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Spotlight on 20 crew for International Women’s Day

Hear from 20 crew members including production designers, composers, boom operators and more as they discuss their career journey and highlights.

We shine a light on these unsung heroes of the Australian screen industry to celebrate International Women’s Day in 2022. Meet some of the incredible women working on sets – from emerging to experienced practitioners – as they reveal in their own words the answers to the following questions:

  • Why were you drawn to your role in the screen industry?
  • What’s a project you’ve worked on that you’re particularly proud of and why?

1. Ann Aucote

Sound Department

Ann Aucote Ann Aucote
Award-winning sound recordist Ann Aucote started out in the industry in the early 2000s and has worked across drama and documentary with credits including feature films Balibo, Brother’s Nest, Angel of Mine and The Dry; feature documentary Brazen Hussies; television series Rush, Nowhere Boys, Mustangs FC, How To Stay Married and New Gold Mountain; and ASSG (Australian Screen Sound Guild) award-winning work on 2010 short A Parachute Falling in Siberia.

I came to narrative work via my start in documentary. I love both genres and their different ways of approaching storytelling. My first film was Lake Mungo which was a nice transition for me, being a drama shot in the style of a documentary.

Early in my career I was fortunate to be offered the chance to record Balibo, partly shot in Timor Leste. It was a huge responsibility for a rookie recordist and I’m proud of the work we all achieved there under challenging circumstances.

2. Emma Bortignon

Sound Department

Headshot of Emma Bortingnon sitting in front of computer screen.

Emma Bortignon is an award-winning freelance sound designer and supervising sound editor operating out of Melbourne, Australia. Throughout Emma’s 25-year career she has worked on over 100 feature films, documentaries and television series with some of Australia’s most notable directors and producers. Emma has been nominated for 13 AACTA/AFI awards and won on four occasions for her work on Fires (2021), Suzi Q (2020), Murundak: Songs Of Freedom (2011) and Noise (2007).

In the beginning I was drawn to sound design because of how open-ended and rewarding it is to mould sound, coupled with the invisible effect it has on storytelling in

films… But as I continued to work on more and more projects, I found that it was the nurturing/creative teams, the driven, imaginative directors and producers, and the diverse stories I was being exposed to that kept me going. Being a Sound Designer is a very dynamic and satisfying way to spend your time and I feel lucky to be doing it. 

I am proud of almost every project I’ve ever worked on - so much heart, soul and thought goes into them all, however the most recent film project I've Sound Designed, You Won’t Be Alone, the debut feature written and directed by Goran Stolevski is a film I’m really proud to be involved with. Goran is a strong and talented director with a clear vision that sometimes questions the usual approach to sound and throws it out the window, which was a thrill and a challenge. It meant I had to find ways to satisfy the creative direction while keeping the sound design within its technical confines… And, it’s an amazing film too!

3. Marion Boyce

Costume Department

Marion Boyce Marion Boyce
Emmy-nominated costume designer Marion Boyce has more than 30 years’ experience in film and television, working across both Australian and international projects. Marion’s work on 2008 mini-series The Starter Wife earned a Primetime Emmy nomination, while in 2014 and 2015, Marion won back-to-back AACTA awards for Costume Design for the television series Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries Series 2 and feature film The Dressmaker. In 2017, Marion’s work in The Dressmaker was also nominated in the 19th Costume Designers Guild Awards. Marion’s credits also include The Newsreader, The Gloaming, The Hollowmen, Nightmares and Dreamscapes and Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles. Marion has recently wrapped ABC television series Barons and feature film Run Rabbit Run.

As a young child I spent time rummaging through laces and antique dresses. My great grandmother had been a master lacemaker in Italy and so there were trunks of lace at home. I used to offer to dust so I could play with my mother’s jewels. By my early teens I was buying clothes in op shops and dying them with the help of my father. We used my mother’s pasta pots. This was an outrageous thing to do to an Italian mother! In secondary school I did pattern making and sewing, it has always been my greatest passion. I started fashion design at RMIT University but I knew I didn’t want to be a mainstream fashion designer. At the age of 21 I started putting on fashion shows at nightclubs and ended up on the set of Future Schlock, a Valhalla film. I had found my tribe!

