Accomplished women

Cappi Ireland

A leading costume designer dating back to the 90s, Cappi first set her foot into the industry as a freelance Costume Supervisor for the second series of ABC’s Sea Change. Since then, her prolific career saw her leaving her mark on key projects, including Lion, I, Frankenstein, Animal Kingdom and The Home Song Stories, which she took home her first AFI Award for best Costume Design in 2007.

Cappi had mentors along her journey in the industry, whom she was influenced by both professionally and personally. Having worked together for a decade, Rose Chong not only taught her the skills involved with Costume Design and the history of Costume in general, but she also taught Cappi how to interact with creatives and actors smoothly. After all, good people skills are one of the most important skills to have in the industry.

Her golden tip for aspiring fellow practitioners is to hound people to let them in on a project and find out as much as possible about a job to make their way into the industry.

Giselle Rosman

An award-winning leader in the Australian community, Giselle’s first foray into the games sector is what she describes as “blind luck” when she began working with a Melbourne games educator in 2007. Despite closures in the industry Giselle re-booted the Melbourne chapter of the International Game Developers' Association (IGDAM) in 2009 which has been connecting the game community on a monthly basis ever since.

Among a host of events Giselle has coordinated including Game Connect Asia Pacific, she has managed the Melbourne Global Game Jam (GGJ) each year since 2011. Her involvement grew from there, eventually taking up the Executive Producer role for the global events in 2016 and 2017. This has been a career highlight for Giselle.

Giselle has been with Hipster Whale since 2015 and together the company has released Crossy Road, PAC-MAN 256 in collaboration with Bandai Namco, and Disney Crossy Road with Disney (a visit to PIXAR in California proving to be an unforgettable experience).

Giselle has been key in boosting the profile and numbers of women in the sector. She is inspired by the women doing amazing things in the game space, and who support one another in their endeavours. This includes Hipster Whale President Clara Reeves, Kate Edwards (IGDA), Brenda Romero, Rhianna Pratchett and her close confidante Rebecca Fernandez who formerly ran the IGDA chapter in Sydney. 

Giselle’s advice to game developers is to support one another, seek out allies and speak up because often when things are skewed towards the male experience it's because someone just hasn't considered it from another angle.

Giula Sandler

Giula glided onto the screen scene as a trainee script editor on All Saints through an attachment program via AFTRS - taking notes in plot meetings, writing audition scenes and going through scripts to find cuts for production.

Giula’s career brims with iconic projects, starting from her first show as a scriptwriter at McLeod’s Daughters, where she learned the rigors of writing to a budget and a schedule.  Working on Love Child with Sarah Lambert proved to her that there can be so much humanity and depth of compassion in the work that they do whilst Glitch, with Lou Fox and Tony Ayres, was the perfect confluence of genre and character - a vein that Giula is at her happiest mining.

For Giula, it’s always been her fellow writers who have made her journey in the industry a highlight. In the writers’ rooms, the energy and the personalities click and the stories flow. It’s therapy, work and creativity all packed into a few days.

Giula’s words of advice for upcoming writers is to pen the things they most want to write about, without thought of production or an audience. They may not get made but they will demonstrate your voice and they will open doors to career opportunities that wouldn’t happen any other way.

Julie Eckersley

Julie had been working as an actress for about 15 years when she made the move into producing, starting her training at AFTRS. She had some great teachers but credits Robert Connolly as a stand out. His support helped Julie receive a Film Victoria internship at Matchbox Pictures with Tony Ayres and Michael McMahon who ran the office at the time. 

It was an incredible opportunity and provided a foundation to build to bigger things which have since included producing the second series of Glitch, Seasons 1 & 2 of The Family Law, Maximum Choppage, Anatomy 4 and The Turning among her many other credentials.

Julie rates her experience producing Season 2 of Glitch among her career highlights working alongside a team including Louise Fox, Tony Ayres and Emma Freeman who Julie regards as an amazing leader and director. 

She has also loved her time working on The Family Law for its warmth, quirkiness and the way it has contributed to diversity in casting and storytelling in Australia.

