Participant Information – Creative Producing & Pitching

Participants

Mumbi Hinga (NSW)

Mumbi Hinga was born in Kenya and migrated to Australia in 2007. At an early age, she was involved in various artistic expressions including dance, drama and singing. In Australia, she studied film making and Editing at Australia Film base in Sydney. For Mumbi, filmmaking is her way of voicing curiosity about the universe. Her interest is in exploring the power of visual representation of the world we live in and communicating through narrative and documentary storytelling. She hopes to harness the power of film to transcend through cultural barriers. She has contributed to films, documentaries and shorts as a producer, production manager and assistant. Between 2016- 2017, she was an associate producer of the feature film Survive or Die which screened at The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards as well as being nominated for the best independent film. She is currently co-producing a web series Afrosistahs.
Other notable contributions include Production manager/Vice president of Afro-Australia Music and Movie Awards 2011-2017. Mumbi is also a founder and director of Out of Africa International Film Festival, a boutique festival for filmmakers from all over the world.

Safia Amadou (NSW)

Safia Amadou was Assistant Director in 2012 with the first children’s museum in West Africa, ImagiNation Afrika in Senegal. In 2013 she curated her first interactive exhibition ‘In The Footsteps of ICT (Information and Communication Technolgies) Girls’, in conjunction with ImagiNation Afrika, which won the Senegal Country Award for Excellence in Educational Entrepreneurship from the British NGO Teach A Man To Fish. From 2014 to 2015, Safia worked for Galerie Cecile Fakhoury, continuing her passion for curating and event management with one of the leading contemporary art galleries in West Africa. While at Galerie Cecile Fakhoury, she worked on exhibitions for several international and local emerging artists. After moving to Sydney in 2016, Safia started as Venue and Reception Officer at I.C.E. (Information & Cultural Exchange), a western Sydney community art organisation. Through I.C.E. Safia participated in Produce Perfect 2018, an intensive skills development workshop program for emerging Western Sydney screen content producers, and worked as co- producer and community liaison on a short film as part of the Reigning Men: Fashion in Menswear, 1715-2015 exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum. Safia is one the co-producers and director of the Afro Sistahs Collective, developing a short-form comedy web series about contemporary life for young African- Australian women.

Gabriel Faatau’uu-Satiu (NSW)

Gabriel Faatau’uu-Satiu is of Sāmoan heritage from Porirua & Mangere, Aōtearoa and South-West Sydney, Australia. Gabriel is a strong advocate for Pasifika works not only in filmmaking, but across all forms of storytelling.⁣ Gabriel graduated with a Bachelor of Creative Arts, majoring in Creative Writing. He is currently a post-graduate student doing a Masters in Creative Practice and recently completed an intensive directors training at AFTRS with Lucy Gaffy. Gabriel has worked extensively as a scriptwriter and storyline writer for New Zealand and Australian Television. A few of his experiences include Shortland Street, What Now!, Māori Television and the Pasifika Education Centre. He worked as a consultant for 7 Productions on ‘Home and Away’ and has worked independently onset as a script supervisor/continuity across various projects. Gabriel is one of very few Pasifika critics (in Theatre and Film) in New Zealand and Australia, a guest journalist for The Guardian and is soon to publish a children’s book written for Pasifika children. Gabriel’s work revolves around the Sāmoan proverb “o le ala i le pule, o le tautua” – “the path to leadership is through service”. Having directed the short film “Untitled” earlier this year with a cast and crew all of Sāmoan descent, Gabriel aims to keep growing Pasifika storytellers in Sydney. Recently, Gabriel has been supporting 4 Pasifika writers as part of the ‘Pacific Noir series’ commissioned by Screen Australia through I.C.E. (Information and Culture Exchange) and the Pasifika Film Festival. His own series, ‘Breaking Bread’ has been picked up by the Pacific Noir series and is now in development to go into early pre-production later this year. Outside of creating, Gabriel is also passionate about teaching. Gabriel teaches Creative Writing in partnership with the Campbelltown City Council libraries. He was recently awarded a grant to cofacilitate a writers program he created called ‘Write It! Write Now! The aim of this program is to focus on building young writers aged 12-18 in his community in hopes to broaden the classes across western Sydney – Gabriel is in discussion with organisations like WestWords to expand. He also teaches reading and writing through a private enrichment school, specifically focusing on students from diverse backgrounds between the ages of 2 1/2 and 12.

