Meet the AFTT Team

Meet the Team

AFTT’s courses are delivered by Australia’s leading performing arts tutors and award winning professional film makers, all of whom have made their own definitive mark on the industry. Get to know the 'Be Fearless' team here.

Adrian Bilinsky

Adrian Bilinsky

Sound & Sound Design

Adrian has over 10 years’ experience working in both Sydney and London as a sound professional across many disciplines, from feature films, television, music, radio, advertising, promos and documentaries.

Aimée-Lee Xu Hsien Curran

Aimée-Lee Xu Hsien Curran

Screenwriting & Directing

Half Chinese, half Irish, born in England, raised in Australia, Aimée-Lee grew up poor in Sydney’s richest suburb, is six foot tall and useless at sport. All of these factors have influenced Aimée-Lee’s love of writing films that celebrate difference and those on the outside. 

As a director, Aimée-Lee’s passion lies in working with actors to craft truthful and nuanced performances, and collaborating with production designers to create unique worlds that bring her writing to life.

Her short films Jump and The Palace that I Live in have played at over 25 festivals across America, Canada, Europe, Asia, and Australia, including three Academy Award-accredited festivals. Jump won Best Short Film at the Palm Springs International ShortFest (USA, 2013), Blue Mountains Film Festival (2013) and the Provincetown International Film Festival (USA, 2014), and was programmed by Tribeca Film Festival and Flickerfest to screen on United Airlines and Virgin Australia flights.

In 2014, Aimée-Lee was the director’s attachment on the feature film Strangerland, starring Nicole Kidman, Hugo Weaving and Joseph Fiennes. She has also worked as a writer’s assistant for Glen Mazzara (Showrunner onThe Walking Dead), and Producers Su Armstrong and Brian Rosen (Good Will Hunting, Red Dog).

Alistair Toogood

Alistair Toogood

Voice

Al is a WAAPA (musical theatre) and NIDA (voice studies)-trained voice/dialect/singing teacher and performer, and has acted as course coordinator and voice lecturer for the Australian Academy of Dramatic Art at AIM, and the music theatre supervisor for ACTT. He has also taught at Shopfront Theatre, St Catherine’s College, The McDonald College, The Actors Studio, The Actors Pulse, The Australian Institute for Performing Arts, Sydney Theatre School, Ensemble Studios and Actors Centre Australia.  

As a voice coach, Al has worked on productions for Belvoir, Griffin Stablemates, TRS, Maelstrom, Critical Stages, Bell Shakespeare and Poetry in Action. His performance credits include Chang & Eng (Action Theatre, Singapore), Las Vegas Confidential (Vanish), John Williamson’s Quambatook, Blenderman (Short, Sweet and Song), the Stables cabaret A Night of Crime and Passion, the manga app Newton’s Fable, Big Band Theory’s Blues Brothers and James Bond tribute shows, and Freddie Mercury in We Are The Champions: The Ultimate Queen Tribute Show. 

Andrew Lawrence

Andrew Lawrence

Screenwriting & Directing

Andrew Lawrence has worked in film and television for over twenty-five years, crewing on feature films and camera operating for television networks. He has written and directed acclaimed short films and has a feature script in advanced development in Mexico. He is currently writing a TV series. 

In 2002, Andrew graduated from AFTRS with a Masters (honours) in writing and directing. He has written television commercials, written and directed documentaries for the ABC and for NSW National Parks and Wildlife and has been a selector and programmer for the Dungog Film Festival.

Andrew was mentored by Hollywood script legend Syd Field and Al Clarke for his feature script Sentido: he was selected for Screen Australia’s Development funding twice, was a finalist at SPAA Mart making the only pre-sale for that year to Transmission Films/ Paramount Pictures. Sentido was chosen for the Aurora International Script Workshop.

Andrew has lectured and course convened at Macquarie University and tutored at the University of New South Wales.

Andrew Lindsay

Andrew Lindsay

Movement

Andrew is a graduate of the Lecoq Theatre School and was a participant in the LEM with Jacques Lecoq and Krikor Belekian, and the Sydney Morning Herald described their first work as "perfection". Andrew then co-founded Red Weather and worked as writer, performer and director. Credits include Canberra Theatre Company, Entr'acte, Kickhouse Theatre, Deckchair Theatre, Skylark Mask and Puppet Theatre, Gonghouse, and Ethnochip (Berlin). He is the author of The Breadmaker's Carnival and The Slapping Man, and most recently he co-wrote and performed Mermaids in the Well and The Devil's on my Shoulder with Kavisha Mazzella at Melbourne's La Mama Theatre.