Julie attributes the guidance and mentorship she received from the Matchbox alumni. Alongside Tony Ayres, Michael McMahon and Chris Oliver-Taylor, Julie highlights Debbie Lee, Helen Panckhurst, Penny Chapman and Helen Bowden who all forged incredible careers while balancing other commitments.

Outside the Matchbox walls Julie credits Andy Walker as a mentor and also looks to some of the fabulous women in the industry such as Imogen Banks, Maryanne Carroll, Laura Waters and Bruna Papandrea.

To anyone starting in this industry Julie would tell them six things:

1. Be persistent
2. Think about what you can give not just what you can get
3. Be prepared to start small
4. Excel at every opportunity you are given
5. Be kind and good to work with
6. And try to keep your sense of humour. We are just making TV after all. 

Katie Gall

It was her love of games as a storytelling platform along with a desire to be a part of creating fantastical and entertaining worlds that saw Katie enter the games world.

Since then Katie has been influential in the marketing, PR and event management of major game events as one half of Lumi Consulting whilst providing support for events including Unite Melbourne, Melbourne International Games Week and Luna (Funomena).

She also runs Blushbox Collective for Australian game developers curating resources, creating events and making prototypes of games focusing on love and romance.

The value of her expertise saw her named in MCV Pacific’s 30 Under 30 and a guest speaker at GDC and PAX. 

Building and running a successful and profitable business has been a deep source of pride for Katie. She’ll never forget the first time when the business could afford to buy staff new computers.

Katie sees her business partner Lauren as a role model alongside women like Brenda Romero and Robin Hunicke whose intellect, charisma and fierce passion for gaming has withstood many changes in the industry and shown Katie that it’s ok to be confident and say so.

Katie is a maelstrom of ideas swirling around just waiting for the right times. In 10 years she’d like to have several successful businesses and be creating unique experiences for players and people with an amazing team around her that she’s constantly learning from.

Kath Chambers

Kath began working in the Film Industry in Melbourne after finishing her degree at what was then known as the Swinburne Film and TV School.

Her first gig out of film school was operating the camera on a collection of short films made by women at The Women’s Film Unit.

Soon after Kath undertook an attachment with filmmaker and DOP David Parker.

She went on to work with Parker over many years on projects like The Big Steal, Rikky and Pete, Child Star - The Shirley Temple Story and most recently on Kath and Kimderella.

Over the years, while raising her kids, Kath has undertaken second unit work for DP’s including Brendan Lavelle ACS, Jaems Grant ACS and Craig Barden ACS.

Kath worked with Craig as his B camera operator and second unit DP for the first three seasons of Wentworth until 2015 when she took over as DP.

In early 2017 Kath shot the 13 part series Mustangs FC for Matchbox Pictures and the ABC.

She is currently shooting Series 6 of Wentworth for Foxtel and FremantleMedia.

Kath believes persistence is key when you are starting out. Keep at it, be brave, be bold and be imaginative.

Lauren Clinnick

Lauren’s career in the games sector came about by her strong need to work independently in a field that values creativity and technology.

As Co-creator of Lumi Consulting, Lauren has supported events including Unite Melbourne, Luna (Funomena) and Melbourne International Games Week. She credits this success to the support and care from co-founder Katie and together they’ve found the perfect personal and professional match.

The ‘wow’ moments for Lauren are the times she speaks at industry conferences and is considered a peer by skilled and kind colleagues. Named amongst MCV Pacific’s 30 Under 30 Lauren is a mentor to other female founders outside the games industry. Hearing from women, gender diverse and LGBT folks who are encouraged by Lumi’s success fills Lauren with determination.

Being an Australian employer in the games sector is important to Lauren and she feels right at home in the games sector.  She’s inspired by teams that evoke new ways for players to experience something - particularly projects that focus on positive emotions and nonviolence that make the world a slightly kinder place.

Maggie Miles

Maggie had been producing film and writing and directing theatre in the Northern Territory for 12 years prior to her transition to long-form drama. Her projects took her right across the Top End, often to remote communities. As a member of production company Burrundi Pictures Maggie was involved in helping to create Yothu Yindi’s early film clips, Treaty, Djapana and Tribal Voice, and the company was a co-producing entity on the feature Yolngu Boy which Maggie was closely involved in. 