I’m proud of lots of bits of many projects. I’m amazed by what I was able to produce on a shoestring budget for Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries. I’m proud that it has achieved such a massive international following and still entertains people after 10 years.

4. Vanessa Cerne

Art Department

Vanessa Cerne headshot.As production designer, Vanessa recently wrapped filming on feature film Run Rabbit Run, and her credits as set decorator include Shantaram, Relic, Predestination, Beaconsfield, The Leftovers, Partisan and Winchester, which was nominated for a 2018 AACTA Award for Best Production Design.

I was drawn to my role as designer in the industry because of the ability to express and contribute conceptually and visually to the telling of a story. To collaborate with directors, other like-minded professionals and the art dept team is such a rewarding creative process.

The project I’m particularly proud of is my latest. I have just finished designing the Australian film Run Rabbit Run. Written by the acclaimed author Hannah Kent and directed by Daina Reid, the film is a female driven thriller starring Sarah Snook. In terms of design, to devise concepts and create such diverse detailed environments for the film’s complex female characters and to be part of a project that was so female inspired and employed some of the most talented female crew was a highlight. 

5. Christine Cheung

Editing

Christine Cheung headshot.Editor Christine Cheung grew up in Sydney watching a healthy blend of Eat-carpet and Bill Collins' Golden Years of Hollywood. Her career started as the work-experience/part-time cleaner at a post facility where she was able to sit in with many generous editors. After the usual odd-jobs she began her editing career as an assistant editor on the films such as Happy Feet, Australia, Animal Kingdom, and The Great Gatsby. Moving into the Editing seat, Christine has cut the film festival-selected shorts Red Rover; Shiloh; Chicken; and You and Me, Before and After, as well as television shows First Day and Parent Up, and films The Greenhouse and Nekrotronic. First Day was also the recipient of the Rose d’Or Award for best Children and Youth Series, GLAAD Media Award and an International Emmy for Kids: Live Action. She has most recently worked on APHIDS' latest project, Destiny (2021), a moving-image work made in collaboration with on-demand or 'gig economy' workers.

As a child I would often spend my Sundays watching old movies on TV. I also used to draw a lot, so at one point I also thought I might become an animator. I loved watching the Wonderful World of Disney and especially behind-the-scenes, like how they rotoscope, did in-between work, or how they layered glass plates for backgrounds. Eventually when I began doing work experience and TAFE, I realised that out of all the other disciplines editing is what I thought making movies was like in my head - which is putting the pieces together to make what it finally looks like.

[A particular project that was a highlight is] First Day because I was really part of the collaboration with the team, and it won some awards that I'm proud of. The team also created this project with such heart that it was an honour to do it.

6. Nicci Dillon

Location Department

Nicci Dillon Nicci Dillon
Since starting out in the location department on TV series Rush in 2010, Nicci has worked as a location scout, on-set location manager and location manager across Australia. Nicci’s extensive credits as Location Manager include TV series and mini-series such as Gallipoli, The Beautiful Lie, Offspring, Mustangs FC, The Doctor Blake Mysteries, The Cry, Bloom, Hungry Ghosts, RFDS, Clickbait, and upcoming MaveriX, as well as features Holding the Man, The Dry, Nitram and upcoming Blueback.

I think locations chose me if I’m honest. It was the first department I worked in and I just love what I do. The challenge of finding that perfect location is like an adrenaline surge and you just can’t rest until you’ve got it. We find that uncredited but so important character that silently adds a supporting role to a show.  We get to go into amazing places and meet incredible people on our journey. Locations is where the real world and the creative worlds collide and you need to be constantly on your game. I absolutely love my job.

It is hard to pick a particular project to single out as ’the one". I take pride in all of them and each have a special place in my heart.

