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Julie Kalceff (Common Language Films)

Julie Kalceff

Common Language Films

Julie Kalceff is an award-winning writer, director, and producer best known for writing, directing and co-producing the television series First Day. This ground-breaking story of a 12-year-old transgender girl starting high school has sold to multiple territories worldwide including the UK (CBBC) and the US (Hulu). First Day won the prestigious Rose d'Or Award for Best Children and Youth Series in 2020; First Prize in the Live Action Television Category at the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival; and the ATOM Award for Best Children’s Television Program. First Day was nominated for the AACTA Award for Best Children’s Program in 2020, and Julie was nominated for Best Screenplay in Television. The series is nominated for two 2021 Kidscreen Awards.

Prior to this, Julie wrote, directed, and produced the international hit digital drama series Starting From Now. Attracting critical and popular acclaim, it is one of the most watched web series in the world — amassing over 160 million views in 230 countries. The series also sold to and played on broadcast television in Australia.

Julie is the founder and director of the Sydney-based production company Common Language Films. She has helped raise public awareness around the lack of diversity on screen and has paved the way by embedding diverse characters in stories with broad appeal.

Richard Jasek

Richard Jasek

Richard Jasek is a leading screen director whose work straddles both drama and documentary. His television drama credits include City Homicide, McLeod's Daughters, Neighbours, Heartbreak High, Blue Heelers, Stingers, Home & Away, Something in the Air, All Saints and The Secret Life of Us. Richard was also a Producer of the 7 Network’s primetime police drama: City Homicide, and Executive Producer of one of the longest-running serial dramas in the world, Neighbours.

Richard’s passion for arts and sciences is evident in his documentary work, including science biopics Driven to Diffraction (2008), Microbes to Macrobes (2011) and Getting Their Acts Together (ABC, 2020). Richard won an Australian Director’s Guild award for his documentary Making A Mark (Adelaide Film Festival, 2017), which follows a selection of emerging artists as they vie for the inaugural Ramsay Art Prize, valued at $100,000.

A recognised lecturer, Richard has taught at organisations including the AFTRS, Flinders University, Griffith University, University of Southern Queensland, and Britain’s National Film School - and serves on boards and committees of arts and philanthropic organisations including The James and Diana Ramsay Foundation, the Adelaide Film Festival, and The Helpmann Academy.

Kirsty Stark

Kirsty Stark

Kirsty Stark is a Producer at Epic Films and Development Producer at Matchbox Pictures, running their South Australian office.

She has worked in the film industry for the past decade, initially as a freelance camera assistant and cinematographer before moving into production in 2012.

Kirsty’s recent work includes co-producing the multiple award-winning television show Stateless with Matchbox Pictures, and producing the hugely-successful, award-winning Epic Films First Day series, both for the ABC. Her other credits as Producer include Goober, Unboxed and Wastelander Panda: Exile for ABC iview, First Day for ABC ME and the feature film A Month of Sundays.

Kirsty has presented at SXSW and TEDxAdelaide. Epic Films was named the Screen Producers Australia "Breakthrough Business of the Year" in 2016.

Gena Ashwell (Dancing Road Productions)

Gena Ashwell

Dancing Road Productions

Gena Ashwell is a British/Australian creative producer, with over 20 years’ experience in the industry. Gena started at Pinewood Studios UK working on iconic television shows including My Family, The Weakest Link, Only Fools and Horses and Survivor. She then took on a range of production roles, working for a variety of companies and talent. In between production work she produced and project managed international large-scale projects for companies such as BP, Accenture, Barclays Bank and Celgene, winning an excellence award for her work at Celgene. Attracted to creative entrepreneurship, she decided to focus on producing, gaining experience with a number of executive producers and producers on feature film projects across development, financing and sales, including 4321 with Emma Roberts for Universal. At just 24 she produced her first low budget feature film Bad Day, which GQ magazine called “the most superior Brit cop film in recent history” and which was selected for a range of festivals. She then produced Gridiron UK which sold to Screen Media in the US. On relocating to Australia, Gena partnered with one of Australia’s most experienced producers Helen Leake AM to form dancing road productions.

