fiction stories and bringing them to global audiences in her role as Industry Manager.

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Marketing & Communications Manager

Chris is a media, communications and marketing professional with extensive experience in the media, arts and not-for-profit sectors. His career includes five years as the Communications and Marketing Manager for the Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC 2015-2020) and three years as Marketing Manager for the Melbourne Fringe Festival, a tenure that included the event’s most successful staging in 30 years in 2014. His prior experience includes teaching in arts and creative management for the University of Melbourne, editing a weekly music, arts, and film magazine, and freelancing in music and entertainment marketing. He studied screen production and writing at Griffith University and QUT – resulting in a short documentary about the auto towing industry and a Channel [V] Clip of the Week music video – and holds a Master of Global Media Communication degree from the University of Melbourne. He is currently completing a PhD examining global documentary marketplaces.

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Originally from Perth, Sam moved to Melbourne in 2014 and found herself drawn to creative organisations, festivals and communities. For the past six years she has been working in design studios in management roles, using her finance and organisational skills to oversee projects and people. Sam moved to London in 2018 and spent the last couple of years working with a studio that placed art and design schemes into hospitals around London. Since returning to Melbourne she has been focused on finding a creative organisation that she feels is again making a positive impact both culturally and socially and is very happy to have found a home with the AIDC team.

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2022 Event Staff


Melanie began her career at Mushroom Records before setting up DJ and live band touring and events agency Agent MAD. She creatively directed Agent MAD for 10 years before moving to Paris to undertake the role of head of business development for an online music streaming service. Since returning from overseas, Melanie has held ongoing positions on the event management teams of major Australian music festivals Stereosonic and So Frenchy So Chic and has produced awards events for The Australian Music Prize and the Aust. Directors’ Guild. She recently produced a runway program for Melbourne Fashion Week, Nov 2021 and is returning for the fourth time to the role of Event Manager for AIDC.

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Chasca Summerville

Passionate about telling stories that provoke thought and inspire social change, Chasca joined AIDC in 2020 with the desire to contribute to a platform that supports and educates documentary filmmakers, provides opportunities for development and connection, while spreading awareness of the impact of factual storytelling. Chasca’s background as an independent filmmaker, as well as her time producing and directing for several film studios across Australia, has provided her with a wealth of knowledge that supports her role as AIDC’s Partnerships & Initiatives Producer.
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Penny Smallacombe

Penny is a Member of the Maramanindji people, from the Northern Territory, and has completed a cadetship with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). She holds a Masters of Arts (Documentary Producing) from the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) in Sydney. Between 2004 and 2005, Penny worked in the Indigenous Programs Unit at the ABC. She was selected for Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department’s Producers Initiative in 2011, and also worked as a Senior Programmer for National Indigenous Television (NITV), a division of SBS. Most recently, Penny was Head of the First Nations Department at Screen Australia, where she managed the department for 6 years, overseeing a large slate of successful film and television projects including Total Control, Spear, She Who Must Be Loved, Sweet Country, We Don’t Need a Map, Grace Beside Me and Little J and Big Cuz. Throughout her career, Penny has created numerous special industry initiatives which have provided development opportunities to some of Australia’s newest rising writing, directing and producing talents. In June she began her new role as a Producer at Bunya Productions.

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Alice McShane is an experienced film festival professional, having spent the last six years working across the commercial and nonfiction landscape. As well as being the AIDC Industry Coordinator, she is also the current Program Manager for the Human Rights Arts & Film Festival in Melbourne. Other relevant experience includes acting as a panelist and guest liaison for the Melbourne International Film Festival, and coordinating film festivals at Palace Cinemas. Alice has a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Screen Studies, and started a Masters in Arts Management. Alice is a passionate advocate for the power of nonfiction storytelling and ethical filmmaking, she is thrilled to be in the AIDC team, to discover more about championing impact and change-making storytelling.

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Natalie May
Registration & Guest Services Coordinator

Having worked in festivals and cinemas in both Melbourne and London over the last five years, Natalie is thrilled to join AIDC as their Registration and Guest Services Coordinator. Locally, she has worked for Melbourne International Film Festival in a variety of roles, was Co-Director of Girls on Film Festival from 2016-2018 and is currently also the Screen Manager at Environmental Film Festival Australia. Natalie also holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts and Cultural Management, both from the University of Melbourne. Her experiences with smaller festivals, as well as community-run arts projects in London, have made her a passionate advocate for promoting diverse voices in the film industry and building strong creative communities.