Maggie’s first feature was Van Diemen’s Land, an experience she refers to as a genuine team effort on a physically and psychologically demanding project.  She recalls the incredible drive amongst the team headed by director Jonathan auf der Heide and co-writer and lead actor Oscar Redding. Shot by Ellery Ryan Maggie loved every second of producing this challenging film.

Every project since then has involved a challenging element, which is a key reason Maggie chooses them. She credits the moment Robert Connolly asked her to produce The Turning with him as a true turning point. The project saw Maggie produce five of the chapters as well as the overall feature and one vivid memory is squeezing in one more scene on the final day of a punishing week’s shoot. Maggie highlights Rose Byrne’s professionalism and talent which pulled the crew through and earned her an AACTA Award for her performance as Rae.  

Another highlight for Maggie was at the Berlinale Gala screening of The Turning when Robert Connolly fetched her from the audience to acknowledge her contribution to the project.  Walking down the steps of a gloriously opulent cinema, in the spotlight, on the arm of Festival Director Dieter Kosslick is a memory Maggie is unlikely to forget in a hurry.

Marcia Gardner

Marcia scored her first gig in the industry when the short film script she sent to the Producers of Paradise Beach saw her hired as a storyliner. She has since been influential in composing scripts for WentworthThe Doctor Blake Mysteries, Sea Patrol and Stingers among others. 

Marcia’s contribution to Wentworth and Stingers saw the projects win two AFI/AACTA awards for Best TV Drama. She also took home the Australian Writers’ Guild Hector Crawford Award for Outstanding Contribution to the craft as Script Producer.

Marcia recalls the valuable support she received from Stingers Producer John Wild who encouraged her to step up to the leadership role of Script Producer on their show.

For the aspiring filmmaker women out there, Marcia suggests getting an entry level position on a show and soak up as much as possible.  Passion and persistence will surely be rewarded.

Naomi Cleaver

When Naomi used to skip school to go on cinema-crawls on her own, she was onto something beyond rebellious teenage streaks. The pure joy of watching movies and immersing herself in the alternative worlds has remained with her ever since.

Naomi’s key projects include her first television drama The Gift, The Secret Life of Us, Hawke and co-production feature, The Longest Shot. She considers Oddball as her career highlight - not only because it is a wonderful family film but also because she could experience its screening with her two daughters who loved it.

Outside the film industry, Naomi’s role models are the incredibly bright, strong and hilarious women and Elders in the family, who never cease to amaze her with their accomplishments.

Viewing her career as a marathon rather then a sprint, Naomi aims to keep producing films that have a positive impact on the audience and make them laugh, cry and question. She is also very keen to foster and encourage the next round of amazing film makers.  

Naomi Mulholland

Naomi has always been interested in film and television and, after what she describes as some terribly embarrassing efforts in front of the camera, decided she’d prefer to be behind it.

The decision was a good one, with Naomi leaving her mark on many acclaimed Australian productions including Wentworth and Rush as well as international projects, Ghost Rider and HBO’s The Pacific. In 2014 she produced an award winning short film, The Kingdom of Doug, and two years later, the ABC sketch comedy series You’re Skitting Me.

Naomi counts Wentworth as her most challenging and satisfying project to date. A particular stunt involving a prison transport van crashing into a body of water was a massive undertaking with months of preparation, lots of additional personnel and equipment and a number of shooting days. 

Another highlight was working on Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark with Guillermo Del Toro who Naomi credits as having an incredible mind. 

Naomi feels fortunate to have collaborated with many amazing Australian and international talent. She’s learnt so much from everyone she’s worked with along the way, with a special nod to her writing partner Victoria Thaine with whom she’s currently developing a number of film and television ideas.

Naomi hopes to continue to be a driving force in the screen industry, bringing Australian stories to the international stage. She’s especially interested in co-productions with France and China.

Robyn Butler

Since youth, being a writer and a comic performer came naturally to Robyn. After a few years of live comedy and theatre, Robyn started getting bits of television work and adapted the skills she had developed for the screen.

