President, Patron & Ambassador
Dr George Miller
AFI | AACTA Patron
Dr George Miller is considered the Statesman of Australian film and accepted the role of inaugural patron of the Australian Film Institute in 2001. As a producer, director and writer, Dr Miller's credits include multi-award winning films such as HAPPY FEET, MAD MAX, BABE, DEAD CALM, THE YEAR MY VOICE BROKE and LORENZO’S OIL. Dr Miller's production company, Kennedy Miller, has won more than 25 AFI Awards, in addition to various international awards including Oscars® and Golden Globes. He is the recipient of the Chauvel Award, the AFI Raymond Longford Award and the Order of Australia for distinguished service to Australian cinema. He is also the Chairman of the Byron Kennedy Award, which is presented in association with the AACTA and recognises emerging innovators in the film and television industries.
AFI AWARD CREDITS
- 5th AACTA International Award for Best Film, MAD MAX: FURY ROAD alongside Doug Mitchell and P.J. Voeten (2015)
- 5th AACTA International Award for Best Direction, MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (2015)
- 5th AACTA Award for Best Film, MAD MAX: FURY ROAD alongside Doug Mitchell and P.J. Voeten (2015)
- 5th AACTA Award for Best Direction, MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (2015)
- Nominated, 5th AACTA Award for Best Original Screenplay, MAD MAX: FURY ROAD alongside Brendan McCarthy and Nick Lathouris (2015)
- AFI Global Achievement Award, HAPPY FEET (2007)
- AFI Raymond Longford Award (1995)
- AFI Award for Best Film, FLIRTING alongside Terry Hayes and Doug Mitchell (1990)
- Nominee, AFI Award for Best Film, DEAD CALM alongside Terry Hayes and Doug Mitchell (1989)
- AFI Award for Best Film, THE YEAR MY VOICE BROKE alongside Terry Hayes and Doug Mitchell (1987)
- AFI Award for Best Direction, MAD MAX 2 (1982)
- Nominee, Best Original Screenplay, MAD MAX alongside James McClausand (1979)
- Nominee, Best Direction, MAD MAX (1979)
- AFI Jury Prize, MAD MAX alongside Byron Kennedy (1979)
A full filmography for Dr George Miller can be found on the IMDb website.
AFI | AACTA Ambassador
"Australia profiles highly within the international screen industry – as a nation, we are renowned for producing some of the world’s most talented screen professionals, both behind and on camera. I've been a patron of the AFI for 11 years, and am delighted to be part of the AFI’s new Academy." - Cate Blanchett
Internationally awarded actress, Cate Blanchett, was the AFI's first Ambassador, taking up the important role in 2001. Oscar®, BAFTA and Golden Globe awarded, Blanchett's first major accolade came with her AFI Award in 1997 for Best Supporting Actress in THANK GOD HE MET LIZZIE. With internationally acclaimed performances in films such as ELIZABETH, THE AVIATOR, NOTES ON A SCANDAL, BLUE JASMINE, I’M NOT THERE and CAROL, Cate Blanchett is a highly respected, creative force.
AFI AND AACTA AWARD CREDITS
- 5th AACTA Longford Lyell Award (2015)
- 5th AACTA International Award for Best Actress, CAROL (2015)
- 3rd AACTA International Award for Best Actress, BLUE JASMINE (2014)
- AFI International Award for Best Actress, ELIZABETH: THE GOLDEN AGE (2008)
- AFI Award for Best Lead Actress, LITTLE FISH (2005)
- Nominee, AFI Award for Best Lead Actress, OSCAR AND LUCINDA (1998)
- AFI Award for Best Supporting Actress, THANK GOD HE MET LIZZIE (1997)
A full filmography for Cate Blanchett can be found on the IMDb website.
AFI | AACTA Board of Directors
AFI | AACTA is governed by a Board, which consists of the following Non-Executive Directors.
Alan Finney has an extensive background in film production and distribution, first becoming involved in the industry in the early 1960s.
In 1971, he joined Roadshow Film Distributors and brought the movie STORK to Roadshow's attention. This acquisition led to the formation of Hexagon Productions, the first ongoing joint venture between production and distribution entities in contemporary Australian history producing such movies as ALVIN PURPLE, ALVIN RIDES AGAIN, PETERSEN, END PLAY and ELIZA FRASER. During his time with Roadshow Film Distributors, Finney supervised the release of many Australian titles including MAD MAX, BREAKER MORANT, MY FIRST WIFE, PROOF, ROMPER STOMPER, THE PIANO, BAD BOY BUBBY, MURIEL'S WEDDING, THE ADVENTURES OF PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT, DEAD HEART and THE CASTLE.
