STAFF & BOARD

MEET THE THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE AUSTRALIAN INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY CONFERENCE

Management Team

NATASHA GADD
CEO / CREATIVE DIRECTOR

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. 

Read More Show Less

ALEX CASTRO
GENERAL MANAGER

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.

Read More Show Less

DANIELLE MCCARTHY
Industry Manager

Joining AIDC in 2016 to oversee the industry division, Danielle has worked both internationally and in Australia for over a decade. Her past work at film festivals has included producing and liaison roles at Tribeca, Sundance, TIFF, and the Melbourne International Film Festival. Prior to joining the festival world she worked on Steve McQueen’s award-winning film Shame, and was also a producer and first AD in Australia. She has worked with features programming at the Tribeca Film Festival and at SBS Television, where she began her career after graduating from the University of Melbourne (BA Cinema Studies). She also holds a Master of Communications Law from the University of Technology Sydney.

Read More Show Less

CHRIS HARMS
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.

Read More Show Less

SAMANTHA JACKSON
PROJECT MANAGER

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.

Read More Show Less

Chasca Summerville
PARTNERSHIPS & INITIATIVES PRODUCER

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.
Read More Show Less

Lauren Valmadre
CONFERENCE PROGRAMMER

Lauren is an avid documentary fan and film industry professional with extensive experience across film festival curation, 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. 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 is thrilled to be joining the AIDC team as their Conference Programmer, as it is the perfect culmination of her professional experience and deep passion for industry, events and documentary cinema.

Read More Show Less

Board of Directors

KATE PAPPAS
CO-CHAIR

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.

Read More Show Less

PAUL WIEGARD
CO-CHAIR

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.

Read More Show Less

CLEMENT DUNN
SECRETARY

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.

Read More Show Less

CAROLYN JOHNSON
TREASURER

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.

Read More Show Less

ANDREW ARBUTHNOT

Andrew is Investment / Development Manager, Documentary, Screen Australia. Previously, Andrew worked for broadcasters and production companies including SBS Television, BBC, Channel 4, PolyGram Films, Nickelodeon, Foxtel, Southern Star Productions and Essential Media & Entertainment where he gained invaluable experience in development, production, marketing and distribution. As a Producer of both documentary and drama he has experience in managing and guiding projects and creative teams from development to delivery and marketing. From 2014 – 2016 Andrew worked for the SBS Outreach Department, firstly as a Producer then the Manager. During this time he worked closely with independent producers and the education sector to make factual content more readily and easily usable in the classroom and was responsible for implementing SBS Learn, a one-stop portal for Outreach and education content. In 2016, Andrew joined Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department as an Investment / Development Manager before joining the Documentary Department in 2017. As Investment Manager, Andrew has greenlit and managed numerous award-winning documentaries including The Australian Dream, Martha: A Picture Story, The Coming Back Out Ball and 3-part series Revelation for ABC TV.

Read More Show Less

HOLLIE FIFER

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.

Read More Show Less

DR. CATHY HENKEL

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.

Read More Show Less

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. 

Read More Show Less

JOSIE MASON-CAMPBELL

Josie is the Head of Non-Scripted Production for the ABC. Before joining the ABC, Josie was instrumental in the production of Foxtel’s non-scripted slate including successful programs such as Gogglebox, The Great Australian Bake-Off and Coast Australia, along with the original productions Uncharted with Sam Neill, Local Justice, The Archibald and Genepool Productions’ Lawless. She also supervised lifestyle factual series including Grand Designs Australia, Village Vets, River Cottage Australia, and Selling Houses Australia. Previously, Josie worked in the independent production sector, producing shows in a variety of genres for Networks 7, 9, 10, ABC, SBS and Foxtel.

Read More Show Less

DOUGLAS WATKIN

Douglas has been actively working in the film and television industry for over 20 years, including producing and directing multiple series for ABC and NITV. He established the film and video production unit Double Wire Productions in 2000, and has written and produced dramas that have screened at film festivals around the world. His award wining feature documentary Ella premiered at the Melbourne International Film Festival 2016, and screened nationally at Cinefest OZ WA, Canberra International Film Festival, Brisbane Asian Pacific Film Festival, theatres Australia-wide and on demand on Virgin Inflight Entertainment. His VR experience A Thin Black Line featured in the 2018 Adelaide Biennial, also showcased at AIDC 2018. He is currently VP, Content (Indigenous Stories & Talent) at Screen Queensland and is working on his next Feature documentary.

Read More Show Less