Interview with 2016 Screen Leader Awards recipients

We asked the five recipients to share their thoughts on receiving an award, memorable advice they’ve received along the way, and insights on working in the Victorian Screen Industry.

Fiona Eagger & Deb Cox


On winning the Jill Robb Award
 I’m so delighted that Fiona and I have won this award as Every Cloud Productions. It’s lovely to have industry recognition for what we do, particularly with regard to leading the way and doing what we can to support other women. 
F. The news was a realisation that the mantle is being handed over. Even though I still feel like I have so much to learn, I also have knowledge and experience that I can share.

Early advice you received that stayed with you
 In my twenties I wrote my first independent script which I sent to Jane Campion. She sent me such a lovely, polite, prompt and encouraging postcard. That script was never produced and I never met Jane Campion but it was all I needed to keep me going. When I feel too pressed for time to answer emails from aspiring writers, I just think of that postcard!  
F.  I was fortunate to be given an incredible break by Sue Masters who offered me the opportunity to co-produce Mercury. Her advice was to give things a go, be fearless, understand you are not going to be brilliant but that’s ok because you have to learn on the job; you can only learn by making it.  Failure teaches you as much as success.
Best thing about working in Victoria
With a period drama like Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, you couldn’t make it anywhere else other than Melbourne.  The incredible architecture can’t be replicated and we have fantastic access to locations. I'm also grateful to have access to the ABC facilities in Melbourne - long may they last. 
D. We work in a very cohesive screen community and Film Victoria has always been incredibly approachable and supportive. They look for ways to help rather than creating hurdles, and acknowledge that we all have limited resources.  

What’s in store for you both over the next 12 months
 We have a huge slate in development, including the series Seven Little Australians and Deadlock and a Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries feature film. We are also in production in Victoria on our new series Newton’s Law, making the most of those ABC facilities and fabulous Melbourne locations.
D. We’re hoping all our hard work in development this past year will come home to roost over the next 12 months. The more robust Every Cloud Productions can be as a company, the more supportive we can be of other women and new talent. 

Greg McLean

On winning the Fred Schepisi Award
Very surprised. Mainly because I’m also still very much a student of my craft and working every day to try and become better at what I do. 

Early advice you received that stayed with you
When I was first getting started I wrote a letter to Paul Cox asking if he could teach me what a director does. He wrote back politely saying he didn’t have anything at that time but encouraged me to “never give up”. It would have been a 10 minute job for him to write the letter but it inspired me to continue through the years of struggle. 

Sources of inspiration
Recently I got excited about The Witch, Captain America; Civil War and The Hunt for the Wilderpeople. I also loved Stranger Things

What’s in store for you over the next 12 months
Right now I am focused on completing my feature film Jungle which will take me to the end of the year,  then I am looking for the next great story to tell! 

Alison Nisselle

On winning the Jan Sardi Award 
Absolute delight and honour because it bears Jan's name.  He’s a great writer himself and has always been a terrific fighter for his fellow writers.

Early advice you received that stayed with you
Scripts aren’t novels, they’re not written to be read. They’re meant to be seen and heard on the screen. You have to hear and visualise everything you write, and listen to your characters.

Best thing about working in Victoria
Our close community and pool of talent.  We may be the smallest mainland state, but we have the widest range of locations, within closer reach than anywhere else. 

What’s in store for you over the next 12 months
I'm writing a true life mini-series, with producers who are great to work with and a co-writer who’s become a creative soul mate – because we both love doing the research!

Ian Anderson

On winning the John Howie Award
Speechless at first but once it sunk in, I was honoured to be recognised for the small part I have played in the Victorian Industry. It’s been quite a journey!

What motivates you in your work
The amazing creative projects I saw in post production and the relationships with the film makers. It’s rewarding to see young ambitious film students blossom into professional film makers. 

Best thing about working in Victoria
Victoria was always the place I wanted to settle due to the opportunities and lifestyle it offers. The industry in Victoria is very collaborative and provides a platform for all levels of film making. The people I have met are not just clients, many of them are my good friends.

What’s in store for you over the next 12 months
That’s a mystery at the moment with the closing of DDP early next year so watch this space!