Eliorah Malifa (ACT)

Eliorah Malifa is one half of the team behind Australia’s Pasifika Film Fest. She is also completing her PhD at the Australian National University, focusing on the creation of sustainable screen industry in the Pacific. Before concentrating on film, Eliorah worked extensively in arts management, working in theatre, music, dance, visual arts and most of all Indigenous art. Eliorah coordinated the Australian delegation to the 11th Festival of Pacific Arts and assisted with the film section at the 12th Festival of Pacific Arts & Culture in Guam. She managed music tours to remote Australia and completed an internship with the United Nations Department of Public Information. Currently, Eliorah is working in Screen Cultures with Information & Cultural Exchange producing capacity building activities for diverse filmmakers and in creative development for a slate of web series supported by Screen Australia and Screen NSW.

Taofia Pelesasa (NSW)

Taofia Pelesasa is of Tokelauan and Samoan heritage, born in Rotorua, New Zealand and replanted in Mt Druitt, Western Sydney. A graduate of the United School of Performing and Screen Arts (Auckland, Aotearoa) as an acting and writing student, he has worked as an actor, producer and writer in both screen and theatre in New Zealand and Australia. Highlights of his career thus far have been Young Shakespeare’s performance of “Julius Caesar” at the Globe Theatre in London, Auckland Theatre Company’s productions’ of ‘Mary Stuart’, ‘A Frigate Bird Sings’, ‘Disorder’ and most recently the National tour of ‘My Own Darling’. He was also core cast on the International tour of “The Factory Musical” throughout Australia and Scotland as well as the Australian and New Zealand tour of the Victor Rodger hit “Black Faggot” and the return season of “At The Wake” at the Herald Theatre. His recent theatre performances were with the Auckland Theatre Company’s National New Zealand tour of Grace Taylor’s “My Own Darling” at the end of 2017. Taofia also wrote and co-produced short-films “The Promise of Piha” and “Maria” both of which successfully travelled the International film festival circuit. “Piha” receiving a special mention at the prestigious ‘imagiNATIVE Film Festival’ in Toronto and ‘Maria’ receiving funding from the New Zealand Film Commission, being selected to represent New Zealand as part of the Department of Tourism’s cultural road show of South America and winning the ‘Most Popular Film’ award as part of the PBS Online Film Festival. As a writer Taofia has been mentored by Sima Urale, Louise Tu’u and Victor Rodgers with his first short-film “Fish’n’Chip Friday” screenplay being short-listed for the 2012 Fresh Shorts initiative for the New Zealand Film Commission. His writing has also seen him receive mentorships with Script-to-Screen NZ in Auckland and International & Cultural Exchange in Parramatta, Sydney. His full length play “Te Molimau” was selected by the prestigious Belvoir Theatre Company in Sydney to be programmed in their Independent 25a Season in August 2019. He was recently invited back in 2020 to develop his new work “Hooka Wooka Fooka” as an artist-in-residence. Independently, Taofia has worked on his own works the most significant of which is “Polinesia” which has had him spend a two-year research project between Sydney and Lima, Peru. Taofia is an associate Artist for Talanoa Storytelling – a Pacific focussed storytelling platform based out of Sydney, Australia which has seen him work on projects such as the AV Series “The Places we Call Home” in collaboration with Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIIC) , Cowbird & PBS based out of Hawaii, United States of America. This year Taofia will make a series of Pacific focused web-series pilots with the support of Screen Australia and Information & Cultural Exchange.