Gena was selected for the South Australian Film Corporation’s Gender Agenda program to be mentored by one of the most experienced independent producers in the business, Cassian Elwes (Mudbound, Lawless, The Butler), based in his Los Angeles office. Back in Australia she undertook another mentorship with Angus Clunies Ross (Head of Sales for Sony Pictures Releasing). In 2018 she was selected by Screen Australia and Creative Content Australia as one of three mid-career producers to attend the 2018 International Movie Convention to meet with all the major international film studios. Dancing road productions is an IP creation company and has built a strong international slate of projects and partners. Gena is chair of Mercury CX, a centre of excellence for talent and story.

Rebecca Summerton (Producer at Closer Productions)

Rebecca Summerton

Producer at Closer Productions

Rebecca is a producer and is co-owner of the award-winning screen production company Closer Productions. Her feature film credits include break out low budget feature 52 Tuesdays, which won the directing award for World Cinema at Sundance and the Crystal Bear at Berlinale, and feature documentary Sam Klemke’s Time Mchine which premiered at Sundance and in Official Selection at HotDocs and Rotterdam. Her most recent feature, Animals, is an official Irish/Australian co-production based on the acclaimed novel, which premiered at Sundance 2019.

For television, Rebecca has made numerous documentaries including Dendy Award-winning I Want to Dance Better at Parties and 3-part Arts series Hannah Gadsby's Oz. Her television drama credits include the 6-part online series F*!#ing Adelaide, which premiered at Series Mania and was the most watched ABC iView Original in 2018. She also produced The Hunting, a 4 x 1 hour drama series which premiered on SBS Television in August 2019 and was SBS’ most successful commissioned drama ever. Rebecca has just completed post-production on Aftertaste a new 6 x 30 comedy drama for the ABC which will premiere on ABC TV on 3 February 2021.

Anton Andreacchio (Entrepreneur)

Anton Andreacchio


Anton Andreacchio is the co-founder of creative industries companies Convergen, Jumpgate VR and Artisan Post Group. Working across infrastructure visualisation, film and television post-production, VR training and contemporary art projects, Anton has co-produced works that have been featured at the Venice Biennale, Sundance Film Festival and SxSW. In 2015, Anton worked with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra to produce what became the first virtual reality symphony concert in the world, and continues to support South Australian arts organisations to explore the potential of new technology. Anton also serves on the Entrepreneurship Advisory Board of South Australia, Adelaide Film Festival Board, ACE Open Board and University of Adelaide Creativity and Culture Advisory Board.

Carolyn Johnson (Producer)

Carolyn Johnson


Carolyn Johnson is an award-winning producer of documentaries and dramas.

Her films include Tanna which was nominated for an Academy Award® in 2017. Carolyn’s films have won awards and screened in festivals throughout the world including Venice, Berlin, Busan, London, Hong Kong, Rotterdam, and many others.

Carolyn’s credits include A Sense of Self, A Law Unto Himself, Stumbling in Hillary’s Footsteps, First Footprints, Son of a Lion, and The Last Goldfish.

Carolyn is the Australian Producer of Life in Colour.

Ian Murray (Founder of 113 Partners)

Ian Murray

Founder of 113 Partners

Ian founded 113 Partners in 2012. 113 Partners is a strategic advisory firm that assists businesses in the creative industries to grow, seek investment, and realise their value. They are strategic advisers to Australia’s most cutting-edge creative businesses and bring a wealth of insights, access to strategic partnerships, and on the ground experience to their clients.

Ian is an experienced, hands-on media expert who has had senior executive roles in both public and private businesses including COO of the branded content business Brand New Media and COO of the television production company Freehand Productions.

He uses his in-depth commercial experience to assist creative businesses to plan robust and achievable strategies to achieve domestic and international growth, financial stability, sustainable resourcing, and streamlined operations. He has advised many of Australia’s top television production, broadcast, music, design, advertising, media and entertainment companies as well as working directly with several government agencies.

Ian sits on numerous advisory boards and has a passion for all things digital.