7. Angie Higgins

Editing

Angie Higgins Angie Higgins
In a career spanning three decades, Angie Higgins has worked across genres ranging from relationship dramas like Secret Life Of Us, to police procedurals like Rush, acclaimed children’s television like Mustangs FC, and evocative supernatural drama Glitch. Angie commenced her career as an assistant editor on the landmark Australian drama The Flying Doctors, and became an editor on iconic serial Neighbours in the mid-90s. Since then, Angie has edited on more than twenty television series, including Stingers, Offspring, The Doctor Blake Mysteries, Five Bedrooms, The Gloaming, Mustangs FC, RFDS and NBCU series La Brea. Angie was nominated for an Australian Screen Editors Guild award for her work on the mini-series Molly and nominated for an AACTA Award in 2021 for The Newsreader.

When I finished High School, my highest grades were in English, and English Literature. I LOVED the art of storytelling, but wasn’t sure what career would best suit this.  I was all set to go to university to study journalism, but was offered a trainee job as an assistant editor at Crawford Productions. So I deferred from uni to give it a go, and have never looked back. I loved it… and still do.

Choosing a project I’m most proud of is like choosing my favourite child… but I’d have to say that The Newsreader certainly springs to mind. The reason why is because it was a project that had everything. Great scripts by the brilliant Michael Lucas, incredible director Emma Freeman, awesome cast and crew, and a top post team, with my fellow editor Julie-Anne De Ruvo being an absolute pleasure to collaborate with. Not to mention the lovely (producer) Jo Werner who kept the ship sailing through a Covid shit storm. It was just the perfect combination of everything.

8. Cappi Ireland

Costume Department

Cappi Ireland headshot.Award-winning costume designer Cappi Ireland’s work includes recent television series Love Me, FIRES, and New Gold Mountain, as well as features such as the action-adventure fantasy Mortal Kombat, adaptation The Dry, Rachel Griffiths’ directorial debut Ride Like a Girl, and Lion, for which she received an AACTA Award, an APDG Award and a nomination for Excellence in Contemporary Film at the 19th Costume Designers Guild Awards (USA). Additional TV credits include Glitch, Seven Types of Ambiguity, Newton’s Law, Barracuda, Gallipoli, and The Slap, while Cappi’s other work in features includes Balibo, I Frankenstein, Cut Snake, The Mule, The Rover, Animal Kingdom, and Oranges and Sunshine. Cappi has received seven AFI/AACTA nominations, and three AFI/AACTA wins for aforementioned Lion (2017), as well as The Tender Hook (2008) and The Home Song Stories (2007).

Having grown up in a creative household with a mother who was an artist, grandmother a seamstress and fashion designer uncle, the screen industry seemed a natural progression. My parents were big film festival patrons and I was also into the arts with music, dance and drama as a child and young adult. When I started my long university journey (I have two arts degrees from La Trobe University and Melbourne University) I also started working part time for a well-known costume designer who had a hire business as well as working in film & TV, so I have never really known any other profession: costume always felt like the right place for me to be.

My biggest job in recent years was Mortal Kombat where I was able to create and build from scratch amazing characters in speciality costumes. It was challenging and scary at times but incredibly rewarding and I learnt so much. I think my proudest moment was when the die-hard MK fans gave their stamp of approval – this meant more than peer industry acknowledgement as they are the harshest critics.

9. Karen Johnson

Editing

Karen Johnson Karen Johnson
Karen Johnson has edited more than 40 projects since gaining her first editing credit on an episode of Ocean Girl in 1995. Spanning various genres and formats, Karen’s editing work has included Ivan Sen’s debut feature Beneath Clouds, feature Griff the Invisible, television documentaries First Australians and Australia in Colour, and feature docs The Last Impresario, Firestarter, She Who Must Be Loved, Under the Volcano, Ithaka, and Ghosthunter, which Karen won the AACTA Award for Best Editing in a Documentary for in 2018.

I was drawn to editing initially because I love small dark rooms – ha no really it’s because I am OBSESSED with storytelling and the edit room is ground zero of where great stories are made.

