Meet our Jury Members

With the inaugural AIDC Awards season upon us, it’s time to introduce the jury members who will decide on the winners across six award categories.

Al Cossar
Artistic Director, Melbourne International Film Festival - MIFF (AUS)

Al Cossar is a screen culture professional based in Melbourne. He is currently Artistic Director of the Melbourne International Film Festival, where he has also worked in roles as Programmer and Associate Artistic Director since 2011. Previously he was Program Director for the Portable Film Festival, a founding programmer, and subsequent Board Member for the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival, Festival Manager for Flickerfest. He was also a television film critic for ABC News Breakfast, and previously worked in post production supervision in his home country of New Zealand.

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Alan Erson
Managing Director/Executive Producer, WildBear Entertainment (AUS)

Alan Erson is Managing Director and Executive Producer at WildBear Entertainment, leading creative teams developing and producing history, wildlife, science and engineering titles for global audiences. In previous roles he was General Manager Australia and Head of Factual at Essential Media and Entertainment (prior to its acquisition by Kew Media Group) and ABC Australia’s Head of Factual. His EP credits include Australia Come Fly with Me (SBS), Barrenjoey Road (ABC), Waltzing the Dragon with Benjamin Law (ABC), Playing with Sharks (Madman, Dogwoof), Todd Sampson’s Body Hack (Ten, Discovery) and Boss Croc (Nat Geo).

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Anna Miralis
Head of UK Factual, Wall to Wall (UK)

Since joining Wall to Wall in early 2017 Anna Miralis has overseen a range of factual series including 100 Years Younger in 21 days, World’s Most Extraordinary Homes S2, Nadiya’s Asian Odyssey, Nadiya Bakes and the recent C4 hit Lose a Stone in 21 Days with Michael Mosley. Prior to joining Wall to Wall Anna Miralis spent seven years as a Commissioning Editor in Channel 4’s documentaries department where she successfully commissioned over 250 hours of output including series titles Secret Life of the Zoo, Posh Pawn and British Army Girls, as well as award-winning single docs such as The Paedophile Hunter, Dogging Tales, Gypsy Blood and Secrets of the Living Dolls.  She was also responsible for overseeing returning series including Supervet, 24 Hours in A&E and Secret Life of 4 and 5 Year Olds. Before Channel 4, Anna was Commissioning Editor for documentaries at SBS-TV in Australia working on a range of factual commissions including the Australian version of Who Do You Think You Are?   She has over 25 years of broadcaster experience in commissioning and acquiring factual content.

 

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Ben Thompson
Short Film Programmer, Tribeca Film Festival (USA)

After graduating from Aberystwyth University in 2003 Ben left Wales to head to New York. Shortly after arriving, he joined the Tribeca Film Festival. While there he discovered a passion for short-form storytelling and creativity and began working with the programming team watching film submissions. In 2010 he became the Shorts Programmer for the festival. Ben is fascinated by the influence film has on our world and culture and travels to search out new stories from around the globe. He has watched over 9,000 short films for Tribeca alone.

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Charlie Phillips
Head of Video, The Guardian (UK)

Charlie Phillips is the Head of Video at The Guardian, commissioning and acquiring new documentaries from all around the world for the Guardian documentaries strand, and managing all moving image for the Guardian’s platforms, including news, sport, and culture as well as documentaries. Films in the documentary strand have been multi award-winning, including a nomination for the short documentary Oscar in 2019. Charlie was previously Deputy Director at Sheffield Doc/Fest for 7 years before joining The Guardian in 2014 to create the documentary strand, and prior to that he was Editor of FourDocs for Channel 4.

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Donovan Chan
Creative Director, Beach House Pictures (SNG)