Jack Sheridan (Laneway Pictures)

Jack Sheridan

Laneway Pictures

Jack Sheridan graduated with Honours (First Class) in Screen Studies, after studying Theatre and Film in Australia and the USA. Following two darkly cinematic short dramas (SCHISM, SOLIPSIS), Jack established his reputation with genre bending psychological thriller DAY DREAMS, for which he was awarded the SAFC's $50 000 Filmmaker of the Future Award.

Since then Jack has directed many dramatic and commissioned works and won a number of awards for his films, which have screened internationally. His next ambitious short drama YURI SHIMA drew on his mixed Asian heritage in a magical realist re-imagining of an ancient Japanese fairy tale. The film's unique combination of romance and surreal VFX led to directing work at several major production companies around Australia.

Jack's most recent short INJURY TIME stars Australian icon David Field. The high concept narrative is told in real-time in one continuous shot. The short represents his growing fascination with high-concept stories mixing the thriller and drama genres.

Jack is currently developing a slate of feature projects, including a full-length version of the thriller INJURY TIME.

Laneway Pictures was formed to cater to the unique demand in Adelaide for a boutique production company that provides clients with high production values on a budget.

Jack works with professional personnel according to the demands and budget of each production.

Additional Speakers (Mercury CX)

Additional Speakers

Mercury CX

Additional speakers will participate in a number of the sessions.

All presenters and guest speakers mentioned are currently confirmed, however, due to the nature of the screen industry and Covid restrictions all presenters are subject to change should the need arise. Any changes will be communicated with participants.

Karena Slaninka (CEO of Mercury CX)

Karena Slaninka

CEO of Mercury CX

Mercury CX CEO Karena Slaninka has an extensive background working in Australia and the UK in television, documentary and screen industry development, including almost a decade as head of Screen Tasmania.

As a creative producer, script developer and senior executive, Karena is known as a creative and transformative force, with distinctive vision and strong leadership skills. She blends business and producing skills with strong creative flair, having produced or worked on hundreds of hours of television. As an industry executive she has facilitated approximately $300 million worth of production on feature films and TV series.

Nationally, she has extensive experience in revitalising key industry organisations including the Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC) where as Chair of the Board and Acting CEO, she rebuilt the flagging organisation and reimagined it as the commercially robust and internationally renowned organisation it is today.

Her passion for creative development of authentic and diverse stories has been a common thread through her roles since her time as a Senior Development and Production Executive at Screen NSW and as a creator and producer.

In her position as the Head of Screen Tasmania she effectively kick-started the sector in the state, driving industry development and facilitating finance for the production of local shows such as the ABC’s Rosehaven and the multi-award winning The Kettering Incident, whilst attracting Hollywood productions including Dreamworks’ Light Between Oceans, and The Hunter starring Willem Dafoe.

Kelly Schilling (Development and Production Executive at Mercury CX)

Kelly Schilling

Development and Production Executive at Mercury CX

Kelly Schilling is an Australian screenwriter, director and AFTRS graduate. Two of her screenplays were produced in the Network-Nine television series Two Twisted – a series produced by Aussie film Icon Bryan Brown. Kelly directed one of these episodes, and has also directed a mix of film and TVCs. Kelly has completed attachments with internationally-renown director Phillip Noyce on his feature film Catch a Fire, and on television shows Neighbours, McLeod’s Daughters and Home and Away.

In 2015, Kelly was a finalist in the American Gem Screenplay Competition, was short-listed for the prestigious Chesterfield Writer’s Film Project and was a semi-finalist in the renown Bluecat Screenwriting competition. She has won a mix of awards for her screenwriting and her films, including the ‘best screenplay’ award at the prestigious St. Kilda Film Festival for her short film Kind of Man. This film also garnered her a ‘best drama’ win and a ‘best director’ nomination at the South Australian Screen Awards. The ADG recently chose Kelly to be a participant in MIFF’s 37 South ‘Accelerator’ program and placed her in its ‘Gender Matters’ shadow directing program. Kelly recently wrote an episode of the ABC/Netflix children’s television show MaveriX, and is in development on her feature project With or Without You with producer Su Armstrong attached (Good Will Hunting, Red Dog etc.) Kelly is also an experienced teacher in film and television and has taught at TAFE SA and RMIT in Melbourne.