Anna Howard

Anna Howard

Cinematography

Anna Howard started in the Australian Film Industry in 1981. After studying cinematography at North Sydney TAFE, she quickly became a camera assistant, working for some of Australia’s best cinematographers, including Peter James, Academy-Award winners Russell Boyd, Andrew Lesnie, and John Seale. 

In 1996 Anna started shooting her own projects and established herself as a highly sought after DOP in her own right. She’s well known for her ability to work with actors, and her subtle lighting and eye has caught the attention of many of the top directors in New Zealand and Australia, including that of Ray Lawrence and Gillian Armstrong.

In the last 18 years Anna has been busy working on many commercial and film projects in both countries, winning awards for her lighting and images in advertising and film.

Her credits include features such as South Solitary and Errors of the Human Body; Rake, and Marking Time for television; and documentaries Woman He’s Undressed and Girl in a Mirror. Anna was granted an ACS Accreditation in 2004.

Bryan Coelho

Bryan Coelho

Cinematography

Bryan Coelho is a Sydney-based award-winning director and cinematographer with over 10 years’ experience working in the industry. Bryan has directed a variety of work including TVCs, short films and music videos, his short films travelling on both the domestic and international circuits. He has also worked extensively as a cinematographer and television editor for shows such as Mythbusters, Wrecks to Riches and Hard Shine. With his hands-on approach Bryan is focused on the future of the Australian industry, driving forward to produce powerful, emotive cinema.

Clare Heuston

Clare Heuston

Singing

Clare holds a BA (Hons) from Sydney University and an A.Mus.A from the AMEB. After directing several original music theatre works for The Native Rose Music Theatre Society, in 1998 she won the Lady Persia Galleghan Award for Operatic Voice at the Sydney Eisteddfod and made her musical debut at the National Lieder Society, singing with chamber music legend Rachel Valler (AM) at the piano. Since then she has performed as a recitalist all over NSW, as part of various ensembles featuring such instrumentalists as Fiona Ziegler (violin), Jocelyn Fazzone (flute) and Robert Johnson (French horn). In 2012, she wrote, performed in and composed music for her first play Televention which was produced at the King St Theatre, directed by Deborah Jones. In 2014, she composed and performed in Distilled with folk pop act The Slow Days, as part of the Sydney Fringe.

Courtney Farrow

Courtney Farrow

Administration Coordinator
Having completed her studies in Theatre and Stage Craft, Courtney sought a way to combine her passion for Australian creative content and helping others achieve their creative dreams. Courtney has found a home at AFTT supporting students in their pursuits to enter the Australian film/stage industry and beyond. Her background is in Theatre, Facilities and Customer Service.
David Caesar

David Caesar

Screenwriting & Directing

A graduate of AFTRS, David has written and directed five feature films, including Idiot Box, Dirty Deeds and Mullet, which won the AWGIE for Best Original Screenplay in 2001, and Best Direction at the Shanghai Film Festival in 2002. His film Prime Mover won the Queensland Literary Award for Best Original Screenplay in 2009.

He has also directed over 100 hours of television drama, including Rush, Underbelly: Razor, Phryne Fisher and Underbelly: Badness. Most recently he co-wrote and co-directed the mini-series Power Games for Channel 9 and is currently directing Nowhere Boys the Movie for Matchbox Pictures.

Deborah Jones

Deborah Jones

Acting

Deborah gained a Diploma of Performance in 1995, from the inaugural graduating class of the Actors College of Theatre and Television, (ACTT). Since then, Deborah has not only worked as an actor but also as a director, producer and teacher. Her acting credits are numerous, some of which include: Rake, Love Child and Redfern Now for TV; and on stage, Mother Clap’s Molly House (New Theatre), Apples & Pears (Old 505), Thank You for Being a Friend (Comedy Store), The Art of Success (Pact Theatre), Holiday in the Sun (Sidetrack Theatre), Baby With the Bath Water (Bondi Pavilion), and Anthology, Hungry (Stables Theatre).