Donovan is a founding partner of Beach House Pictures and amongst Asia’s top documentary and unscripted execs. As CD, Donovan oversees business and content development for BHP, strategizing growth in key markets like the US, China and Japan, as well as developing non-scripted and scripted content with SVOD players such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+; and in China, with Tencent, Bilibili and Youku to name a few. Over the past 15 years, Donovan has produced highly rated shows such as Discovery International’s flagship series ED STAFFORD: FIRST MAN OUT and ED STAFFORD: MAN WOMAN CHILD WILD; brand supported Nat Geo series RECORD RIDES; CCTV9’s ART OF CRAFT series; and the CELEBRATION NATION series for Tencent and Nat Geo. His award-winning shows span travel (LONELY PLANET SIX DEGREES, TLC), food & adventure (NOMAD CHEF, TLC) and science & engineering (MEGASTRUCTURES: SINGAPORE’S VEGAS, Nat Geo). Donovan was Executive Producer for 15 ground-breaking 3D documentaries for Discovery and Nat Geo, as well as the blockbuster Nat Geo/Tencent special CHINA FROM ABOVE, which pulled in a record 300 million views in China. Season 2 of ED STAFFORD: FIRST MAN OUT in China broke 45 million views, unprecedented for Bilibili in 2020. Donovan just released a feature documentary narrated by KATE BECKINSALE called TOP DOG INDIA as director and executive producer. Donovan is a member of the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and is a sought-after speaker and judge at international TV conferences and festivals.

 

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Julia Scott-Stevenson
Co-Convenor, I-DOCS (AUS)

Julia Scott-Stevenson is a researcher, producer and curator of interactive and immersive factual media. She is a co-convenor of the research and practice network i-Docs, and recently produced immersive privacy project Privy To at the Electric Dreams Festival. Julia relocated to Sydney in late 2020 from Bristol, UK, where she completed an immersion fellowship and developed a manifesto for virtual futures

 

Julia is on the editorial board for Immerse, a critical and accessible online publication which convenes creative discussion of innovative and emerging nonfiction storytelling. She holds a PhD in interactive documentary and social impact, and has previously worked with Antenna Documentary Film Festival for six years, programming films and developing the festival’s innovation strand. She has also taught and mentored in mixed and virtual reality, digital cultures and interactive documentary at UWE Bristol, for the BBC, at Macquarie University and the University of Technology, Sydney.

 

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Janine Hosking
DIRECTOR/PRODUCER, iKandy Films (AUS)

Director/Producer, Janine Hosking’s career highlights include producing and directing the feature documentaries MY KHMER HEART  and GANJA QUEEN for HBO. MY KHMER HEART was released theatrically and was also shortlisted for Academy-Award nomination. Her work has been screened by Australian and international broadcasters and includes the critically acclaimed MADEMOISELLE  and THE DOCTOR, which also screened in Official Competition at IDFA. The feature documentary, 35 Letters, won Best Documentary at the Sydney Film Festival and her most recent feature documentary THE EULOGY was nominated for an AACTA award and was distributed in limited cinema release by Madman Entertainment. In 2020, Janine received the Stanley Hawes Award for her outstanding contribution to Australian documentary.

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Matt Kesting
CEO/Creative Director, Adelaide Film Festival (AUS)

Mat has been Chief Executive Officer and Creative Director of the Adelaide Film Festival (AFF) since February 2019. His inaugural edition of the festival was presented in October 2020 amid COVID-19 restrictions; the event was triumphant. Mat oversees the curation of the AFF Investment Fund in addition to the festival and is cultivating a year-round calendar of activity. Mat was AFF’s Program Manager since 2015 but his association with the festival actually goes back to 2009. In those early days, his other job was Exhibition Manager at Adelaide’s Mercury Cinema. Box office revenue at the Mercury increased by 315 per cent under his watch. No, he didn’t program Hollywood blockbusters, rather he curated and managed the delivery of intriguing, specialist and entertaining fare including Adelaide Cinematheque, Silent ReMasters, the Australian International Documentary Conference’s Doc Week, the very successful year-round Seniors on Screen program, six editions of the Adelaide Festival Centre’s OzAsia Festival On Screen program and more. Before returning to his home state, Mat was Program Manager for three years at the Brisbane International Film Festival. Previously he produced the 15/15 Film Festival, a filmmaking and screening event that toured the nation. With his work in cinemas and other festivals including Melbourne Festival of Arts and the Midsumma Festival, he’s clocked up two decades in film exhibition and events. Mat was named in Screen International’s Future Leaders list in 2019 and has participated on various juries and panels. He holds degrees in media and cinema studies as well as in environmental science and he sits on the Festivals Adelaide Board.

