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Celebrating 20 Aussie female creatives in 2020

To mark International Women’s Day, we’ve put together a list of Australian female creatives whose work you should look out for this year.

From directors and cinematographers, to producers, writers and actors, here are some of the names to watch:

1. ACTOR/WRITER: MARIA ANGELICO

Maria AngelicoMaria Angelico in Other People's Problems

A talent in front of and behind the camera, actor Maria Angelico wrote, produced and starred in the Tribeca-selected web series Movement in 2015, and has played lead roles in Sisters, AACTA-nominated The InBESTigators and ABC iview series Other People's Problems. You can catch her in the new drama Stateless on ABC and she is also busy behind the lens with her own series in development for musical comedy drama Unbeweavable alongside Sisters co-star Lucy Durack and producer Imogen Banks. Maria was also recently a director’s attachment on the NYC set of Awkwafina is Nora from Queens.

2. ACTOR/WRITER: GEMMA BIRD MATHESON

Gemma Bird MathesonGemma Bird Matheson in Content 

You may recognise Gemma Bird Matheson from playing the best friend Daisy in Content, the world's first vertical scripted comedy series, or TV series The Housemate which she wrote and starred in. Bird Matheson received Screen Australia story development funding for the six-part online comedy 50 Shades of Black (Girl) that she’s writing and executive producing, and which was also selected to be part of the SBS Digital Originals initiative. You can also watch her in new series Deadhouse Dark coming out soon on YouTube and deadhouse.tv.

3. ACTOR/DIRECTOR/WRITER: TILDA COBHAM-HERVEY

Adelaide born film, TV and theatre actor, Tilda Cobham-Hervey made her film debut in 52 Tuesdays at age 16. Her directorial debut came in 2017 for her ABC ME short film A Field Guide to Being a 12-Year-Old Girl, which won the Crystal Bear for Best Short Film in the Generation KPlus section of the Berlin International Film Festival in 2018. She’s also starred opposite Dev Patel in Hotel Mumbai and is playing the lead role of Australian musician and feminist icon Helen Reddy in the biopic I Am Woman, due to hit Aussie cinemas this year. Also in the works for Cobham-Hervey is feature film Lone Wolf and she’s partnered up with Patel to co-write and co-direct the VR animated project Roborovski.

4. WRITER/DIRECTOR: BECK COLE

Beck ColeBeck Cole

Warramungu/Luritja nations filmmaker and AFTRS graduate Beck Cole started her career as a TV journalist before moving into the world of documentary and film. She made her feature writing and directing debut in 2010 with Here I Am and has worked on numerous series including Redfern Now, Black Comedy and Grace Beside Me. Season two of animated children’s series Little J & Big Cuz, where Cole is credited as co-writer and voice director, premiered on NITV earlier this year and she is also preparing a short film for the upcoming anthology feature Cook 2020: Our Right of Reply alongside the development of two of her own features.

5. EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: DEBORAH COX & FIONA EAGGER

Cox and Eagger joined forces in 2009 to form Every Cloud Productions and since then have gone from strength to strength, including turning the Phyrne Fisher book series into a global franchise (three seasons on ABC, a spin-off season and multiple international sales). As well as co-creating and co-producing the fan favourite Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, they have worked on The Gods of Wheat Street, Newton’s Law and the reimagining of Seachange, 20 years later. The feature film adaption of the Fisher franchie Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears has just released, having taken over $1m in its first week alone.

Read more about Every Cloud here

6. ACTOR: JESSICA DE GOUW

Jessica de GouwJessica de Gouw

Perhaps you recognise Jessica de Gouw from the acclaimed 2019 SBS series The Hunting, or ABC’s Riot, or maybe Zak Hilditch’s apocalyptic feature These Final Hours. Then there’s also her roles in international series Arrow, Dracula, Underground and on the latest season of Netflix’s The Crown as Lucy Lindsay-Hogg. But 2020 could be even bigger for de Gouw, set for appearances in The Secret She Keeps on Network 10 (also to be broadcast in the UK and US), as well as TV series Operation Buffalo alongside Ewen Leslie, and Leah Purcell’s high-anticipated feature The Drover’s Wife.

7. CINEMATOGRAPHER: BONNIE ELLIOTT ACS

Bonnie ElliottBonnie Elliott ACS on the set of The Hunting

An award winning cinematographer, Bonnie Elliott ACS works across drama, documentary and video art. Cutting her teeth on her first feature My Tehran for Sale more than 10 years ago she now has a wealth of film credits to her name including These Final Hours, Palm Beach, Slam and recent release H is for Happiness. In the world of TV, she has won an AACTA Award for Best Cinematography in Television for Seven Types of Ambiguity and worked on SBS’s highest-rated local drama series The Hunting. 2020 has seen the premiere of star-studded drama series Stateless on 1 March, plus Elliott’s work can also be seen in feature Undertow on 5 March (more on that below). Elliott has also just been announced as one of the 18 members of the new Gender Matters Taskforce.

