Our People

Deanne Weir


A media entrepreneur and media executive, company director and philanthropist, Deanne Weir has more than 25 years’ experience in media and communications.

Deanne chairs the boards of two private companies in which her company WeirAnderson.com is a significant investor: Hoodlum, an Emmy and BAFTA award winning production company, and Ai-Media, a technology and social innovation company. 

Deanne is passionate about community engagement and the power of story-telling to help influence social change. She is chair of the Australian Women Donors Network and a member of the global philanthropic community, Women Moving Millions - both of which seek to increase the amount of social investment that reaches women and girls. A frequent guest speaker at corporate and philanthropic events, Deanne also provides informal mentoring support to a number of women in the media.

Deanne was a board member of Screen Australia for eight years until 2016 and was instrumental in the development of its Gender Matters program.

In 2017 Deanne was appointed Chair of the Sydney Film Festival.

Carole Campbell

Director, Chair of Finance Committee

Carole has over 25 years experience in senior finance roles (CFO / Treasurer / Company Secretary) in a diverse range of industries including professional services, banking, media, industrial services and hospitality.

Carole commenced her career in the Sydney and London offices of KPMG and has worked for Macquarie Bank, Westpac Institutional Bank, Seven West Media and Bis Industries. Her most recent executive role was as Group Business and Finance Director of Merivale. Carole currently serves as the Independent Chair of the Finance and Risk Management Committee of the Australian Film, Television and Radio School.

Carole is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She holds a Bachelor of Economics from Macquarie University.

Jan Chapman AO


Jan Chapman has produced some of Australia’s most critically successful and popular films – including Palme d’Or nominated Bright Star, AFI Best Film winner, Lantana and Academy Award® winner The Piano. Jan’s most recent production (with Nicole O’Donohue) was The Daughter written and directed by Simon Stone. The film premiered in competition at the 2015 Sydney Film Festival and was selected to screen at the Venice, Toronto and London International Film Festivals. It was released in Australia in 2016.

Jan has supported and nurtured the careers of some of its most talented filmmakers and was the executive producer on Somersault, Suburban Mayhem, Griff the Invisible and The Babadook. Her films have won many awards including co-recipient of the Palme d’Or at Cannes (The Piano, 1993), three Academy Awards® (The Piano, 1994), Camera d’Or at Cannes (Love Serenade, 1996), over 38 Australian Film Institute Awards, and have had numerous screenings and honours across the globe at the world’s top film festivals including Venice, Toronto, Berlin and Cannes. 

In 2004, Jan was honoured for her outstanding contribution to the Australian film industry as the recipient of the Order of Australia.

Darren Dale


A director of Blackfella Films since 2000, Darren has produced many award winning productions including the landmark series First Australians, the feature documentaries The Tall Man and Deep Water - The Real Story, and the documentary series First Contact (Seasons 1 and 2) and DNA Nation.

With Miranda Dear, he has produced the telemovie Mabo, two series and a telemovie of Redfern Now, the first drama series to be written, produced and directed by Indigenous Australians, and the mini series Deep Water. Darren was executive producer on the teen drama series Ready for This.

Currently in post production are the feature documentary Literacy for Life and a major series for SBS exploring homelessness in Australia.

Darren also currently serves on the Council of AFTRS and Sydney Festival. 

Nicholas Fairfax


Nick Fairfax is the Managing Director of Marinya Capital which runs the family office investments and affairs of a branch of the Fairfax family. He has worked in accounting and the music industry and held numerous private and public company directorships including Rural Press Ltd and Fairfax Media Ltd.

Nick holds a Bachelor of Economics from Sydney University and is a Chartered Accountant.

Chris Freeland


Chris Freeland has been a Director of the Sydney Film Festival since 2010 and was Chairman from the start of 2010 until July 2017.

Chris is the Managing Director for Asia Pacific of corporate law firm Baker McKenzie, which is one of the world’s largest law firms. Chris has had many years’ experience as a lawyer, strategy consultant and professional services manager. He has lived and worked in New York, Beijing, Melbourne and Sydney.

Chris initially practised as a lawyer with Freehills where he worked primarily in the area of corporate law. Following completion of an MBA, Chris was for many years a strategy consultant with The Boston Consulting Group in Australia and the US. He was later appointed the General Manager of BCG in Australia and New Zealand. Chris joined Gilbert + Tobin in 2004 and in 2008 relocated to Beijing for that year, working as Senior Advisor to Management of King & Wood, the largest law firm in China. Chris joined Baker McKenzie as the National Managing Partner of the firm’s Australian offices.

Chris holds a Bachelor of Laws (Honours), Bachelor of Economics and a Master of Business Administration. He has received numerous awards and scholarships, including a Rupert Murdoch Fellowship from Melbourne University. Chris has been involved in a range of community organisations, including as a Director of the national performing arts company Performing Lines, Vice President of Melbourne University's Business School Alumni Council and as a Director of Berry Street Victoria (Victoria's largest independent child welfare organisation). Chris was previously the Chair of the New South Wales Government’s Arts & Cultural Policy Reference Group and is currently the Chair of the Government’s Film and Television Advisory Committee.