A project I have worked on which I’m proud of is actually the one I’m just finishing, it’s a feature doco called Ithaka and it’s about a family’s fight to save Julian Assange. It has been by far the most difficult film I have ever worked on, both because of the sheer complexity of the subject matter but also the epic amounts of observational footage there was to wade through. My goal was to make the family’s journey relatable on a human level to each and every one of us but also to allow the film to "just be itself”, despite the huge weight that the subject matter and preconceived ideas placed on it. I feel like I did my best to achieve that.

10. Jacinta Leong

Art Department

An AACTA Award-nominated Production Designer for her work on the recent sci-fi feature film 2067 (currently streaming on Netflix), Jacinta is also a multi-award winning Art Director, having been recognised by both the APDG (Australian Production Design Guild) and ADG (Art Director’s Guild) for her work, which over the years has included local TV and features, and major studio films such as Shang Chi, Alien: Covenant, Pirates of the Caribbean 5, Unbroken, The Great Gatsby, Hacksaw Ridge and Mad Max: Fury Road. Watch time-lapse footage of these mammoth sets being constructed on Jacinta’s YouTube here

In high school, I was interested in the subject "Geometrical Drawing and Perspective"; I was also interested in theatre performance. This combination influenced me to study architecture with the aim of becoming a theatre set designer. As it turned out, my path changed course to the screen industry. However, design is applied to all arenas of the performing arts - theatre, film, television; many crew find themselves in all different areas of the entertainment industry.

Oof - do I have to mention only one? I was immensely proud of the Art Dept of 2067, filmed in Adelaide. The crew were exceedingly resourceful, working so creatively to achieve a unique look to support the storytelling. I learn something on every project, and I'm always proud of what I do for a living. I'm so lucky to work with talented collaborators, striving together for a common goal. They inspire me.

11. Vanessa Loh

Costume Department

Brisbane/Meanjin-born Vanessa Loh is a costume designer who works on projects nationally and internationally. She is drawn to drama, but has experience working in comedic narratives as well. As a first generation Chinese-Australian, Vanessa is deeply invested in broadening her understanding of, and ability to work within narratives that explore the intersections between identity, race, gender and sexuality particularly Asian, Queer, and marginalised identities. Credits include: 5-part digital series All My Friends Are Racist, Aquarius Film’s The Unusual Suspects, Ivan Sen’s neo noir Loveland, Every Cloud’s SeaChange, feature film Streamline, the critically-acclaimed series Safe Harbour, Netflix series LunaticsThe Second, Hoodlum's Australia Day, Secrets & Lies, multiplatform series SLiDE, ABC iview 5-part digital series Deadlock, Jungle, Ivan Sen’s Goldstone and Mystery Roadand the Channel 7 TV series Wanted.

I have always been fascinated by the psychology of clothing - the way we choose to dress highlights how we are seeking to communicate ourselves to the world. Costume designing gives the opportunity to delve into characters and explore and communicate unique narratives with each new project. I also really value its highly collaborative nature. I love the research and ideation of characters, working closely with key creatives and actors to realise authentic ideas for costume designs. My job is essentially a study into, and an unpacking of, people and humanity through dress.

There are so many favourite projects! I always really value working on Ivan Sen’s films, he is a film auteur. But the project that continues to come to mind is SBS mini-series Safe Harbour, Directed by Glendyn Ivin. It was such a privilege and joy to work with Glendyn and the creative team. The project itself was an important milestone in Australian television, representing the experience of refugees/asylum seekers to Australia. The series was a timely opportunity to educate a broader audience on this important political issue. I am proud of the costumes we created, with the aim to highlight both sides of the story grounded in reality.

