President, Patron & Ambassador
Geoffrey Rush is quite simply one of the world’s greatest actors. A king of stage and screen, he is a Triple Crown wearer (having won an Oscar®, Emmy and Tony Award) who has uniquely captured the hearts and minds of judges, critics and audiences around the world. Among his many awards and honours are an Oscar® (SHINE), a Tony Award (EXIT THE KING), an Emmy Award (THE LIFE AND DEATH OF PETER SELLERS), two Golden Globes, three BAFTAs, four SAG Awards, two AFI Awards and the AFI Raymond Longford Award.
Following an extensive career in theatre, in the mid-90's Geoffrey Rush began his film career. His portrayal of pianist David Helfgott in SHINE brought him sudden international recognition. The film received seven Oscar® nominations, and saw Geoffrey become the first actor to win an Oscar®, BAFTA Award, Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, and Critics’ Choice Movie Award for a single performance.
In 2009, Geoffrey was awarded the AFI Raymond Longford Award, where he acknowledged that ‘an Australian career in the Arts is a hard road to travel; a road not properly mapped or signposted, and one where artistic achievement is rarely given serious attention in the mainstream media’. Two years later, Geoffrey was named as the inaugural President of AACTA.
AFI AWARD CREDITS
- Nominee, 3rd AACTA International Award for Best Supporting Actor, THE BOOK THIEF (2014)
- Nominee, Inaugural AACTA Award for Best Lead Actor, EYE OF THE STORM (2012)
- AFI Raymond Longford Award (2009)
- Nominee, AFI Award for Best Supporting Actor, CANDY (2006)
- AFI Global Achievement Award (2003)
- Nominee, AFI Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, SWIMMING UPSTREAM (2002)
- Nominee, AFI Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, A LITTLE BIT OF SOUL (1998)
- AFI Award for Best Actor in a Lead Role, SHINE (1996)
A full filmography for Geoffrey Rush can be found on the IMDb website.
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.
Brian Walsh, B.A. Communications, began his career in television, initially with Australia’s ABC, as a Specialist Trainee. From there, Brian went into feature film production and distribution, at David Elfick’s Palm Beach Pictures, where projects included the Australian cinema classic, NEWSFRONT.
Brian’s first major role in media was with Sydney Radio Station 2SM, where he was Publicity Manager and then Promotions Manager, for Sydney’s leading rock music station. Following a five year tenure at Radio 2SM, Brian joined Network TEN, as it’s National Director of Publicity & Promotions.
It was at TEN where he launched major network events including the acclaimed Kennedy Miller mini series VIETNAM, THE BANGKOK HILTON, THE COWRA BREAKOUT and THE DIRTWATER DYNASTY. Brian was also credited with responsibility for the nationwide success of Australian family drama series, NEIGHBOURS, where he launched the careers of Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan and Guy Pearce.
In 1990, Brian founded his own consultancy, The Promotions Department Pty Limited, a company that grew to become one of Australia's leading publicity and promotions companies, specialising in media, entertainment, sports and event management. Brian’s company was responsible for the marketing, publicity and promotion for the Australian Rugby League and its ground breaking SIMPLY THE BEST campaign, featuring Tina Turner. The company also produced countless Grand Final & State of Origin Entertainment shows and events.
The Promotions Department Pty Limited was also responsible for publicity throughout Australia for some of the major concert tours for a period of over 12 years, including those by Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, Neil Diamond, Ricky Martin and Barbra Streisand.
From 1991 through 1995, Brian was consultant to British Sky Broadcasting in marketing and publicity, followed by an assignment to Star TV, Asia, where he launched the Channel [V] music channel through 52 countries.
In 1995, Brian was a key member of the management team to establish Australian subscription, cable and satellite television and the launch of Foxtel. Brian accepted a senior consultancy role with Foxtel as Director of Programming, Publicity & Promotions, overseeing the launch, programme acquisitions, the creation of the entertainment channels and the promotions and marketing of the Foxtel brand. Brian now holds a senior executive position with the company as the Executive Director of Television.
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.
Founder and Managing Director of Morrissey Management, one of Australia’s leading talent agencies, Mark Morrissey is a tireless champion of Australian performers. Joining forces with Michael Gudinski and John Molloy in the re-launch of Mushroom Pictures, Mark was an Executive Producer of the celebrated miniseries MOLLY and feature film BOYS IN THE TREES. Notably Mushroom Pictures’ THE LAST TIME I SAW RICHARD received the AACTA Award for Best Short Fiction Film at the 3rd AACTA Awards. Having nurtured some of Australia’s biggest names both locally and internationally, Mark is one of the industry’s most respected managers and mentors.
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.
Anita Jacoby is a broadcast executive and company director with more than thirty years’ experience in media and communications. A creative with a background as a multi-award winning television, current affairs and film producer, she currently sits on the Australian Communications & Media Authority (ACMA).
Anita has created hundreds of hours of original content across most genres and for every FTA network and Foxtel. Most recently she was Managing Director of ITV Studios Australia, responsible for the local operations of this global company.
Prior to ITV, Anita managed Zapruder’s other films for a decade alongside Andrew Denton. Widely regarded as one of Australia’s most creative independent production companies, Zapruder’s created original programs including ENOUGH ROPE, THE GRUEN TRANSFER, ELDERS, HUNGRY BEAST, DAVID TENCH TONIGHT and documentaries including GOD ON MY SIDE and ANGELS & DEMONS. She has also held various senior production roles on many shows including 60 MINUTES, SUNDAY, WITNESS, LAWS and TODAY.
Anita’s work has been recognised with six AFI and AACTA awards, a Logie and various other industry awards. She is currently on the National Advisory Board of Women in Media, The Funding Network, The Belvoir Theatre Chairs Advisory Board and has been a non-executive director on a number of NFP Boards including headspace, Arts Law Centre Australia and the NSW Alzheimer’s Advisory Board.
Damian Trewhella | Chief Executive Officer
Jennifer North | General Manager
Chloe Krushka | Partnerships Manager
Sam Buckland | Membership Program Director
Ivan Vukusic | Awards Manager
Jane Carracher | Finance & Membership Manager
Michelle Berg | Communications Manager
Bradley Arden | Graphic Designer & Web Coordinator
Becky Charlton | Events & Partnerships Coordinator
Daniel Carracher | Awards Coordinator
Hayley Toth | Awards Assistant
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