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Mitchell Stanley
Producer, No Coincidence Media (AUS)

Mitchell Stanley began his career as a producer line producing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s series MOVE IT MOB STYLE, which was broadcast on NITV and ABC3.  He went on to produce COLOUR THEORY with Richard Bell, an eight-part documentary series before writing and producing the critically acclaimed documentary, SERVANT OR SLAVE, garnering the highest audience viewership to date for National Indigenous Television, and winning the audience award at the Harlem International and Antenna Documentary film festivals. He recently produced Warwick Thornton’s documentary television series, THE BEACH, as well as Jack Steele’s short film BETWEEN TWO LINES selected for Sydney Film Festival and Cinefest Oz.

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Naina Sen
Director/Producer, Indigo Productions (AUS)

Born in New Delhi, India, Naina Sen is an award winning documentary filmmaker whose practice is strongly based on cross-cultural storytelling. 

Completing her Masters in Cinema Studies in 2003, Naina has lived and worked in Australia ever since. From 2008 – 2011, Naina created visual projections for renowned Indigenous musician Dr G Yunupingu, touring with him nationally and internationally. In 2010 she directed Stories Through Song, a half hour documentary for PBS on Dr G Yunupingu and was also associate producer on his ABC Australian Story profile, You’re The Voice. 

In 2013, Naina directed eight short films for Melbourne Museum’s internationally award-winning exhibition First Peoples and in 2015 she co-wrote and edited half hour documentary Bulunu Milkarri (SBS/NITV, Sydney Film Festival, ImagiNative Film Festival Winner: Best Language Production) 

In 2017 Naina produced and directed her debut feature documentary, The Song Keepers, on the Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir which premiered at the Melbourne International Film Festival and was theatrically released across Australia in 2018 to critical acclaim. The Song Keepers was nominated for best feature documentary by Screen Producers Australia (SPA) Awards 2017, Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards 2018, the audience award for best documentary at MIFF 2017 and for the prestigious Walkley Documentary Award for excellence in journalism. 

In 2020 Naina directed, produced and edited the highly successful 8 part series Jimmy Shu’s Taste of The Territory that was broadcast on SBS Food and is currently on SBS On Demand. The show has had over 1 million views across Australia and counting and is currently being broadcast across Asia through ABC Australia and the Asian Food Network. The series was also nominated for an Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) Award in 2020. 

 

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Pauline Clague
Founder/Artistic Director, Winda Film Festival (AUS)

A Yaegl woman from North Coast NSW she has worked as a storyteller and producer in film and TV for 25 years. She is founder and Artistic Director of Winda Film Festival in Sydney, was programmer for imagineNATIVE media +arts festival in Toronto and is co-creator of NativeSLAM a 72-hour Indigenous film challenge held at Maoriland Film Festival in Otaki and nativeSLAM the feature. Known for her extensive work in championing and producing the works of Australia’s emerging and Indigenous filmmakers. Pauline has spent the last twenty years helping to develop and mentor other filmmakers and their voices. Her roles have included being the Series Producer for ABC’s Messagestick from 2000-2004, the Indigenous training officer at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School from 2009 to 2013; and from 2013-15 she was the Commissioning Editor and Head of Internal Productions for NITV, creating among other things, the landmark initiative “Our Stories, Our Way, Everyday”. In 2015 she won the Stanley Hawes Award 2015 for Contribution to Australian Documentaries.

She is currently an Associate Professor, Manager of Cultural Resilience Hub, Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education & Research at the UTS. Pauline also shares her wisdom, industry experience and integrity with emerging creative entrepreneurs through Creative Plus Business. As a NSW Treasury endorsed Creative Specialist, Pauline helps independent filmmakers and other creative people to strengthen their financial sustainability so they can continue to make extraordinary art and stories with empowered, and viable, creative models.

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Rachel Corbert
Head of Podcasts & Digital Content, Nova Entertainment (AUS)

Rachel Corbett is a media professional with almost twenty years experience.  During her career, Rachel has specialised in podcasting and radio working both in front of and behind the microphone.  The first 12 years of her career were spent as a breakfast and drive host working for some of the biggest radio stations in Australia including Hit 104.1, Triple M Melbourne and Sydney and 92.9 in Perth.  After leaving radio in 2013 Rachel started teaching podcasting and radio at AFTRS in Sydney before creating her own online podcasting course, PodSchool, in 2016.  From 2017 – early 2020 Rachel was the Head of Podcasts at Mamamia where she grew the network from 15 to over 35 shows and the downloads to over 90 million.  Rachel is currently Head of Podcasts & Digital Content at Nova Entertainment as well as a regular host on The Project.