Zareh Nalbandian


Zareh Nalbandian, Animal Logic’s Co-Founder and CEO, has been managing, developing and producing large-scale screen projects for over 25 years.  He has collaborated with iconic directors, producers and artists on some of the most successful feature films of our time. Since leading Animal Logic’s expansion into feature film visual effects in 1996 and feature animation in 2006, Zareh has guided one of the most respected and admired artistic and technical cultures in the industry, earning his reputation as a world leader in the fields of film development, animation, visual effects and production.

Zareh was Executive Producer on Academy Award winning Happy Feet, he produced the animated adventure Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole, directed by Zack Snyder which was produced entirely at Animal Logic’s studios in Sydney, Australia. Most recently Zareh served as Executive Producer on The LEGO® Batman Movie and is currently Producer on Peter Rabbit (2018) and Executive Producer on The LEGO® Ninjago Movie (2017) and The LEGO® Movie Sequel (2019). 

Zareh is committed to building a successful, globally competitive digital production industry in Australia. He enjoys strong personal relationships with key US Studio Executives and leading Directors and Producers, in addition to the continued day-to day management of the company. Zareh guides the development of an exciting slate of feature film properties and continues to push the boundaries of digital storytelling.

Festival Patrons

Gillian Armstrong AM, Cate Blanchett, Bryan Brown AM, Jane Campion, Jan Chapman AO, Nicole Kidman AC,
 Baz Luhrmann, Dr George Miller AO, Sam Neill DCNZM OBE, Phillip Noyce, Rachel Ward AM, Hugo Weaving

Tracey Hurt

Finance and Administration Manager

Sanam Rodrigues

Festival Administrator

Julie Gifford

Assistant Accountant

Leigh Small

Chief Executive Officer

Leigh Small has worked for over 25 years in management positions in many of Sydney's performing arts companies, including Sydney Opera House, Sydney Theatre Company, and as Executive Director of Sydney Dance Company for 10 years. Most recently she has worked as a freelance producer for Queensland Performing Arts Centre and the English National Ballet. 

Nashen Moodley

Festival Director

Nashen Moodley commenced as Festival Director in January 2012 after stepping down from his role as Manager/Head of Programming of the Durban International Film Festival, South Africa's longest-running film festival, which he held since 2001. During his ten-year term he has been responsible for expanding the content and audiences of the festival and raising the profile of the South African film industry by establishing the Durban FilmMart.

As a highly respected international film programmer, Nashen has worked as an Industry Consultant at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, and as a regular expert guest as part of the Programme Events at the Berlinale Talent Campus. Since 2005 he has held the position of Director of Asia and Africa Programmes for the Dubai International Film Festival and has overseen DIFF's popular Muhr AsiaAfrica competition.

In 2006, Nashen curated the first South African Film Festival in Tehran. He has also been an adviser to several other festivals including India's International Film Festival of Kerala, South Korea's Busan International Film Festival and Africala in Mexico City.

Nashen's film writing and criticism has appeared in newspapers and magazines including GQ, The Sunday Independent and The Mail & Guardian online. He is currently the film critic for South Africa's Sunday Tribune.

Jenny Neighbour

Programs Manager, Documentary Programmer

Andrew Perkin

Freight & Presentation Coordinator

David Stratton AM

Retrospective Curator

Richard Kuipers

Freak Me Out & Punk Retrospective Programmer

Malcolm Turner

Animation Programmer

Clare Sawyer

Family Programmer

Sofya Gollan

Screenability Program Manager

Susan Charlton

Films & Feminism Programmer

Leo Faber

VR Curator

Shaun Gladwell

VR Curator

James Woolley

Head of Marketing & Customer Services

Beth Rad

Marketing Manager

Nick Jarvis

Publications and Content Editor

Kathleen Smith

Digital & Social Media Coordinator

Andy Currums

Marketing Coordinator

Benson Wu

Marketing Support

Jessica Lyon

Marketing Intern

Holly Vale

Development Manager

Georgia Shepherd

Philanthropy Manager

Bernadette Witham

Development Executive

Cardinal Spin

Amber Forrest-Bisley, Director

(02) 8065 7363  


Communications Advisor: Amy Owen

Communications Manager: Matt Fraser

Communications Assistant: Aidan McLaughlin


Lisa Kitching

Industry and Guest Manager

Cassidy Lau

Programming – Guest Relations

Karina Libbey

Travelling Film Festival Manager

Ludivine Chopard

Travelling Film Festival Intern

Claire Connors

Customer Relations Manager

Matt Bartlett

Ticketing Supervisor

Robert McIndoe

Head of Events