12. Bryony Marks

Music

Bryony Marks headshot.In 2019, composer Bryony Marks won AACTA Awards in two categories – for Best Original Score in a Documentary with 2040, and Best Original Score in Television for Lambs of God. In 2017, Bryony also won a Screen Music Award for her composition on TV series Barracuda. Bryony’s other credits include TV series Frayed, Everything’s Going to Be Okay, Mustangs FC, Dance Academy, Please Like Me, Hawke and Cloudstreet, and features Berlin Syndrome, A Month of Sundays, Noise and Felony, amongst others.

Bryony was busy working on a commission during the writing of this piece, however as she told Inside Film here, “I am drawn to projects which move me… and which speak to the human condition in all its crazy glory. There’s no one subject, genre, sub or dominant culture that particularly resonates for me. My favourite projects have shared an element of authenticity, of honesty, expressed in manifold ways.”

Bryony told Screen News her “favourite projects have been Cloudstreet, Noise and Please Like Me”. These three projects also have a commonality – they were directed by frequent creative collaborator (and also husband) Matthew Saville.

Read more about Bryony’s process and work in Inside Film here

13. Helen McGrath

Sound Department

Boom operator Helen McGrath has 50 credits spanning back to the early 2000s, including feature films The Dry, Angel of Mine, Brother’s Nest, Holding the Man, Partisan and award-winning work on Winchester. Television credits include Wilfred, The Slap, Please Like Me, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Wentworth, Mustangs FC, How to Stay Married, Five Bedrooms, Clickbait and upcoming ABC/Netflix series MaveriX.

I studied Film and Media at uni but by the time I had moved from Brisbane to Adelaide I had begun to immerse myself in all things radio and rock and roll. I presented on air, conducted interviews and did years of production, editing and writing promotional material. I also organised gigs and managed bands. I then moved to Melbourne and started flirting with the idea of melding my audio/ radio interests with my degree in film so looked to the local film industry.

I’m genuinely proud of the many shows I’ve worked on from original SBS comedy Wilfred to ABC’s The Slap. One of my proudest achievements was winning an ASSG (Australian Screen Sound Guild award) for feature Winchester starring Helen Mirren. Also must mention the sense of achievement the came from working on The Dry: a physically demanding job where we hauled equipment up the side of mountains and I stood in a river up to my waist swinging my boom pole around. We knew we were doing something special and the end result was immensely rewarding.

14. Kathryn Milliss ACS

Camera Department

Kathryn Milliss headshot.A Sydney-based filmmaker and cinematographer with both drama and factual experience, Kathryn Milliss ACS’s credits as a DOP include features Careless Love and Thank God He Met Lizzie; feature documentaries I’m Wanita, Rosemary’s Way, She Who Must Be Loved and Cane Toads: The Conquest; TV documentaries The Shadow of Mary Poppins, Shane Jacobson’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? and as a shooter/director on episodes of Filthy Rich & Homeless. In October 2020 Kathryn was accredited by the Australian Cinematographers Society.

I had an art teacher who was creative and expansive and put forward the opportunity to us to make Super 8 films and I loved that. I’d come from a family of theatre and art people and my aunt was a documentary director with Screen Tasmania. She said ‘if you like doing this, you should consider doing it for a living’. So I decided at 14 that was what I was going to do. After studying at Swinburne Film School, I thought I wanted to be a director and so decided to be a clapper loader because I thought it was a good spot to perch next to the director and watch them work. I got a job straight out of film school with Geoff Burton ACS and went from job to job working with him as a clapper loader, which is how I fell in love with dramatic camera work, camera crews, the career progression, the lifestyle on set and the way that you learned from master craftsperson in a sort of apprenticeship. So I went through the ranks with Geoff: clapper loader, focus puller, operator, then DOP. I divide my work between drama and documentary. Funnily enough I’ve just started coming back to shooter/producing where I’m directing documentary, so I have come full circle to the things I wanted to do as a teenager.