Jocelyn Moorhouse

Jocelyn Moorhouse

Jocelyn’ first feature film PROOF had its world premiere in Director’s Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival in 1991. The film screened at numerous international film festivals, and won the Sutherland Trophy by the British Film Institute, Critic’s Choice Award at Sao Paulo International Film Festival and Bronze Award at Tokyo International Film Festival.

In 1994 Jocelyn moved to Los Angeles to direct HOW TO MAKE AN AMERICAN QUILT and A THOUSAND ACRES (1997). She works closely with her husband PJ Hogan and was producer on his films MURIEL’S WEDDING, UNCONDITIONAL LOVE, PETER PAN and MENTAL.

In 2012 she returned to Australia and directed her first stage play, SEX WITH STRANGERS by Laura Eason at the Sydney Theatre Company. In 2015 Jocelyn wrote and directed THE DRESSMAKER which premiered at Toronto Film Festival. Among other awards, the film received 13 AACTA nominations, winning in 4 categories as well as receiving the People’s Choice Award for Favourite Australian Film.

Jocelyn’s TV credits include the 3rd series of the Matchbox produced miniseries WANTED (2018), set up director on LES NORTON, an original miniseries for Roadshow/ABC, STATELESS (2019) for Matchbox/ABC and set up director on WAKEFIELD (2020) for Jungle/ABC/BBC. In 2019 Text Publishing released Jocelyn’s first book, UNCONDITIONAL LOVE: a memoir of filmmaking and motherhood.

Diana Ward (Program Manager at Mercury CX)

Diana Ward

Program Manager at Mercury CX

Diana Ward has produced award-winning short films, music videos and feature docs. Documentary Roller Dreams is currently streaming on Hulu and Kanopy in the USA, and recent shorts Liberty by Faren Humes and stop motion animation The Coin by Oscar nominee Siqi Song have won prizes SXSW, AFI Fest, Chicago, Berlinale, Champs Elysees, Winterthur, Miami, Chilemonos, and New Hampshire Film Festivals.

Proud of her Australian-Chinese-Malaysian heritage, Diana is an advocate for underrepresented filmmakers and is most interested in stories about belonging, change and disapora. Diana is a Film Independent Fellow and recipient of the Amazon Studios Visionary Filmmaker Fellowship. She previously has worked for Film Australia, the Australian Directors Guild, IF Magazine and AFTRS and was featured on Dear Producer’s Producers in Front of the Camera series.

Georgia Humphreys (Creative Producer at Corner Table Productions)

Georgia Humphreys

Creative Producer at Corner Table Productions

Georgia Humphreys is a creative producer with CTPA where she is developing a slate of film and television projects for local and international audiences. After graduating high school, Georgia started out in Italy’s tourism industry managing guided tours and eventually owned Europe’s largest and Rome’s longest running pubcrawl – The Colosseum Pubcrawl.
On her return to Australia she opened Rockefeller, a beachside café where she met her producing partner, Marion Pilowsky.
Her first production, the short crime fable Yia Yia was invited to the AFF, Australian Greek Film Festival and Fort Lauderdale (USA) in 2015. Her next short film Frida and Diego – The Australian Years starring Tiriel Mora was funded via a successful Kickstarter campaign and premiered at the Sydney Film Festival in 2016. Georgia produced Indigenous writer/director Edoardo Crismani's short film 440, funded by the South Australian Film Corporation's 2017 Aboriginal Short Film Initiative and is the co-producer of The Flip Side, starring Eddie Izzard, for 20th Century Fox, released in 2018.
In 2020, together with Marion Pilowsky, Georgia co-created, directed and produced the lifestyle format series for Channel 44, Recipe For Love. With writer/director Peter Ninos, Georgia was selected as one of three teams in the SAFC’s 2021 Film Lab: New Voices, where they are developing Greek LGBTQI+ horror, The Mati.
She is looking to work with new and emerging creatives who speak with authentic, bold and noisy voices.