8. DIRECTOR/WRITER: NATALIE ERIKA-JAMES

2020 will see the national release of Natalie Erika-James’ highly anticipated debut feature film Relic, the second film funded through the Gender Matters: Brilliant Stories initiative that went into production. The psychological thriller premiered at Sundance Film Festival and will screen in Australia later this year. The Japanese-Australian writer, director and producer’s previous work includes the 2016 short Creswick, which won an AWGIE award in 2017. Erika-James is currently developing Japanese folk horror Drum Wave and expects to start shooting this in early 2021.

9. SCREENWRITER: MITHILA GUPTA

Mithila GuptaMithila Gupta

Mithila Gupta’s creative flair and writing has brought ideas and stories to life for many household favourites, most recently with Five Bedrooms season 1 and the upcoming season 2, and in April she will travel to New York as part of the Talent USA delegation. Since beginning her career in the Neighbours writing room, Gupta has also worked on shows like Winners and Losers, Playing for Keeps, Home and Away and Cleverman, as well more recent series The Heights. 2020 sees Gupta working on her own project Salsa Masala and continuing to pursue her efforts to diversify the industry both in front of, and behind the camera (particularly as founding member of the Australian Writers’ Guild’s first ever Diversity and Inclusion committee). 

Read writing advice from Mithila here

Hear from the writing team on The Heights here

10. ACTOR/WRITER/DIRECTOR: HANNAH LEHMANN

Hannah Lehmann

Hannah Lehmann is killing it in the online content realm. She is the creator, writer and director of Two Sides, an original series commissioned by SnapChat and released under their Snap Originals banner in June 2019, as well as the creator and showrunner of The Out There, Australia’s first drama created exclusively for Instagram. She has recently been selected as part of Screen Australia’s prestigious Talent LA Delegation and is developing a short-form series Surprise Party through the SBS Digital Originals initiative. With a heavy focus in sci-fi and surreal dramedy and a keen interest in queer stories, stay tuned for more projects by Lehmann.

11. CONTENT CREATOR: ROSIE LOURDE

Rosie LourdeRosie Lourde on the set of Deadhouse Dark

Cross-platform content creator, Rosie Lourde is a storyteller with a passion for community and human connection. Lourde acts, produces, writes and directs including acting in (and producing seasons 3-5 of) hugely successful digital series Starting from Now, which has amassed over 135 million views around the world. Lourde’s work will be gracing screens again this year with her directorial debut feature Romance On The Menu and horror anthology series Deadhouse Dark (of which she has writing and directing credits), which will have its world premiere in competition at Canneseries. Lourde has also just been announced as a member of the new Gender Matters Task Force.

12. WRITER/DIRECTOR: DANIELLE MACLEAN

Danielle MacleanDanielle MacLean (left) on the set of Blown Away

Danielle MacLean’s career as writer, producer and director spans more than two decades including writing and directing Queen of Hearts and work on Redfern Now, Grace Beside Me and Blown Away. MacLean is juggling numerous projects this year including the highly-anticipated Mystery Road season two, which is set to air on ABC this year after it’s debut at the Berlin International Film Festival. She is also one of six filmmakers from Australia working on the joint anthology feature Cook 2020: Our Right of Reply, providing an Indigenous perspective on the 250th anniversary of James Cook’s maiden voyage to the Pacific.

13. ACTOR: EVIE MACDONALD

Evie MacdonaldEvie Macdonald in First Day

Transgender actor Evie Macdonald is headed for the small screen in new series First Day, based on the 2017 stand-alone episode. The series follows 12-year old transgender girl Hannah (Macdonald) as she navigates the challenges of starting high school. Written and directed by award-winning Julie Kalceff (Starting from Now), First Day will be the first Australian scripted television series to star a transgender actor in the lead role. Keep an eye out for Evie with First Day set to air on ABC this year. 

14. PRODUCER: JODI MATTERSON

Jodi MattersonJodi Matterson with director Abe Forsythe on the set of Down Under

Jodi Matterson began her career as a producer more than 15 years ago, and was behind features such as Not Suitable for Children and Down Under. Since then, she has teamed up with powerhouse Aussie producer Bruna Papandrea (Gone Girl, Wild, Big Little Lies), co-founding the Australian arm of her production company Made Up Stories of which Matterson is CEO. Last year saw the release of feature film Little Monsters and even more is in store for 2020 and beyond. Matterson is currently in production on The Dry, starring Eric Bana, and filming on Sydney’s northern beaches for Penguin Bloom including a stellar cast of Naomi Watts and Jacki Weaver to name a few.