One of the things about documentary – especially longitudinal documentary – is you often end up sharing credits with a lot of people because the project runs over such a long period of time and over a lot of geography ,so I’m proud of my contribution to I’m Wanita. I shot the American section of that. Others include She Who Must Be Loved, Rosemary’s Way and Forbidden Lies. I’m drawn to the story and with documentary particularly, it’s the authenticity. It’s the opportunity to catch people in real and emotional moments, while at the same time trying to make that look beautiful, doing everything on the run and doing it for the first– and mostly the only – time you’ll be able to. Not too many second chances to do things in documentary. And then trying to harness that into a film that still has a style where you control the elements you can. It’s knowing what to do at different points of production so you get the best of both worlds: you get the strong visuals and you get the heart as well.

15. Bronte Nener

Camera Department

Bronte Nener is a Bunaba woman of the Kimberley region in Western Australia. Born and raised in South Sydney, she developed a keen interest in the art of macro photographs and surreal portrait photography. Her strong interest in the power of photography has led her driven pursuit in joining Australian camera departments to help tell Australian stories. After studying at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS), Bronte’s career starter was a seven-month trainee role on the upcoming Marvel feature film, Thor: Love and Thunder and Bronte has since been working as Camera Truck Loader on the upcoming Amazon Prime series The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart.

Ever since I can remember, my interests revolved around art. Painting, drawing, writing short stories, sculptures; you name it and I was into it. As a kid our family would go camping quite a bit and my father would stunning macro photographs of local flowers. I recall asking him how he made the flowers the sole focus of the image, and ever since then I was hooked on photography and how lighting can shift the whole focus in an image. As I grew older I thought I would pursue a career in writing, but unlike writing, my passion for images never wavered.

It wasn’t until I found my way into AFTRS, where we were shooting short films every few months, that I came to the definitive conclusion that the camera department was where I wanted to land. It made sense for me; camera teams are set in the middle of the action, and we get the honour of documenting everyone’s work to help build a visual tale.

In AFTRS, I was the cinematographer for a short documentary that focused on LGBTQIA+ pride within First Nation’s women who grew up in rural towns. This documentary felt like the first time I was a part of something that truly helped serve and educate a wider audience. I feel like, as a storyteller, it’s our duty to inform and uplift communities that don’t always hold the spotlight.

16. Sabi Paisa

Script Supervisor

Sabi Paisa’s credits range from feature films 100 Bloody Acres, Moja Vesna, and Goran Stolevski’s upcoming Of An Age to television series including Five Bedrooms, Lie With Me, Retrograde, Bloom, Get Krack!n, Secret Daughter, The Edge of the Bush, The Warriors, Brock, House Husbands, Laid and more.

Pulled from Sabi’s website:

“I grew up in one of the many prefab concrete suburbs of Bucharest, in Romania. At first I studied and trained to be an architect but an amazing opportunity and my constant curiosity about how films were made prompted me to move to Perth in Western Australia where I started my career in the film industry. I got my very first script supervision job in 2003 on a low-budget feature film. I was still finishing my BA in Media and Film in Directing. Someone from the production saw the graduation film I wrote and directed and decided to hire me on the basis my film was pretty ok, attracted government funding and won a few local awards. It was very exciting! That production opened my eyes to how important and rewarding the role of the Script Supervisor was… No book can really prepare you for the job but you definitely can’t do the job without the theory. The directing major and the editing experience helped a lot. I knew what directors needed from the scripty and I understood how the footage was going to be cut.

After working on hundreds of productions, some amazing TV shows and features, giving lectures on the subject at the Victorian College of the Arts, Open Channel and the Multicultural Hub, I am still not bored doing it. That’s because every project is unique and comes with a different set of challenges. There’s always something to learn, new technologies I need to keep an eye on and new shooting styles. There are even new styles of visual storytelling. One thing that never changes though is the need to tell a good story. And that, my friends, is why I love cinema and the reason I want to be part of this industry.”