After some time, Robyn realised that the combination of producing and directing would give her the power to control the stories she wanted to tell. The result has seen a string of successful projects to Robyn’s name including The Librarians, Very Small Business, Little Lunch, Now Add Honey and Upper Middle Bogan which was adapted for the US market – a moment Robyn reflects on as a special opportunity for Gristmill to speak to entirely different audiences.

Though she was raised not to see herself as prohibited by being a woman, Robyn grew up with very few female writers, producers, directors and actors to look up to in the industry and it took some time for her to understand that she could do all of those things.

She highlights on-screen influences including Lucille Ball, French and Saunders and Emma Thompson who all had a great effect on Robyn.

Robyn’s advice to women is to be tenacious, audacious, generous and upset the paradigm. Listen and learn from notes, seek a second opinion and remember that people will be making decisions based on what they know - which may be limited. Never underestimate people’s lack of imagination and know that you can work very hard to change someone’s mind. Be prepared to fight with a smile - that applies to all genders. Don’t give in and don’t give up. If you have a story to tell, know that if you are determined then you will make it.

Rosie Jones

Rosie has always had a deep love of narrative. Starting out as a journalist, she began screenwriting and soon realized that she needed a deeper understanding of production. This morphed into a year of film school, more than 20 years of editing and then directing – mostly documentaries. Rosie’s key focus throughout was to tell great stories. It saw her create four documentaries for television and then her first feature documentary, The Triangle Wars (2011), about a contentious development on the iconic and much-loved St Kilda foreshore.

This was followed by another feature documentary, The Family (2016) about a notorious Australian cult and the scars its survivors still bear to this day. Directing The Family was simultaneously the most difficult and rewarding experience for Rosie.  A complex story involving complex people meant Rosie was constantly navigating the delicate balance between telling a strong story and respecting the lives of the people she was interviewing. She sees the experience as a huge learning curve but an incredible privilege.

Role models are too numerous to mention for Rosie who has become a great influencer in the field herself. Her advice to others: be persistent, take risks, trust your instincts and don’t step on too many toes as it’s a very small industry.

Philippa Campey

As a devoted film lover and a passionate producer of tales that reflect and challenge our culture and society, Philippa moved to Melbourne for a Master of Arts degree in Communications at RMIT. Her initial plan was to study the industry and policy side of things but she ended up loving the production courses, so she set off on that path instead.

Philippa’s career saw early success with her first funded production Clara – a short animated film which won a prize in competition in Cannes. She considers her feature documentary about Jack Charles, Bastardy, as one of her most memorable projects because of the impact the film has had on Jack’s life. Her debut feature drama Galore by Rhys Graham also resonates because of the unique setting, the creative team collaboration and its international premiere at Berlinale.

Aside from all of her close creative collaborations with the writers and directors she works with, Philippa is very proud to have been awarded Screen Producers Australia’s Independent Producer of the Year Award (2008) and Film Victoria’s Greg Tepper Award (2009) along with being a recipient of the Natalie Miller Fellowship - Film Victoria Women in Leadership Development (2016), and the NMF Brilliant Careers Program (2017).

Sue Maslin has been a role model for Philippa with her dedication to the craft of film producing and commitment to developing the next generations of female filmmakers. Sue was the first producer Philippa worked for and the duo still collaborate on projects.

Philippa’s suggestion to women seeking a career in the industry is to say yes to opportunities, be brave, be generous to people and remember the privilege of being a storyteller.

Sue Maslin

Sue never sought a career, instead her intention was to tell great stories about ideas that mattered. Her career grew naturally from there and over time Sue started to consciously shape its direction.

Sue produced iconic Australian features including The Dressmaker, Japanese Story, Road to Nhill, and documentaries Michael Kirby - Don't Forget The Justice Bit, The Edge of The Possible and Mr. Neal Is Entitled To Be An Agitator.

The Dressmaker grossed more than $20 million at the box office and garnered the highest number of nominations at the 2015 Australian Academy Awards, winning five including the coveted People's Choice Award for Favorite Australian Film. It proved that there was a commercial audience for films made by and about women in Australia.

Sue’s words of advice… don't do it alone. Build a support base of creative collaborators, mentors, an industry network and hopefully a supportive family. With these in place, follow your dreams and never forget that you are only as successful as your ability to connect with audiences.

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