Andrew Lee (NSW)

Andrew Lee is a queer, Australian-born Korean director, writer, producer & production designer. Also known as “undi”, he is both a graduate from UTS (Design) and AFTRS (Drama Directing). He has designed; art directed and set decorated short films that have screened at the Berlin Int. Film Festival, Venice Int. Film Festival, Sundance, Tribeca and Clermont-Ferrand. As a writer director, he has been awarded the “Kenneth B Myer award for exceptional Talent”. While also being awarded Young Australian Korean filmmaker Award by the Korean Consulate of Australia. Andrew has been also nominated for Best Short Film and Best Director at the 2017 Dendy Awards for his film “MELON GRAB” – Sydney International Film Festival. While also being nominated for the Australian Director’s Guild award for Best Direction in a short drama. Most recently he has received development funding from Regional Development Australia (NSW) and Arts Central for his feature film about a Korean Australian family living in a small Coastal town. Other upcoming projects have Andrew taking on various roles including; writer for ABC and Essential Media’s green lit project “TROPPO”, writer and director of Aquarius Films development funded TV series “PARENT UP”, and an untitled Create NSW and Screen QUEENSLAND development funded TV series currently in development for Rhaspody Films.

Ashlea Ritchie (VIC)

Ashlea Ritchie is a dynamic creative producer who enjoys a challenge. Working in live action drama, documentary, TVCs and online content, she is driven to tell great stories. As an associate producer on the feature film “Robert the Bruce” 2019 she spent three months filming in the depths of winter in Montana. Prior to this she produced the short film Melon Grab which was selected to take part in The Sydney Film Festival Dendy Awards 2017 and was a successful recipient of Screen Australia completion funding in 2016. Working as a production manager on the feature film “Pawno” 2015 and completing a producer’s attachment through Open Channel on “Emo (The Musical)” 2016 Ashlea has practical production experience creating independent low budget features. Her short films have screened to audiences around the world at over 30 national and international film festivals including Edinburgh International Film Festival, Palm Springs International Film Festival, Flickerfest and Melbourne Queer Film Festival.

Alana Hicks (NSW)

Alana Hicks is Papua New Guinean/Australian emerging writer, director, and digital content producer. Her film Chicken featured in the 2020 Flickerfest International Short Film Festival, for which she received the award for Best Direction in an Australian Short Film. Chicken has also screened at a number of festivals around the world. As a web series producer, Alana co-founded The Kvetch Set Sketch Collective and spearheaded the script development and production of three seasons of the online sketch comedy series The Kvetch Set, as well as directing several live comedy productions. She also co-produced Game Night, an award-winning short film adapted from one of The Kvetch Set’s live shows. Alana received the Writing NSW Early Career Writer’s Grant for Home is a Foreign Country, a TV series she created and developed while undertaking the Graduate Certificate in Screenwriting at the Australian Film Television and Radio School in 2018.
Alana wasn’t able to participate due to a work opportunity, but she remains an active member of the Pacific Noir chort, developing ‘Puri Puri’ with the support of I.C.E.

Josh Sambono (NSW)

Josh Sambono is an Indigenous filmmaker who has been relentlessly pursuing a career as a writer and director of genre-blending films since studying at the Sydney Film School. His graduating film LEROY’S DREAM had a successful festival run, screening and winning awards in Canada, Hong Kong, Japan and Australia. He co-wrote the horror feature THE QUARANTINE HAUNTINGS which had a limited release in theatres in 2016. While his latest short film SUSPECT is currently enjoying its festival run having its World Premiere at the iconic Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (BIFAN 2020). Since then he has worked with Channel 7 and Amazon Prime on the reboot series of PACKED TO THE RAFTERS, received development funding for his projects from CreateNSW and ABC Indigenous; he has participated in an Action Movie Workshop with Nash Edgerton (creator of the FX series MR INBETWEEN), a horror writing workshop with Screen Australia and ABC; as well as working in numerous writer’s rooms as a note-taker. He dreams of telling entertaining stories that reflect his culture and his family: battered, bruised but still smiling.