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Robin McNicholas
Co-Founder/Creative Director, Marshmallow Laser Feast (UK)

Co-founder and Director of the award-winning creative studio Marshmallow Laser Feast (MLF), Robin has directed a myriad of immersive experiences, large-scale installations and live performances.

Robin is based in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, in the north of England where the natural world forms a source of constant inspiration. Exploring new sensory perspectives that challenge our relationship to the world around us plays a key role in Robin and the team at MLF’s work. Robin’s interest in full immersion lead to a 5 year deep-dive into virtual production and interaction techniques, where a focus on realtime deformable object tracking has informed the development of mixed-reality storytelling methods for new forms of audience engagement.

The live aspect of Robin’s work has involved touring installations and productions to some of the world’s largest venues, concert halls and cultural spaces. Robin lead the team to conceptualise and direct iconic shows for the Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors’ Showcase (Cannes Palais, France). He’s worked with a range of musical acts including U2, Aphex Twin and Lenny Kravitz. As creative director musings such as ‘do dolphins dream in sonar?’ and  ‘can you taste in your dreams?’ have inspired key productions in the MLF conceptual / directorial roster such as A Colossal Wave, Sweet Dreams and most recently – a collaborative production with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Epic Games, Philharmonia Orchestra & Manchester International Festival – the 2021 production ‘Dream’.

 

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Santilla Chingaipe
Journalist/Documentary Filmmaker (AUS)

Santilla Chingaipe is a journalist and filmmaker whose work explores migration, cultural identities and politics. She spent nearly a decade working for SBS World News which saw her report from across Africa and interview some of the continents most prominent leaders.
 
Chingaipe is a regular contributor to The Saturday Paper, and serves as a member of the Federal Government’s Advisory Group on Australia-Africa Relations (AGAAR).
 
The recipient of a number of awards, she was recognised at the United Nations as one of the most influential people of African descent in the world in 2019.
 
Her first book of non-fiction detailing the untold stories of convicts of African descent transported to the Australian penal colonies, is forthcoming with Picador in 2021.
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Sarah Dawson
Programmer, International Documentary Film Festival of Amsterdam - IDFA (NLD)

Sarah Dawson is currently a programmer at the International Documentary Film Festival of Amsterdam (IDFA). Her previous roles have included Associate Programmer at Sheffield Doc/Fest and Festival Manager at the Durban International Film Festival, South Africa. She has also written and taught on film for various institutions and publications. She has an MA in Film Theory from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

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Yaara Ozery
Program Manager, Docaviv, Israel

Yaara Ozery is the Program Manager and a senior programmer at Docaviv – The Tel Aviv International Documentary Film Festival. She holds an M.A. from the Steve Tisch School of Film and Television, Tel-Aviv University, and teaches various courses in film theory, documentary cinema and women’s cinema. Her essays have been published on various platforms in both English and Hebrew. Yaara is the initiator of Mirrors- The First Women’s Film and Television Conference at Tel Aviv University. 

Pic: Vladimir Belinski

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Yasmin Elayat
Co-founder/CMO, Scatter (USA)

Yasmin Elayat is an Emmy-award winning immersive director whose work pushes the boundaries of immersive narrative and participatory experiences. Yasmin is Co-Founder at Scatter, where she heads content, production and marketing initiatives. Scatter is recognized for pioneering the emerging language of Volumetric Filmmaking through its original volumetric film productions and it’s AR/VR creativity tools. Scatter’s first product Depthkit is the most widely used toolkit for accessible volumetric video capture.

 

Yasmin directed the Emmy award-winning Zero Days VR (Sundance 2017) a documentary about cyber warfare and the Stuxnet virus. Yasmin co-directed Blackout (Tribeca 2017) an immersive documentary inviting New Yorkers to share their stories in their own voice. She is the co-creator of 18DaysInEgypt, an interactive documentary about the Egyptian Revolution that was lauded as one the Moments of Innovation in Participatory Documentary. Upcoming projects include Changing Same, a magical-realist, afro-futurist virtual reality film which explores the cyclical history of racial injustice in America. Changing Same is a co-production between RADA Film Group and Scatter.

 

Yasmin’s work has won multiple awards and exhibited at various festivals including Sundance, Tribeca, SIGGRAPH, Festival de Cannes, and the World Economic Forum. Yasmin is also a United States Artists 2020 Fellow

 

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