Heather Gill is the curator of short films, web series, and home movies at the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) and a member of the Melbourne WebFest 2018 jury. Heather has been working for the NFSA for the last eight years, though she has had an interest in film since her days working at Video Ezy in high school.

“A lot of people assume I watch films all day, but funnily enough that isn’t the reality.

The NFSA aims to hold a representative sample of Australian film productions in the collection, so part of my role is to actively collect,” says Heather.

Her role also includes researching what is in the collection by building an understanding of the connections film has to Australia’s social history. This means she is working with films made anywhere between the 1890s to 2018.

As a curator, Heather’s experience involves looking at series in a critical light. She believes the process is somewhat different however, as when curating she is looking to collect “a representative sample of what is produced and what is significant.”

In terms of web series, Heather believes “significance can be harder to determine, but with the immediacy of web series, you are able to see what events are prompting a response and becoming part of the zeitgeist.”

Naturally, Heather has been a fan of Melbourne WebFest for some time. She came to know about MWF after crossing paths with Sally McLean, General Manager at MWF, after an event at the St Kilda Film Festival in 2017 and was keen to be involved.

“The program offers a real focus on bringing together people who are passionate about creating and watching web series.”

Among a jury of predominantly those involved with the production of film and television, Heather has a unique perspective of someone who is working with finished products. Working with short films, web series, and home movies, she also knows what to look for.

“A well written story really helps you to lose yourself in the world being created and assists the production to achieve the best result.”

As someone with an interest in social history, she enjoys being able to dive into the history of Australian films, and believes that good screenwriting can achieve this better than anything else.

That said, there is more than just writing when it comes to a series.

“Quality production design is also appreciated, as it can really accentuate the world you are invited to inhabit for the duration of the series,” Heather adds.

For creators attending the event, Heather may be one of many invaluable connections that can be made at MWF.