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Felise Lyon

Felise is motivated by their desire to raise social consciousness, therefore is naturally drawn to the capabilities of documentary. As a practitioner she approaches her work with playfulness, often using experimental film techniques to create innovative and engaging cinema. Their most recent work, Back Home, Baby (2021), was part of the official selection for LA-based film festival Octopus Marquee and is set to premiere in Australia as part of La Mama’s Cinematica in March 2022. When Felise is not behind the camera they are in front of it, starring in Dhruv Suri’s You Up? (2021) which was officially selected for SKFF (2021), AIFF (2021) and Cannes Short Film Corner (2021). Their latest acting project, Ghost (2022) directed by Pernell Marsden, is set to premiere later this year. Felise is currently working as a Production Assistant at Film Camp and a Production Coordinator at Chemical Media.

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Jasmine Nguyen
Marketing & Communications Assistant

Jasmine is a recent graduate and emerging media and communications practitioner, with a knack for digital platforms. She holds a Bachelor of Professional Communication (Media) from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), and maintains comprehensive experience in social media management and content creation. Jasmine’s past roles include a Communications Internship and Social Media Manager position at Melbourne based, specialist podcast production agency, The Peers Project. Currently, she is also a freelance copywriter at Melbourne based social media agency, Paperboat Digital. Jasmine’s initial journey with AIDC began through a university internship in 2021, and she is thrilled to be joining the AIDC team in 2022 as the Marketing and Communications Assistant. With a deep passion for minority representation, and inspiring socio-cultural change through media, Jasmine is excited to be contributing to a platform which champions impactful non-fiction storytelling.

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Tahlia Dimattina
Production Coordinator

Upon completion of her International Baccalaureate, Tahlia is delighted to be joining the AIDC team in 2022 as their Production Coordinator. Drawn towards arts based industries, Tahlia’s strong interpersonal and organisational skills offer a prime foundation for collaborative work. Tahlia has twice held production roles with Melbourne Fashion Week’s Pop Up Runway program as well as with The Carey Theater Department Summer Show Season. Tahlia traces her affection for the arts back to high school, where she produced live events on behalf of The Preshil Arts Department. Through her contributions to Creative Art Therapy Australia, Tahlia has developed an understanding for the influence of creative media and hopes to develop this awareness through her work at the AIDC. In her spare time she likes to play pool, eat mangos and teach her Doberman puppy to speak English.

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Board of Directors


Kate is a hands-on Creative Producer whose dedication to understanding the world around her has led to a rewarding career in documentary filmmaking. Since cutting her teeth in London in the wonderful world of kids’ science TV, she has worked across a diverse and award-winning slate. Kate has subsequently Produced, Co-Produced, Series Produced and Line Produced over 30 hours of television and works regularly with Genepool Productions, WildBear Entertainment, Chemical Media and Renegade Films.

Recent credits include art/science documentary Deception By Design (ABC/OFT); feature documentary Westwind: Djalu’s Legacy (NiTV/MIFF Premier Fund/Madman Ent.) and 11 hours of blue-chip wildlife films with Wild Bear Entertainment.  Most recently, she worked at Genepool Productions on their development slate and is now an Executive Producer at WildBear Entertainment. In 2018, Kate established Wilding Productions, where she will pursue her passion for telling stories that illuminate the wonders of our natural world. She is currently Producer/Writer on interactive VR documentary Canopy: Love Letters To Our Trees which is now in development.

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Paul Wiegard co-founded Madman Entertainment, a leading independent distribution and rights management company for film and television with offices in Melbourne, Auckland & Berlin, in 1996. Madman operates an integrated business structure established on four key commercial pillars: Theatrical Distribution, Physical Media (DVD & Blu Ray), Digital and Ancillary sales. It has 80-plus staff and a turnover of $45 million per annum. Among his many achievements, Paul has executive produced 20+ feature and documentary films. Additionally he is responsible for establishing DocPlay, a dedicated documentary streaming VoD platform.

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Clement is a solicitor at the firm of Marshalls + Dent, where he works exclusively in the field of film and television law. He has provided legal services on several recent documentaries, including Putuparri and the Rainmakers, Highly Strung, Motorkite Dreaming, Embrace, The Family, and The Search for Life in Space 3D. He has also worked on numerous feature films, including Oddball, Holding the Man, Jungle, Winchester and Lion. His executive producer credits include the Australian thrillers Rabbit and The School.

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Producer of the 2017 Academy Award-nominated Tanna, Carolyn has worked as EP, line producer and producer on many acclaimed documentaries and dramas, including The Last Goldfish, which premiered in the documentary competition at the 2017 Sydney Film Festival, and A Sense of Self, A Law Unto Himself, Madhattan, Stumbling in Hillary’s Footsteps, First Footprints, Are You My Mother, Son of a Lion and many others. Carolyn trained in producing at AFTRS. Prior to joining the film and TV industry, she had a business career including five years in finance with Macquarie Bank. She is based in Adelaide and has a slate of new documentary projects in development.