Laura Sambono (NSW)

Laura Sambono has been designing and organising for as long as she can remember. For Laura, creating is inherent. Her professional journey started with obtaining a bachelors degree in Architecture. In her career as an architect she honed her aptitudes in design and project management. She took leave from the world of architecture with the birth of her first child to be a stay at home mum. Something she views as her greatest achievement to date. During the 10 years of raising her children she continued to create applying her design and project management abilities to freelance Graphic Design. But the real magic began when she and husband Josh Sambono started their own company Razor Bear Films. All the talents she has developed through the years make her a valuable partner in the business. Her Project management skills become Producer skills. Architecture skills become Model Builder and Set Designer skills. It is her passion to grow a company and she enjoys the varied roles this opportunity brings.

Rachael Belle Myers (NSW) and Joanna Beveridge (NSW),

Rachael Belle Myers and Joanna Beveridge. Upon meeting at a film festival, Rachael and Joanna quickly realised their filmmaking ideologies were very similar, especially as they related to the online space. Rachael’s award-winning film ‘Curated Illusions’ delves into social media addiction and the unsafe use of mobile devices whilst driving and ‘Three Feet Deep’ tackles social responsibility and karma. Joanna’s internationally recognised, award-winning web series ‘Sydney Sleuthers’ is a cybercrime comedy about the world of true crime armchair detectives. It just received funding to develop the IP into a half hour comedy with US based Executive Producer Deepak Nayar. Rachael and Joanna have always aimed to create content with social impact. Rachael has a slate of award-winning short films that focus heavily on the cyber space and mental health issues. Joanna produced a Screen NSW Screenability funded short film that highlights Bipolar II and a satirical short film funded by the Go Viral! Initiative that explores victim blaming. As a production team they will continue tackling the areas of mental health and cyberspace through the series Rachael created, ‘Trolls Anonymous’. They’ve been working closely with E-Safety and Parentline so they can generate an authentic series with a message that resonates and educates through entertainment.

Anthony Khoury (NSW)

Anthony Khoury is an emerging filmmaker and screenwriter. He has developed numerous original screenplays with long-time collaborator Joseph Chidiac, with the script for a 30-min supernatural rom-com ‘Haunted Love’ in 2018 optioned by an independent producer. Anthony has studied practical filmmaking at various institutions and has obtained a Diploma in Screen and Media Filming at the Academy of Film, Theatre & Television in 2019, Certificate IV Screen and Media from Northern Sydney TAFE in 2018, and Certificate Film Directing from Sydney Film Base in 2017. He has also worked as Customer Service assistant for Village Cinemas, Sydney in 1996, as a Dispatcher for the Royal Blind Society, Sydney in 1997, and Data Entry for Vision Australia in 2013. As director he directed ‘Letting Go’ a 6-min short film as part of his Diploma at the Academy of Film, Theatre & Television in 2019, and ‘Game of Chance’ as part of his Degree at Sydney Film Base in 2017. ‘Letting Go’ was awarded Best Script by the AFTT 2019 graduation year. Directing is Anthony’s passion. Directing offers him an overview of the different stages of production. Anthony identifies as vision impaired.

Claudia Chidiac (NSW)

Claudia Chidiac is a theatre maker, cultural worker and creative producer. From 2010 – 2014 she was the Creative Producer of Performance and Music and Theatre Producer/Curator at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre (CPAC) She was responsible for creating and producing the award winning Way Out West (WOW) Festival for Children. In 2013 she produced and directed Tough Beauty by Finegan Kruckemeyer, for CPAC. From 2005 – 2010 she was the Artistic Director and EO of Powerhouse Youth Theatre (PYT), Western Sydney’s leading youth theatre company, where she was responsible for directing, and producing the company’s artistic program and developing training opportunities for emerging artists in Western Sydney. For PYT she directed Mother Fish Tour (2009), Hard Daze research and creative development (2008), She Loves Me She Loves Me Not (2008), City Quest (2007), was associate director of This Territory with the Australian Theatre for Young People (2007), co- directed Mobile Messenger (2006) and I do… but (2006). From 2006-2008 Claudia was the director of Can You Hear Me? A legal theatre event with South West Sydney Legal Centre. As a freelance director and performance maker, Claudia has made work with young people, migrant and refugee communities.

