jury & Industry Speakers

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Melbourne Webfest

Jury

Vidad Narayan

Filmmaker

Vidad’s an award winning writer / director / editor / and non-award winning part-time comic book collector. With an ever growing focus in documentary film, he co-runs Melbourne based studios Round 3. Their award winning documentary web-series’ includes HIGH RISING, SILO ART TRAIL and THE STREETS BARBER STORIES, the latter which has won a number of awards at Melbourne WebFest. Round 3 Their earlier work has also included music videos for acts such as The Herd, Opiuo, and Sietta. 

Laura Hudson

Journalist, Content Creator

Laura Hudson is a former senior editor at WIRED and culture editor at The Verge with over ten years of journalism and editorial experience. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, Slate, FiveThirtyEight, TIME, The Guardian, BBC and The LA Times. At The Verge, she created Better Worlds, a fiction project of original sci-fi tales by award-winning authors, and scripted animated adaptations for those stories. Most recently, she worked as a staff writer for the upcoming HBO Max drama DMZ, directed by Ava DuVernay. 

Dipu Bhattacharya

Dipu Bhattacharya is the co-creator the award-winning comedy noir digital series The Pantsless Detective with Tom Chamberlain. He has won awards for writing, editing, and directing the series, including the prestigious Michael Ajakwe Jr. Achievement Award at Melbourne Web Fest, with nominations ranging from best visual effects to best supporting actor. He has also moderated panels at Bilbao Seriesland and Minnesota WebFest, squeezing every last drop of vacation time he could get to travel to these and many other web fests around the globe until, well, you know.

 

Andrew Shanks

Film Maker

Andrew Shanks is a South Australian award-winning filmmaker. He is the co-founder and co-director of the production company and YouTube channel FURY FINGERS FILMS, which has amassed over 10 millions views online for their unique brand of video game inspired action comedy. Their 4 part web series GOONS. INC won the ‘2018 Best Web Series SASA Award’. In 2019, Andrew co-created, wrote and directed the 6 episode action adventure rom-com web series LOVE, GUNS & LEVEL UPS, which was the recipient of SKIP AHEAD funding through SCREEN AUSTRALIA and GOOGLE AUSTRALIA. The series is currently in post-production and aiming for a late 2020 release online. Andrew is also currently working as an editor on television shows such as Masterchef Australia, Australian Survivor and Lego Masters. 

Meridth Buckholder

Film Festival CEO

Meredith Burkholder is the founder and CEO of the first international short form series festival in Germany, Webfest Berlin. She is also the founder and CEO of Ensoki Productions GmbH and co-author of Short, Narrative and Serialized: A Complete Guide to the Web Series Phenomenon (2019). She offers training and consultation on short form series development, production, and sales alongside regularly contributing as a speaker and moderator at TV and web series events around the world.  

Tony Briggs

Filmmaker, Actor

Tony is a Yorta Yorta/Wurundjeri (Woiwurrung) and the creator and writer of feature film The Sapphires which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival 2012. He received two AWGIE awards and the film won 11 of 12 categories at AACTA 2013. He previously wrote The Sapphires Play, which had sell-out seasons at the MTC and Belvoir, winning two Helpmann Awards. Tony is co-originator, executive producer and writer of the eight part TV series The Warriors. Tony recently directed the short film Elders premiering at Berlin Film Festival, imagineNATIVE, Sydney Film Festival, Melbourne International Film Festival and many other film festivals nationally and globally. As an actor of over 20 years he holds many credits to his name including feature roles in Cleverman (2015), Broken Shore (2013), Redfern Now (2012) and The Slap (2010). Tony is the Artistic Director of Birrarangga Film Festival, showcasing Indigenous Films from across the globe to Melbourne Audiences biennially at ACMI. 

Melanie Brunt

Producer

Melanie Brunt is a producer of thoughtful, character-driven short films across fiction, animation and documentary categories through her company, Feather Films. Her films, including THE ORCHESTRA, DUGONG and LESSONS FROM THE NIGHT have won over 50 awards, screened at 150+ festivals; including Sundance, Tribeca, Karlovy Vary, Edinburgh, Palm Springs International ShortFest, and Aspen Shortsfest. Her films have been nominated for 4 AFI/AACTA Awards. Melanie was a producer on Princess Pictures’ multi-award winning, short form series WRONG KIND OF BLACK, which in 2019 won the Grand Jury Award at Melbourne Webfest, and was nominated for an International Emmy. 

 

DR Kim Munro

Academic, Documentary Maker

Dr Kim Munro is a lecturer in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University as well as the 2020 programmer of the Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC). Kim is a documentary maker and has exhibited and screened works in festivals, galleries and television both in Australia and internationally. Kim has published broadly on interactive and immersive documentary, web series, transmedia and collaborative and participatory practices.  