17. Sierra Schrader

Production Department

Born in Alice Springs, Northern Territory and growing up in Port Willunga, South Australia, Sierra Schrader is a Kuku Yalanji and Guugu Yimithirr woman. Sierra is a producer and aspiring showrunner. Having completed her studies at Flinders University in 2018, she immersed herself into the film industry with multiple directors’ attachments, including on the set of Upright in Adelaide in 2018. Also in 2018, Sierra was involved with Bad Mothers with Catriona Mackenzie in Melbourne and then worked with Rachel Perkins and Blackfella films on the set of Total Control in 2019. Throughout 2019/2020, Sierra participated in the Indigenous Producers’ Program, supported by Screen Australia and the South Australian Film Corporation. In 2021, Sierra was an Associate Producer with No Coincidence Films on the Indigenous feature film We Are Still Here, a unique collaborative anthology film between Indigenous cultures and storytelling in Australia and New Zealand.

I have always had a natural moth-to-flame reaction to film. I instinctively knew that I desired to be a part of this industry from a young age. I recall writing scripts similar to Charlie's Angel's with two of my best friends, and we acted out the scenes. I have always had a natural likeness for fiction and I'm delighted that I have pursued a career in the film industry, especially being a young Indigenous filmmaker and natural storyteller. I'm happy to be a part of the new and upcoming generation to tell our stories.

My proudest work to date would be my first job as a Producer on a mini-documentary episode entitled Electric Mimili for ABC Television's Deadly Family Portraits series in 2019. It was my first taste of producing, which at the time I had to be convinced to do and found quite challenging, I am now thrilled that I pursued it.

18. Kristin Voumard

Script Supervisor

Kristin Voumard's role as a script supervisor ranges from big-budget Hollywood movies and high-rating television series to more intimate independent projects. Kristin has worked across global studio projects such as Where the Wild Things Are with Spike Jonze, Superman Returns, Pacific Rim: Uprising, Dora and the Lost City of Gold, Love and Monsters, and upcoming Young Rock. Kristin has worked on Australian features including Tomorrow, When the War Began, Love Serenade, The Daughter and Dance Academy: The Movie, as well as TV series such as Rake, A Place to Call Home, The Principal, Barracuda, Lambs of God, and upcoming MaveriX.

Watching movies all my life led me to wanting to work in the film industry. My father wrote for Homicide (1964-77) - the first car chase on Australian television. When I first started at Crawford Productions in Melbourne, there was only one female director, Catherine Millar, in the stable of a predominantly man’s world. It was a baptism of fire. Catherine earned her stripes to prove she could do the job. It’s been a hard road for female directors in Australia, but in the last three years I’ve seen a massive change in the number of women directors, although they are still the minority.

Film making is a team effort. The collegial nature of script supervising means I work with everyone on the set as well as being the editor’s eyes on set, as editors are off site and often in another country. Keeping track of story logic, maintaining the writers’ intention with the actors’ dialogue, reminding directors and DOPs of fine detail in shots, and making sure we cover every angle and cast member so no reaction shot might be missed in the pressure of the shooting day is all part of the deal. This gives the editor the material in post-production to have flexibility in storytelling. Script supervisors also liaise with costume, make up, and art department - trouble shooting and forward planning to match one shot and one scene to another while aiming for consistency and visual flow, so the audience isn't taken out of the story. I work next to the director all day noting their preferred performances and cutting orders for the editor to assemble the material shot. At the end of the day, I relay a legend to the editor and report to the production manager and stake holders about what was shot, and what was not. Production office are unsung heroes. It’s a big puzzle all shot out of order and subjected to constant change, due to pandemics and weather conditions and human foibles. Information flow, communication, supporting the crew and cast, keeping a happy environment around the director is all in the skill set of a script supervisor. I consider myself very lucky to have a job I love. We get to be a part of the story telling which is very satisfying.