Ra Chapman (VIC)

Ra Chapman is a Korean-Australian writer and actor, Ra was adopted from South Korea and has strong ties with the adoption community and works closely with transracial adoptees and diverse artists on various projects. Ra is an alumnus of the Besen Writers Group and current Artist in Residence at Malthouse Theatre. She was awarded the 2018 Hot Desk Fellowship (Wheeler Centre) and her play K-BOX will premiere at Malthouse Theatre in 2021. Ra was selected to take part in StoryLab (Cinespace) and National Talent Camp (AFTRS), both Film Victoria funded development programs, and was the Program Coordinator for StoryLab 2.0. Ra has worked on several developments and productions as a writer, spanning theatre, television and short form content. Ra won the Best Actress Award at the 2011 Newport Beach Film Festival, U.S. for her role as Therese in David Williamson’s film adaptation of FACE TO FACE and was also nominated for an IF Award for Best Actress for the same performance. Ra has filmed 5 seasons of the award-winning Foxtel Series, WENTWORTH reprising her role as prisoner, Kim Chang.

Jessica Magro (QLD)

Jessica Magro is a Samoan-Australian Brisbane based television producer working across both scripted and unscripted formats. Jessica graduated with a Diploma of Screen and Media in 2013 and since then has written, produced and directed her own short films and worked across countless long form factual series as Senior Associate Producer at WildBear Entertainment. In 2018 Jessica launched her own independent production company Purple Carrot Entertainment and produced short documentary “FEZ” for ABC Arts, which follows Samoan-Australian entertainer Fez Faanana & his trailblazing artistic journey from Ipswich QLD to the world stage in dazzling drag. FEZ was officially selected to screen at the St Kilda Film Festival in 2019 and is set to premiere in New Zealand this year at the Pasifika Film Festival. Jessica is currently working at Ludo Studio as the Office Manager assisting the team across their large slate of scripted television including the Emmy award winning animation series Bluey. While working full time, Jessica is committed to further developing her own slate of projects including both documentaries and live action series with a focus on her Samoan ancestry, aiming to increase representation for Pacific Islanders in front and behind the camera.

Mentors

Amman Abbasi is a Pakistani-American writer-director, editor, and composer from Little Rock, Arkansas. Filmmaker Magazine listed him among the 25 New Faces of Independent Film in 2016. His film DAYVEON premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, was an Official Selection of the 2017 Berlin Film Festival, and went on to get 2 Film Independent Spirit Award nominations in 2018, including in the coveted Someone to Watch category. Prior to narrative films, Abbasi had worked in documentary for several years, traveling the world and discovering undocumented stories. In 2011, while working with the Renaud Brothers, Abbasi travelled to Haiti to cover the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake for The New York Times for a documentary piece, which went on to win the prestigious duPont Award. Abbasi has spoken at the roundtable seminar at 2019 Cannes Film Festival. He also guest lectured at Columbia University’s MFA program in 2018. Abbasi also worked as an editor on Last Chance High in 2015, which received an Emmy nomination for outstanding editing. As a music composer, Abbasi’s music compositions have appeared in several commercials, films, and documentaries. In 2008, he and his brother’s debut album, “Something Like Nostalgia,” topped the charts in Japan.

Avril Z. Speaks is a producer, director and film educator based in Los Angeles. She produced the critically- acclaimed feature film Jinn, which won the Special Jury Prize for Writing at SXSW and was acquired by MGM/Orion Classics for theatrical and VOD release. Since then she has produced several films including Hosea, which will release later this year, and the upcoming Dotty & Soul, starring Leslie Uggams, Gary Owens and Margot Bingham. She has worked in Scripted Programming at BET Networks, and was also an associate producer on the TNT docu-series American Race. A former professor at Howard University and a contributing writer for DearProducer.com, Avril has also been a Producing Fellow in Rotterdam, Cannes, IFP and Film Independent labs and networks, and was recently named as a 2020 Sundance Momentum Fellow.