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Andrew is an award-winning Creative Producer with 15+ years’ experience in film and television production. Andrew recently returned to producing after working as Investment / Development Manager, Documentary at Screen Australia. Previously, Andrew worked for broadcasters and production companies including SBS Television, BBC, Channel 4, PolyGram Films, Nickelodeon, Foxtel, Endemol and Essential Media & Entertainment where he gained invaluable experience in development, production, marketing and distribution. As a Producer of both drama and documentary he has experience in managing and guiding projects and creative teams from development to delivery and marketing.

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Hollie is currently the Director of Australian Programs at Doc Society and Director of the arts not-for-profit Schoolhouse Studios in Melbourne.

As a documentary filmmaker, Hollie’s films have screened at festivals and broadcasted within Australia and internationally. The Opposition is Hollie’s debut feature documentary produced by Media Stockade that world premiered at Hot Docs and IDFA in 2016 before winning the Grand Prize at FIFO, screening at the UN Human Rights Council, winning Best Documentary Feature at the Oz Flix Independent Film Awards and screening in over 35 countries. Hollie’s latest short film Unbalanced recently premiered on Australian newspapers The Age/Sydney Morning Herald’s Vox Dox series.

Hollie on the Board of the Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC) and the Castlemaine Documentary Festival (CDoc). In her previous work she has been a freelance tutor in Documentary Directing at NIDA and AFTRS, Co-Director of The Artists Guild, selected for MECCA Shark Island M-Power Program and Doc Society’s Global Impact Producers Squad.

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Dr. Cathy Henkel is Director of the WA Screen Academy at Edith Cowan University. She has worked as a documentary producer/director and writer for 26 years and founded boutique screen industries company Virgo Productions. Her credits include The Burning Season (IF Award Best Documentary, Emmy nomination 2008), I told you I was ill: Spike Milligan, and The Man who Stole my Mother’s Face (IF Award, Tribeca Film Festival Best Feature Documentary Award 2004). Her most recent credits are Show Me the Magic and Rise of the Eco-Warriors. Her many awards include SPA Documentary Producer of the Year (2009), an ACS Award, and numerous AFI and ATOM nominations and awards.

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Kyas Hepworth

A cisgender Bundjalung woman who has spent her career in the screen and creative arts space, Kyas is currently employed at SBS as the Acting Head of NITV. She also retains her role as Senior Commissioning Editor, commissioning a diverse slate of unscripted, factual, children’s and scripted shorts content. Previously Kyas was AFTRS’ Head of Indigenous and a member of the executive team. She has also 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 the TV series 8MMM, feature film The Darkside and documentary The Redfern StoryKyas was a development manager on Logie award-winning children’s animation series Little J and Big Cuz. She has worked with some of Australia’s most experienced and renowned Indigenous screen practitioners assisting them to get their projects from development through to production. 

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Josie is a creative non scripted specialist who has worked across documentary, factual and entertainment in both commissioning and production roles including Head of Non -Scripted at the ABC and Head of Production and Development for Foxtel. During this time Josie commissioned and/or oversaw the production of a diverse slate of many award winning and high rating shows including the International Emmy award winning Old People’s Home for Four Year Olds, multi award winning Love on the Spectrum, Walkley award winning Revelation as well as Fight for Planet A, Logie award winning War on Waste, Shaun Micallef’s On The Sauce, Miriam Margoyles Almost Australian, Australia’s Ocean Odyssey, the Spicks and Specks Reunion Specials, Home Alone Together, Reputation Rehab, Sammy J, Love it or List it, Coast Australia, The Good Cop, Sam Neill’s The Pacific, Archibald 100 with Rachel Griffiths, Back to Nature with Aaron Pedersen and Holly Ringland, and the recent Annabel Crabbes Ms Represented.

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Douglas has been actively working in the film and television industry for over 25 years, including series producing and directing multiple series for ABC, SBS and NITV. Douglas is passionate about bringing First Nation stories to the forefront and has worked tirelessly to connect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander practitioners to make this a reality. He established the film and video production unit Double Wire Productions in 2000, and has produced and written dramas that have screened at film festivals around the world. His award-winning feature documentary Ella, featuring Ballet Dancer Ella Havelka as the first Indigenous dancer to make the Australian Ballet Company, premiered at the Melbourne International Film Festival 2016 and has screened nationally and internationally. His VR experience A Thin Black Line featured in the 2018 Adelaide Biennial and was also showcased at AIDC 2018. Douglas’ latest feature documentary Alick and Albert is an intriguing film following the friendship of acclaimed artist Alick Tipoti and (H.S.H) Prince Albert II of Monaco. The documentary gives a profound look at the power of art to connect individuals, forge friendships and initiate change. Douglas was the Content Director for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Program at Screen Queensland between 2017 and 2021, project managing feature films and award winning television / streaming series in both factual and scripted drama, with a focus on escalating new Black talent. Douglas Watkin continues to strive bringing our Mob’s stories and voices to heard both nationally and on the world stage.

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