Alan joined Buena Vista International (now Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures) in 1998 as Vice President and Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand. Since then he has overseen the theatrical releases of THE SIXTH SENSE, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, CHICAGO, WHALERIDER, MALLBOY, THE MAN WHO SUED GOD to name just a few and most recently, the record breaking FINDING NEMO from Pixar Studios and PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST. He left the Disney Company in April, 2010. Finney has also served on the board of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image and as Chair of the Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia and was previously on the board of AFI.
In 2002, Alan was awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for services to Australian film. In November 2010, Alan received the Screen Producers' Association of Australia's Maura Fay Award for Services to the Industry.
One of Australia's favourite and most distinguished performers, Noni Hazlehurst is celebrated for her work in theatre, film, TV and on radio. With an outstanding career spanning nearly 40 years, Noni is also an accomplished writer, producer, presenter and director.
Among her many awards, she has received four AFI Awards (LITTLE FISH, WAITING AT THE ROYAL, FRAN and MONKEY GRIP), two Logies, an Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy from Flinders University, and an Order of Australia. Noni has also served on a number of boards, including Film Australia and Belvoir Street Theatre.
She has served as Patron or Ambassador for several children's welfare organisations, including Barnardo's, and counts her 24-year role as a host of PLAYSCHOOL as a highlight of her career.
Noni currently stars in Foxtel's Australian drama, A PLACE TO CALL HOME.
Jennifer Huby is a partner of TressCox Lawyers. Jennifer is a commercial lawyer practicing primarily in the media and entertainment industry.
Jennifer has worked extensively in the film, television and music areas for the last 20 years commencing since working as in-house lawyer at the Australian Film Commission. Throughout the 1990's she was, at TressCox, one the panel solicitors for the Film Finance Corporation Australia and for many years acted for the FFC in relation to its investment in various projects. She has also acted and continues to act for numerous film and television producers, both Australian and overseas, making productions in Australia and has personal credits on many films. She has also acted for the BBC and its commercial arm BBC Worldwide for over 15 years and is currently working on the large budget 3D animated film of WALKING WITH DINOSAURS to be made in Australia for BBC Earth and Evergreen Films.
In the music field, Jennifer acts for artists, managers and record companies has represented one of the major record companies for many years.
Jennifer also practices in the area of advertising and marketing law which includes advising on intellectual property and trade practices matters including trademarks, copyright, character and concept protection, and confidential information.
Robert Sessions has been involved with Australian book publishing for over forty years. Among the first authors he published in the 1960s were Thomas Keneally, George Turner and Ruth Park. He joined Penguin Books in Australia in 1971 as editor, then managing editor. Leaving Penguin in 1976, he became Publishing Director of Thomas Nelson Australia, where he published, among others, Christopher Koch, Thea Astley, Graeme Base and Patsy Adam-Smith. In 1987 he rejoined Penguin, becoming Publishing Director in 1988. During the last 20 years he has published a wide range of adult and children's authors, including Donald Horne, David Ireland, Elizabeth Jolley, Paul Jennings, Manning Clark, Rodney Hall, Bryce Courtenay, Tim Winton and, more recently, Steve Toltz and Nam Le. He has negotiated film rights for a number of his authors, and is a strong proponent of the Australian film industry. He has held executive positions on a number of industry committees and is Chair of the Course Advisory Committee for the Graduate Diploma in Editing and Publishing at RMIT University.
Margaret Pomeranz AM began her career in film and television as a screenwriter in the 1970s after attending the Playwrights' Studio at NIDA.
She joined the nascent SBS in 1980 as a producer/writer which is where her official involvement with the AFI began when she co-produced the broadcast of the AFI Awards for the network.
She shared a long-term screen partnership with David Stratton on firstly THE MOVIE SHOW on SBS and then with AT THE MOVIES on the ABC. She has been President of the Australian Film Critics Circle and both President and Vice-President of Watch on Censorship and a member of the Australian Advertising Standards Board.
She is currently presenting on Foxtel Movies Masterpiece channel for her program MARGARET POMERANZ PRESENTS and as co-host of SCREEN, a weekly program on the Foxtel Arts channel with Graeme Blundell.
Jack Christian is an award winning, two-time Emmy nominated film and television producer, writer and media executive. He has produced over 250 episodes of television, as well as feature films, telemovies and many hours of reality and factual programming. Jack’s work as a filmmaker has seen him awarded and nominated for Emmy, AACTA and AWGIE awards.