It's difficult to choose just one job I’m proud of. In my early career Round The Twist (1990, 1992), an Australian children's TV series for its wonderful madness and warmth, Lantana (2001) for its poignancy about the fragility of human nature, Where the Wild Things Are (2009) for learning to think outside the box, teaching me creative processes are “wildly” varied, to hang on and go for the ride. Mr Inbetween (2018-21) for working with Nash Edgerton's relentless striving for excellence to bring a cracking drama to screen. This was a stand-out and a job I so enjoyed for the uniqueness and truth. Shang-Chi (2021) for the opportunity of working with Destin Daniel Cretton and bringing his innate message of anti-racism and sexism to the world. My role as script supervisor has meant I keep learning new skills on every job and I have worked with the best Australian and American writers, directors and editors in the world - a community of technicians who are skilled, inclusive, tolerant and inspiring in their ability to help one another. There's a lot to love about that.

19. Caitlin Yeo

Music Department

Caitlin Yeo is a multi-award-winning screen composer. In 2021, Caitlin won two AACTA Awards, for Best Original Score in both the television category for New Gold Mountain and documentary for Playing With Sharks: The Valerie Taylor Story. Caitlin has also won five APRA screen music awards for projects including The Butterfly Tree in 2018 (which won two), The Rocket (2013), Getting Frank Gehry (2016) and Bomb Harvest (2007). Caitlin’s credits include feature films Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan, The Rocket, and Standing Up for Sunny; TV series such as Wakefield, and documentaries including The Pacific in the Wake of Captain Cook with Sam Neill, David Stratton: A Cinematic LifeBomb Harvest, For The Love of Meat, After The Apology, and ABC TV series The House with Annabel CrabbListen to Caitlin's episode on the Screen Australia Podcast here.

The 'dark art' of screen composition has always allured me, however, I never thought I could make a career out of it. Whilst I spent my childhood obsessively playing film and TV themes on piano, I always thought I would end up being a scientist. When I finished school, I even started a degree in science, only to switch to music the following year.  Being a screen composer can be deeply creative, satisfying, immersive, and stressful - all at the same time! The path to becoming an established screen composer is long, and for me, it came down to accruing those screen credits, building a body of work, making sustainable business choices, and learning the subtle nuances of my craft in the infinite ways music can amplify screen stories. 

In one way or another, I am proud of all the scores I have written. Every film and TV production has a million ways you could treat the music, so I always find it an adventure to discover the right score that fits each show. Recent projects I am especially proud of are New Gold Mountain, for the fact that it taught me something about myself and my heritage, and Playing With Sharks for having the opportunity and privilege to write music to accompany the life story of Valerie Taylor and the extraordinary archival footage of her husband, Ron Taylor.

20. Anousha Zarkesh

Casting

Anousha Zarkesh has worked at Anousha Zarkesh Casting for more than 25 years, specialising in Australian TV and film. Based in Sydney, Anousha casts for a wide range of genres including political satire, drama, comedy, tele-movies, documentary series and film. Productions include: Firebite, Total Control, Preppers, Mystery Road, Black Comedy, High Ground, Grace Beside Me, Deep Water, Cleverman, The Principal, Peter Allen: Not the Boy Next Door, Rake Series 1-4, Redfern Now, INXS Never Tear Us Apart and more.

Growing up going to the theatre as a young child, waiting for the lights to go down, I was enthralled by the storytelling and drama of the stage. For a few hours I was taken into another world and moved by the actors’ performance. I couldn’t get enough. I still get excited by a film and TV shows that take me on a journey, but now I’m part of that process.  I’m so lucky to be part of an enormous team who help the director and producer’s vision on each project and in particular, privy to the incredible wealth of acting talent we have in this country. I think great storytelling, in all its forms, is very powerful and can change the way we see ourselves and transforms the way we see the world.

So hard to pick one project I’m proud of, as they were all fun to work on, but I loved casting the Redfern Now, Mystery Road and Total Control series, as well as High Ground, discovering new Indigenous actors from around Australia, who have continued to have illustrious careers. Some actors had their first breaks on these projects. I’ve loved working with talented fearless directors and producers whose hearts are in the right place and have something to say. Plus I get to travel all over the country, casting out of Arnhem Land, Torres Strait Islands, Broome, Central Desert etc. I loved casting the Rake series as well – what a hoot. It’s a bonus when an audience responds to the show and loves it so dearly.