New Screen Makers Conference – Speakers

New Screen Makers Conference – Speakers

Purchase your 2-day pass here.

Annabelle Sheehan

Annabelle Sheehan is the Chief Executive Officer, South Australian Film Corporation and commenced her role in February 2015.  Annabelle has longstanding experience as a Chief Executive and Senior Executive in the Australian screen industry.  She has most recently been the Director, Production Investment and Acting Chief Executive- Production for ScreenWest where she oversaw production investment and business development programs and policy. From 2003 to 2013, Ms Sheehan was the CEO and Senior Agent at RGM Artist Group (RGM), a major Australian talent agency representing Australia's leading artists in film, television, theatre and radio. Prior to joining RGM, she was Head of the Film and Television division at Australia’s peak national production education centre – The Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS) for six years. Her career began in post-production from which she has an extensive list of credits, nominations and awards for her work on feature films such as Dead Calm, Mad Max 3, The Piano, Fearless and Portrait of a Lady. She holds a Master of Arts in Cinema Studies from New York University. Her Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Graduate Diploma in Education were gained at the University of Technology Sydney. She has written numerous articles about the screen production sector and has presented at conferences in Australia, the USA and China.

Celia Pacquola

Comedian/ Actor/ Writer

Multi-award-winning comic Celia Pacquola has cemented her position as one of the most in demand comedians in Australia, while also forging a comedy career in the UK and abroad. Her stand-out solo festival shows The Looking Glass, Let Me Know How It All Works Out, Delayed, Flying Solos and Am I Strange, have all garnered rave reviews wherever they were performed, from Melbourne to Edinburgh. In 2014 Celia was nominated for the Barry Award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival for the best show and won the Amused Moose Laughter Award at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Celia is also a talented actor with roles in the acclaimed ABC1 series The Beautiful Lie, the AACTA award-winning Laid, Logie Award winning drama Offspring and in Working Dog’s series Utopia, for which she won an AACTA Award in 2015. Her wit and jokes will be familiar from guest appearances on Spicks and Specks, The Project, Good News Week, Dirty Laundry, Have Been Paying Attention? and more. Internationally, Celia has been a guest on Never Mind The Buzzcocks, Chelsea Lately and The Rob Brydon Show.

In late 2016, Celia and her dear friend and Utopia colleague Luke McGregor will star on ABC1 in Rosehaven - a comedy series of their own creation.

Kate Croser

Kate Croser is a producer with a reputation for developing and producing bold film and television work. Kate’s first feature film, the Australian-Iranian collaboration MY TEHRAN FOR SALE, was shot entirely on location in Tehran in 2008 (winner 2009 IF Independent Spirit Award). Most recently Kate has produced a second series of DANGER 5 for SBS (also nominated for a Best TV Comedy AACTA Award), documentary film MICHELLE'S STORY for ABC (winner 2015 Audience Award Adelaide Film Festival), and co-produced feature film BOYS IN THE TREES with Mushroom Pictures, currently in post-production.

Victoria Cocks

Victorias passion for writing and directing came to fruition with her directorial debut on Wastelander Panda. The international success of the project which included screening at SXSW and Fantastic Fest in particular, led to further directing opportunities including the opening cinematic for Wasteland 2, a highly acclaimed video game release in 2014 which saw Victoria travel to Los Angeles.






Rick Kalowski
Current ABC Head of Comedy, Rick is a multi award winning comedy writer and producer, and has frequently been named among The Sydney Morning Herald’s ‘Most Influential People in Television’. His own credits include co-creator/co-writer/executive producer of the controversial hit sitcom At Home with Julia and head writer of long running sketch comedy series Comedy Inc – The Late Shift. At ABC, he has overseen more than 20 series and 70 hours of AACTA- and Logie award-winning scripted comedy for TV and iview including the recent ABC Comedy Showroom pilot season, Working Dog’s Utopia, The Katering Show Season 2, Upper Middle Bogan, Please Like Me, Soul Mates, The Moodys and the forthcoming Rosehaven.


Liz Doran
Liz started her TV writing career on The Secret Life of Us and has since written for a wide range of shows including Please Like Me, Dance Academy, The Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries, Love Child, Carla Cametti PD and Sugar Rush for Channel 4 in the UK. She was the series script producer for Dance Academy and she also wrote several episodes for the following two seasons, for which she was nominated for an AWGIE.

In 2015 she co-created and was the head writer/script producer on the AACTA Award winning (Best Children’s TV Series) Ready For This with Blackfella Films and Werner Productions for ABC3. She also wrote the first episode for Molly, a two-part, 90 minute mini-series about Molly Meldrum and Countdown for Channel 7, which had consolidated ratings of 3.29 million viewers. She has been the script producer and co-writer on four seasons of Please Like Me, created by Josh Thomas, which has enjoyed local and international success including two AWGIE Awards.