Jack has also financed and produced theatre on the West End, on Broadway, as well as Australia, and is a seed investor in a number of entertainment, biotech, fintech and agricultural companies. Jack is on the Board of Directors of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts and is a member of the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
With offices in West Hollywood, California and Melbourne, Victoria, Jack divides his time between Australia and the United States.
One of the longest serving parliamentarians and Minister in the NSW government, George Souris joined the Board of AFI | AACTA in June 2015.
Among his portfolios George Souris was most recently the Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Hospitality and the Arts and in these capacities he has had a strong relationship with AFI | AACTA supporting the move of the Awards to Sydney for the past four years.
As Minister for the Arts George Souris had responsibility for Sydney Opera House, the State Library, the Powerhouse Museum, the Australian Museum and the Art Gallery of NSW. He was also responsible for Screen NSW.
During his time major exhibitions have included Alexander the Great, Picasso, Francis Bacon, Harry Potter and the acquisition of hitherto unseen original plates of the first European sightings of fauna and flora of NSW and the first European depictions of Aboriginal life in the Wallace Lakes area near Newcastle.
Through both the Arts and Tourism/Major Events portfolios George Souris has funded or supported such areas as Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour, a number of Australian and World premiere musicals including Baz Luhrmann's STRICTLY BALLROOM and the staging of RICHARD III with Kevin Spacey.
George Souris was also involved in the government’s support funding for major international feature films as well as numerous Australian features, television dramas and documentaries including THE GREAT GATSBY, THE WOLVERINE, UNBROKEN, HAPPY FEET II and MAD MAX: FURY ROAD.
And there are a number of Festivals that have become household names all of which were supported through the Arts and Major Events portfolios including Vivid, Sydney Festival, Corroboree, Sydney Writers' Festival and of course Sydney International Film Festival.
The AACTA Awards take their place as part of Sydney's Awards Capital mantra together with the Arias and Helpmann Awards.
Tony Petani is an intellectual property and commercial law specialist working closely with the film and broader arts community. Prior to his appointment to the board of AFI | AACTA in 2015, Tony had advised the board for a number of years, attaining an intimate knowledge of the organisation, its goals and the environment in which it operates. Tony’s previously held board positions with arts organisations include the Blue Room Theatre, Perth’s leading independent theatre venue. Tony has also advised a number of producers and independent film professionals, and has also been involved in a number of Australian productions. This passion for film is at the heart of his desire to assist AFI | AACTA in building a strong and prosperous film and television industry in Australia.
Jo Smith is Executive Director of the Australian Guild of Screen Composers and manages the Regal Cinema, an independent weekend cinema in Newcastle. After being closed for seven years, the cinema was earmarked for demolition but was saved after an eleventh-hour screen industry campaign spearheaded by Jo.
The Regal is committed to supporting Australian filmmakers, and find Australian films to be the most popular with patrons. It regularly hosts screenings with guest filmmakers, including a test screening of 'Ladies in Black' attended by Bruce Beresford, and the films' producers.
Jo is an effective lobbyist who has held senior management positions in the Australian screen industry including: Policy Advisor to the Screen Producers Australia; Director of the Australian Writers' Guild National Conference; and Director of the Australian Directors Guild 25th Anniversary celebrations, when she inaugurated the ADG Awards.
She was responsible for Industry Liaison at Sydney Film Festival for three years. As Co-Director of the SFF Travelling Film Festival, she oversaw an 80% increase in attendances in 12 months and 50% increase in box office income.
Jo is a member of the AACTA International Chapter, and a Board member of the Australian Screen Industry Association whose membership consists of heads of all screen industry guilds and unions.
Jo is Associate Producer of, and is featured in, The Matilda Candidate (directed by AFI Byron Kennedy Award recipient Curtis Levy), a documentary that screened at major festivals in Australia and overseas, and nationally on ABC TV.
She graduated from the University of Newcastle with a BA and a Master of Theatre Arts.
Jo is running for the AFI Board to ensure the views of all practitioners are further represented, to enhance the relationship between the industry and the AFI, and to lobby for much needed support for the AFI and the AACTA Awards.
AFI | AACTA Executive
Damian Trewhella | Chief Executive Officer
Chloe Krushka | Partnerships Manager
Sam Buckland | Membership Program Director
Ivan Vukusic | Awards Manager
Jane Carracher | Finance & Membership Manager
Jayne-Louise O’Connell | Communications & Digital Marketing Manager
Bradley Arden | Graphic Designer & Digital Coordinator
Daniel Carracher | Awards Coordinator
Hayley Toth | Awards and Events Administrator
Lauren Jankovskis | Communications Coordinator
Eliza Cowling | Partnerships & Communications Assistant
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