We acknowledge Australia’s First Nations People as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land, and pay respect to the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, upon whose Country SFF are based.
We honour the storytelling and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia.

Our People

Deanne WeirChair

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

Deanne leads the boards of three private companies in which her company WeirAnderson.com is an investor: Hoodlum, an Emmy and BAFTA award winning production company; Ai-Media, a technology and social innovation company; and Seer Data & Analytics, a technology start-up that helps the social sector make better decisions through the use of data and insights.

Deanne is a member of Women Moving Millions, and a board member at Global Sisters, an Australian not-for-profit assisting women entrepreneurs. A board member of Screen Australia for eight years until 2016, Deanne was instrumental in the development of its Gender Matters program. She remains a member of its Gender Matters Taskforce. Deanne is also Chair of The Grata Fund, an organisation that assists Australian citizens to bring important litigation to push back against unfair laws and policies in the areas of human rights, climate change and democracy.

An investor in various screen projects, including documentary and feature films, Deanne was Executive Producer of Hoodlum’s first feature film, Australia Day (2017), and also I Used to Be Normal (2018) an independent  feature documentary that premiered at Toronto’s 2018 Hot Docs Festival.

Nicholas FairfaxDeputy Chair, Chair of Finance Committee

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.

Nick AbrahamsDirector

Nick is the Global Head of Technology & Innovation for top 10 international law firm, Norton Rose Fulbright. He practices in the areas of tech, media, telco and privacy law.

Separately to NRF, he is a disruptor in his own right, having co-founded successful online legal service LawPath 5 years ago. Nick is on the board of ASX300 software company, Integrated Research. He is on the boards of the Garvan Foundation and the Vodafone Foundation.

He is the author of the books Digital Disruption in Australia and Big Data, Big Responsibilities. He has a Masters of Fine Arts (Film Producing) from the University of Southern California Film School (the Peter Stark Program). He was a Creative Executive at Warner Brothers in Los Angeles and worked on the TV shows, ER and The West Wing. He produced the mockumentary Searching for Alison Porchnik featuring Woody Allen and Carol Kane. He wrote and appeared in the TBS TV show The Ugly Gaijin Brothers and is the Founder of The Tokyo Comedy Store – now in its 23rd year.

Jan Chapman AODirector

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 Australia’s most talented filmmakers and was the executive producer on SomersaultSuburban MayhemGriff 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 DaleDirector

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.

Sally HermanDirector

Sally Herman is an experienced non-executive director in the fields of financial services, retail, manufacturing and property. She had a successful executive career in financial services in both Australia and the US, transitioning in late 2010 to a full-time career as a non-executive director. Sally is also actively involved in the not for profit sector, with a particular interest in the arts, social justice and education.

Sally sits on both listed and unlisted Boards, including three ASX 200 companies, Suncorp Group Limited, Premier Investments Limited and Breville Group Limited. She is also on the Board of Evans Dixon Limited as well as Investec Property Limited and the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust.  Sally is a member of Chief Executive Women.

Debbie LeeDirector

Debbie is Matchbox Pictures’ Director of Scripted Development, where she provides creative leadership to the development of scripted content across a broad range of genres and markets. She also serves as executive producer on various projects – most recently The Heights, Safe Harbour, The Family Law, Mustangs FC and Hungry Ghosts.

Prior to Matchbox, Debbie was ABC TV’s Head of Comedy, where she commissioned shows including A Moody Christmas, Please Like Me, Laid, It’s a Date, Upper Middle Bogan and The Strange Calls. She also spent a number of years at SBS and SBS Independent, starting her career in TV as a production assistant and then becoming series producer for experimental short film program Eat Carpet. This led to several years at SBS Independent as a Commissioning Editor for Drama and Comedy.

Debbie is a passionate advocate for screen stories with distinctive views of the world and believes these stories told well have the power to connect people and build understanding and empathy. She currently also serves as Chair of Diversity Arts Australia, a national organisation committed to making cultural and linguistic diversity a central concern across the creative arts sectors.

Zareh NalbandianDirector

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.

Leigh SmallChief 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 MoodleyFestival 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 was 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 GQThe Sunday Independent and The Mail & Guardian online. He is currently the film critic for South Africa’s Sunday Tribune.

Jenny NeighbourHead of Programs & Documentary Programmer

Lisa KitchingIndustry & Guest Manager

Mel PiuIndustry & Guest Coordinator

Justin MartyniukProgram Coordinator & Advisor

Fiona HultonHead of Marketing

Sophie HarkinDigital Marketing Manager

Andrea BellDigital Marketing Coordinator

Laura CarlsonAdvertising & Signage Coordinator

Woodford ChenMarketing Coordinator

Matt SharahIn House Designer

Brock TaffeMaterials Manager

Madeleine Du Plessis Materials Coordinator

Winsome WalkerPublications Manager

Regan PurcellCustomer Relations Manager

Thomas MilazzoHead of Operations

Amber Forrest-BisleyCompany Director, Original Spin

Matt FraserCommunications Director, Original Spin

Alex Clampett, Shruti KhoslaCommunications Advisors, Original Spin

Sanika KarnikOffice Manager, Original Spin

Thomas MilazzoHead of Production & Operations

Luiza Pradella Production Coordinator

Olive GilbertVolunteer Coordinator

Georgia ShepherdHead of Philanthropy and Partnerships

Todd SutherlandPartnerships Executive

Joshua TaylorPhilanthropy Executive

Rubee KingPhilanthropy and Partnerships Coordinator

Tracey HurtFinance and Administration Manager

Jahnavi RawalFestival Administrator

Julie GiffordAssistant Accountant

Sanam RodriguesTFF Manager

Gina RubianoTFF Marketing & Publicity Coordinator

Bridget Ikin FLUX Curator

Richard Kuipers Freak Me Out Curator

Katharine Rogers Family Curator

Rebecca McCormack Screenability Programming Assistant

Felix Hubble Program Advisor

Melba Proestos Program Advisor

Paul Matereke Shorts Programmer

Claire Cao Assistant Program Advisor

Merryana Salem Assistant Program Advisor

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