15. WRITER/SHOWRUNNER: ELISE MCCREDIE

Multi-award winning screenwriter Elise McCredie can count a plethora of titles to her name, including Jack Irish, Emmy-winning series Nowhere Boys and has been nominated for five AWG Awards (winning twice). For McCredie, the past six months have been something of a busy yet thrilling affair. From co-writing Ride Like a Girl - the first film produced through Gender Matters and Australia’s highest grossing film of 2019 – to writing and showrunning on new ABC drama Stateless which just premiered on the ABC (after debuting at Berlinale and landing a worldwide Netflix sale).

To hear more from Elise McCredie on showrunning and co-creating Stateless, click here

16. EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: QUE MINH LUU

Another one of the stellar women on the Gender Matters taskforce, Que Minh Luu, is an executive producer across a myriad of ground-breaking and diverse TV shows, including scripted drama, comedy and digital content, and the co-creator of ABC series The Heights. Prior to working in development at Matchbox Pictures and her current role at the ABC, she had an established career as a film editor working on Wonderland, Laid and Blue Water High amongst others, and won an Australian Writers’ Guild AWGIE Award for Ghosts of Biloela, an interactive drama for smartphones. In recent years she has worked as an executive producer on Frayed, Harrow, and the vertical comedy series Content which was made for mobile viewing. Stay tuned for season two of The Heights when it returns to ABC in 2020.

17. DIRECTOR: UNJOO MOON

Unjoo MoonUnjoo Moon (right) with Tilda Cobham-Hervey at an event for I Am Woman

Born in South Korea and raised in Australia, Unjoo Moon’s directorial debut feature I Am Woman hits Australian cinemas on 21 May, after having made its world premiere at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival. Moon has also directed and produced a plethora of award winning short films, music videos, commercials and documentaries including feature documentary The Zen of Bennett and a PSA video on gun violence The Wrong Side of History.

18. DIRECTOR: SHANNON MURPHY

Shannon MurphyShannon Murphy on the set of On the Ropes

Another debut feature from a female Australian director releasing on 25 June this year is Babyteeth by Shannon Murphy, starring Essie Davis and Ben Mendelsohn. It was one of only two films from women directors to be In Competition at Venice Film Festival in 2019 and is now set to appear in more than 20 film festivals. The award-winning stage and screen director has directed productions for the Sydney Theatre Company and Belvoir Street Theatre. In the world of television, Murphy has directed episodes of beloved Aussie series Rake, Love Child, Offspring, Sisters and On the Ropes. Straight off the back of Babyteeth, Murphy also directed two episodes (5 & 6) of the upcoming third season of Killing Eve, so audiences are certainly in for a treat this year.

19. writer/DIRECTOR: MIRANDA NATION

Cast and crew of UndertowMiranda Nation (center) with the cast and crew of Undertow

Miranda Nation originally trained as an actor before shifting her focus to behind the camera, directing the award-winning 2013 short Perception and working as a director’s attachment on Berlin Syndrome. She has a passion for social justice and is driven to create strong complex roles for women, evident in new film Undertow, releasing 5 March, a female-driven story created by a proudly female-strong crew. It premiered at MIFF last year to great acclaim. Currently Nation is developing several feature and long form projects including a sci-fi series and new live action feature.

20. DIRECTOR: MAYA NEWELL

Award winning filmmaker Maya Newell made a name for herself in 2015 with feature documentary Gayby Baby (significant in the movement for marriage and adoption equality) having already directed Two and Growin Up Gayby. She has a passion for social impact documentary, recently releasing her latest feature In My Blood It Runs, which has earned glowing reviews and award nominations. She will join forces again with producer Sophie Hyde (who worked on In My Blood It Runs) for the documentary, The Dreamlife of Georgie Stone, from transgender activist Georgie Stone coming out later this year.

SHOW YOUR SUPPORT

As we work towards a more inclusive screen industry, it’s vital that we support Aussie female filmmakers with our wallets and our remote controls.

Here is just some of the Screen Australia-funded productions with female creatives coming out in 2020 for your diary:

  • Cloudy River (on SBS On Demand now)
  • The Gloaming (on Stan now)
  • The Commons (on Stan now)
  • Stateless (on ABC now)
  • Miss Fisher & the Crypt of Tears (in cinemas now)
  • The Rainbow Passage (on TenPlay now)
  • Undertow (in cinemas 5 March)
  • Revelation (on ABC from 17 March)
  • First Day (on ABC ME from 30 March)
  • I Am Woman (in cinemas 21 May)
  • Babyteeth (in cinemas 25 June)
  • Relic (date TBA)
  • The Secret She Keeps (coming soon to Network Ten)
  • amazing Grace season 2 (coming soon to Facebook)
  • Why Are You Like This? (coming soon to ABC)
  • Wakefield (coming soon to ABC)
  • Miriam Margolyes: Almost Australian (coming soon to the ABC)

  • First Wars  (coming soon to SBS)

  • Penguin Bloom (releasing summer 20/21)