Tragedy Plus Time= Comedy .  The old saying, “comedy is tragedy plus time” is one of the oldest rules in dramatic writing. With the rise of the dramedy and the success of less traditionally laugh out loud comedies such as Louie, Nurse Betty and Please Like Me, the genre line between traditional comedy and dramatic writing has become blurred. When is it appropriate for a dramatic scene to have comedic elements? When is it good for a comedy to go deep and explore the darker sides of life? How do you find the right balance between these two elements in your writing? This session explores the ways that comedy writing can be used as a tool within traditional drama - as well as examining the way that tragedy can be used effectively within comedy.


Paul Walton
“Princess Pictures makes some of  Australia’s favourite contemporary TV comedies including Open Slather, 8MMM Aboriginal Radio, It’s A Date and big hits such as Summer Heights High. They recently entered the digital space with Bleak and Graceland Happiness Project, which have won numerous awards at web festivals around the globe.


Dario Russo & David Ashby
Dario and David (Dinosaur Productions) are the creative talent behind the cult hit, Danger Five . The came to attention with one of the first Australian viral hits, Italian Spiderman made while they were students. They are now chasing the international market and a sustainable career pathway. How do you develop content for a global market, keep your unique voice and create new and entertaining universes


Daley Pearson - Ludo Studios
Ludo Studio is an International EMMY® Award-winning creative studio that specialises in producing original stories and innovative formats across all platforms. including Beached Az (ABC TV) The Bondi Hipsters (ABC TV) and the EMMY® winning, #7DaysLater (ABC TV). Ludo recently developed a multiplatform writers room called The Social Circle,  an initiative that enables Ludo to work with established and emerging creatives to answer broadcaster or platform briefs and deliver a diverse range of market ready IP for international TV, Film, online, branded and VOD platforms.


Richard Harris
Richard Harris is the Head of Business and Audience at Screen Australia. Previous to this he was the CEO of the SAFC.


Julia Overton
Julia has had a career in the screen industry in many countries and across all genres. She has worked for Australia’s national screen agencies assisting filmmakers in development, financing, production, marketing  and distribution of projects, specialising in the last six years of that tenure in documentary. She has been on the board of the Australian International Documentary Conference, is an international advisor’ for Hot Docs Canada and INPUT Public Television Program. Julia is now Producer or EP on a number of documentaries both theatrical and broadcast. She runs JOTZ Productions with director/producer Tom Zubrycki.


Rebecca Barry
Rebecca is the producer of the AACTA award winning, I Am A Girl. Media Stockade is passionate about working with social issues filmmakers to create powerful impact campaigns for public good. Including critical mass of screening events in non-theatrical settings – via communities, schools and businesses – that work to support a film’s social impact goals.


Danny and Michael Philippou (RackaRacka) and Julie Byrne(Producer, Triptych Pictures)
Danny and Michael Philippou have over 2.6mil subscribers to their YouTube channel and over 500 million hits for their videos . They are currently working with Triptych Pictures (producer Versus, co-producers The Babadook) on a slate of projects for the small and big screen, and co-production opportunities with the USA.


Kate Hodges
Kate has decades of experience as a successful producer for both the ABC and independent sector telling stories about subjects that she believes matter. Kate was a producer and the impact producer for Frackman, steering the innovative grass-roots release that drove the film’s box office success.


Chloe Rickard
Chloe Rickard is one of Australia's most dynamic and innovative comedy Producers. A Partner and Head of Production at Jungle, she has served as producer on Here Come the Habibs, No Activity (Stan's first original commission), Soul Mates, The Moodys, A Moody Christmas, Elegant Gentlemen's Guide to Knife Fighting, and over 200 TVCs.


Joost den Hartog (Impact Doco Hack)
Joost is a documentary curator, industry facilitator and digital marketer with a strong interest in online business models. Before relocating to Australia to take up the position as Executive Director of AIDC, Joost held industry positions at IDFA, Amsterdam and Hotdocs, Toronto. He consults occasionally for (screen) industry organisations. Previous clients include SAFC, NZFC and the Tribeca Film Institute. Since leaving AIDC in early 2015, Joost has taken up the position of Channel Manager for Australia’s Science Channel, an online startup owned by the Royal Institution of Australia. In this role he is responsible for platform development, editorial and audience growth. Joost graduated with a  masters degree in Screen, Arts and Business from AFTRS in 2014. His thesis was titled ‘The Third Phase’ about the economic opportunities for premium content producers in a fully converged media landscape.


Maria Theodorakis – Creator/Writer/Director/Actor
Maria won best short film at FEFF in Toronto, for writing and directing Car Lady & Bike Girl, which also played at many other international festivals. She has written many plays and will be a part of La Mama's Explorations series with her new play Australia DayLittle Acorns is a brand new Australian web series set in a childcare centre, where the adults behave more like children than the children.Executive Produced by Jason Byrne, Tait Brady and Rachel Griffiths. A bold nine part work-place comedy,“We wanted to celebrate the world's unsung heroines, but ultimately we wanted to make a show about women behaving badly,” says Theodorakis on what inspired Trudy Hellier and herself towrite & direct create Little Acorns


New Screen Makers Conference – Speakers