Pennie Brown

Producer

Pennie is a Producer of comedy How to Stay Married (S2), KINNE (Pilot & S2) and has worked as an Associate Producer on some of Australia’s leading drams Wentworth, Winners & Losers, City Homicide as well as producing animated content for Sesame Street. Pennie has worked at Seven Studios as a Scripted Development Producer and consulted to Disney/ABC Network’s International Scripted Department scouting for Australian formats and talent to be produced in the US market. In 2013 Pennie was selected as an emerging producer in the inaugural Screen Producers Association Australia Ones To Watch and was a recipient of the Natalie Miller/Film Victoria Women’s Professional and Leadership Development funding in 2018. Pennie now works as an in-house Producer across a slate of narrative and comedy projects at Princess Pictures. 

 

Phillip Hayden

Actor

Philip Hayden is the Director of the Howard Fine Acting Studio Australia and has led the organisation since it began in 2011. Amongst many television, film and theatre appearances Philip has performed leading roles on London’s West End, in classic HBO drama Band of Brothers, in the hit Stan show Romper Stomper, been a semi regular on children’s television for the BBC and for award-winning Australian theatre company Red Stitch. Philip has also co-founded several theatre companies, the latest of which (Key Conspirators) is presently focused on developing new Australian writing and produced the hit, sell-out show Quite Drunk, Very Jesus-y in 2019. Outside of performing Philip is also one of the founders and original Directors of the Poppy Seed Theatre Festival. A pioneering festival designed specifically to support mid-career and emerging theatre makers in Melbourne. 

 

 

Annie Louey

Actor

Annie Louey is a comedian, broadcaster and actor. She recently took to the web to perform her solo show, Annie Louey’s Big Break, after the Comedy Festival and gigs everywhere were cancelled due to COVID-19. She can be heard on the airwaves as a regular guest on ABC Breakfast and as a presenter on JOY94.9. Annie’s most recent acting gig saw her playing a lead pirate, in an educational series for Victorian high schools. Plus, if you love Aunty Donna, you might recognise her as an undercover ticket inspector from their Glennridge Secondary College webseries. 

 

 

Leon Cheo

Writer, Director

Leon Cheo is a writer/director whose web series People Like Us won ‘Best Short TV Drama’ at the 2016 ITVFest (Vermont), ‘Best Web Drama Series’ at the Formosa Festival of International Filmmaker Awards, and ‘Best Supporting Actor – Drama’ at the 2017 Indie Series Awards. The series also garnered multiple nominations internationally and is distributed on HereTV, Gagaoolala and Dekkoo. 

Leon’s short films have screened at festivals in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Hong Kong, Seoul, Bangkok, Tokyo, Tehran, Germany, Italy, Canada and more. Highlights include SIN-SFO (Best Live-Action Short and Best Director, 2019 National Youth Film Awards Singapore); Nuts (Honourable mention for the YOMYOMF Interpretations 2.0 competition, founded by Justin Lin); and The Three Sisters (Best Short Film, 2012 NETPAC-Jogja Asian Film Festival). 

Melbourne webfest

Industry Speakers

Vidad Narayan

Filmmaker

Vidad’s an award winning writer / director / editor / and non-award winning part-time comic book collector. With an ever growing focus in documentary film, he co-runs Melbourne based studios Round 3. Their award winning documentary web-series’ includes HIGH RISING, SILO ART TRAIL and THE STREETS BARBER STORIES, the latter which has won a number of awards at Melbourne WebFest. Round 3 Their earlier work has also included music videos for acts such as The Herd, Opiuo, and Sietta. 

Ant McCormack

Media Company Founder

Ant is the co-founder of Changer Studios, a media ventures company with leading expertise in short form online video. Changer has helped grow some of the top YouTube creators in the world and runs a series of world-first creator initiatives – in partnership with YouTube, Google and other leading online video partners – to shape the future of online video creation. They’ve collaborated with top brands and media companies including Viacom, Gushcloud, Comedy Central, Vice and VidCon to name a few. 

Cath Moore

Screen Writer

Cath Moore is an award winning screenwriter who graduated from AFTRS with an MA in Scriptwriting in 2002. She also holds a PHD in Danish Screenwriting practices and teaches at The University of Melbourne and RMIT. She has written for children’s TV, skit comedy, shorts and documentary. Cath writes for The Age and has worked as a story mentor for FilmVictoria’s Story Lab initiative. Her latest film ‘The Pen Licence’ won a special jury mention at the San Francisco International Film Festival. She was an author in the anthology ‘Growing up African in Australia’ and her first novel is will be released in July 2020. 

 

Michelle Law

Actor, Writer

Michelle Law is a writer and actor working across print, theatre, film and television. She wrote the smash-hit play Single Asian Female, which has sold out seasons and continues to tour across Australia. Her screenwriting work includes the SBS show Homecoming Queens, which she co-created, co-wrote and stars in. Michelle has been awarded a Queensland Premier’s Young Publishers and Writers Award, and two Australian Writers Guild awards. She is currently developing two new plays, an opera and an original feature film. Her latest play, Miss Peony, will be staged at Belvoir St Theatre in 2020. 

Abigail Thomas

General Manager SBS On Demand

Abigail Thomas is the General Manager of SBS On Demand where she leads a digital team of designers, developers, product managers and marketers to create a delightful digital experience for SBS’s streaming customers. She has over twenty years’ experience in digital strategy, innovation and product development, having led digital teams at the Commonwealth Bank, Deloitte and the ABC. Her career highlights include the creation and launch of ABC2, the development of ABC iView, leading the multi-award winning CommBank mobile app, leading the successful bid for Sydney to be recognised as a UNESCO City of Film, and helping to drive the growth of SBS On Demand. 

Peter Andrews

Head Of Network Programming SBS

Peter Andrews is the Head of Network Programming for Australian Broadcaster SBS and is based in Sydney. He is responsible for the overall programming & content strategy for SBS, SBS On Demand, SBS VICELAND, SBS Food and SBS World Movies, overseeing the team that is responsible for the acquisition of content across all genres, including formats, for all SBS platforms.  Prior to SBS, Peter was Network Program Manager for Network TEN Australia from 2002 to 2013, and before that Program Manager for Channel Seven Sydney.  With almost 20 years in the content business, Peter has a great passion for storytelling in all its forms, and is always looking for worldclass innovative contentthat provokes with purpose, inspires, surprises and delights audiences.  

Alyce Adams

Investment Manager, Screen Australia  

Alyce is an Investment Manager at Screen Australia in the Online department. Her role includes managing development, production and completion funding for multiple online projects across YouTube, Facebook, ABC iView, SBS OnDemand, Blackpills, Netflix and Stan, as well as several VR projects that have been accepted into Venice and Toronto International Film Festivals. Alyce deals with creators, writers, producers, platforms, broadcasters and other humans every day, using her years of experience working in the online sector to give guidance on the best way to create unique content that will reach a global audience. 

She watched a lot of Youtube during high school and uni, so she’s lucky she found this job where that knowledge is actually useful. In addition to watching web series, Alyce has helped oversee initiatives such as Skip Ahead with Google and Fresh Blood with the ABC.  

 

 

 

Bec Bignell

Storyteller

Bec is a multi-hyphenate producer specialising in audience centred story-telling. She’s passionate about recycling story formats for multiple platforms and has worked in film and media for twelve years, most recently as the Partnership Executive at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation where she worked with International travelling broadcasters from Asia Pacific for Window on Australia Events including Channel News AsiaChengdu TVGuangdong Radio and Television and Shanghai Media Group. In 2017 Bec co-founded the new media production company, Cockatoo CoLab, in partnership with Marius Foley, Head of Design Futures at RMIT University. She produced the successful short form series 600 Bottles of Wine, which premiered on BBC 3 (UK) and was also acquired by Network TenTVNZ (New Zealand)YLE (Finland) and Stellar Entertainment. Bec is Founder and Editor of the popular online creative hub, Rural Room, and is currently writing, producing and acting in the hybrid web-series, Rain Dance. The series highlights regional women and will be filmed in the Great Southern region of Western Australia in 2019. In 2018 Bec was awarded a Telstra scholarship to participate in the Australian Rural Leadership Program and was a finalist in the 2018 Australian Financial Review 100 Women of Influence. 

 

Laura Hudson

Journalist & Content Creator

Laura Hudson is a former senior editor at WIRED and culture editor at The Verge with over ten years of journalism and editorial experience. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, Slate, FiveThirtyEight, TIME, The Guardian, BBC and The LA Times. At The Verge, she created Better Worlds, a fiction project of original sci-fi tales by award-winning authors, and scripted animated adaptations for those stories. Most recently, she worked as a staff writer for the upcoming HBO Max drama DMZ, directed by Ava DuVernay.

Lee Naimo

Investment Manager, Screen Australia  

Lee Naimo works at Screen Australia as Investment Manager for Online Production. Lee is a comedian, improviser, musician and artist best known as one-third of musical comedy trio The Axis of Awesome, who have over 200 million views online and an army of fans worldwide. Lee was also Creative Producer for Insert Coin, a sketch comedy series about video games that was part of the 2017 Melbourne WebFest Selection.