Deborah’s directing credits include The Women (New Theatre), Five Women Wearing the Same Dress (Tap Gallery), Televention (King Street Theatre), Tidy Town of the Year (Old Fitzroy), Wind in the Willows (Haven), and Cosi (Haven). 

In 2016, Deborah is playing Sister George in The Killing of Sister George (King St Theatre). 

Dr Mark Seton

Dr Mark Seton

Actors Wellbeing

Dr Mark Seton is an Honorary Research Associate at The University of Sydney. He lectures on stage and screen performance histories and practices. His research interests include the psychological wellbeing of performing artists, ethical teaching and research practices in higher education creative and performing arts, and discourses of spirituality. Alongside membership of the editorial board of the international Journal of Applied Arts and Health, Mark is Chair of the Human Research Ethics Committee for the Australian College of Theology and is on the advisory panel of the Australian Society for Performing Arts Healthcare. 

Farlie Goodwin

Farlie Goodwin

Course Supervisor- Live Production

Farlie trained as a stage manager at The London Academy of Music and Dramatics Arts (LAMDA). She has worked in events and stage management since 2000, working in both Australia and Europe.

Her theatre credits include: Heathers, the Musical (Sydney); Eugene Onegin (Norway); This Fella, My Memory (Sydney); Moving Parts, (Sydney); Billy Elliot (Sydney); Snugglepot and Cuddlepie (Sydney); Blackbird (London); Far Pavilions (London); The Full Monty (UK); and The Boyfriend (UK). Event credits include: Opening Ceremony of the Youth Winter Olympics, Lillehammer; Vanfest; Parramasala Festival; Yellamundie Festival; and the Sydney Royal Easter Show: Main Arena.

Farlie is honoured to be imparting her knowledge and passion of stage management to the students of AFTT.

Fiona Reid

Fiona Reid

Equipment Manager

In 2006 Fiona gained her Masters degree in Film & TV at the University of Edinburgh’s Edinburgh College of Art and gravitated towards specializing in documentary Editing. 

She gained her first broadcast credit as an editor with A Story about Hope in 2003 with STV for their Artery series. Since then Fiona has been editing documentaries for independent production companies and has added BBC, Channel4 and SBS (Australia) to her list of broadcast credits.

Additionally, films she has worked on have enjoyed successes in film festivals worldwide. Bon Voyage won the Venus of Badalona award for best documentary at the Festival Filmets Badalona in Barcelona. The Great Flood was re-selected for Sheffield Doc/Fest as part of their 20th year anniversary.
Other projects have screened in official selections at film festivals including Edinburgh, Seattle, Milano and HotDocs.

Fiona is the full time Equipment Manager here at AFTT.  Whilst providing continuous technical support for teaching and film productions, her editing background ensures that she can assist with the navigation through, and problem solving of workflows of the varied nature of productions that AFTT’s students produce.

George Markakis

George Markakis

Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

Bachelor of Business - University of Technology

George Markakis started in accounting and business over 20 years ago. George has studied and worked in a number of business areas, including but not limited to compliance, business advice and management practices. He is a qualified member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants.

He has been a key member in all accreditation and re-accreditation processes for vocational and higher education, and was integral in the expansion of the College into Victoria in 2000 and Queensland in 2008.George has overseen the growth of the College, from being a single campus vocational education provider with just over 200 students to a private Higher Education provider across three states, over 15 qualifications and in excess of 1,600 students. 


George is a member of the Australian Council of Private Education and Training (ACPET) Finance Committee, a judge for the AIMIA awards (Australian Interactive Multimedia Industry Awards), a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a fellow of the Taxation Institute of Australia and is currently undertaking a Professional Doctorate with University of New England.

Glen Hamilton

Glen Hamilton

Course Director - Acting

Glen is Course Director at the Academy of Film Theatre and Television and is an experienced teacher, director, producer and arts professional. He has directed over one hundred theatre productions, including small independent shows, touring performances and a range of fringe and festival productions.
As an arts professional, Glen founded his touring theatre restaurant business, Leading Arts in 2006, producing original theatre restaurant shows to more than forty venues across Sydney and regional NSW. Through his own business, Glen has also developed and facilitated training services to a range of medium and large corporate clients as well as successful community acting and performance programs.
Glen’s expertise has been recognized by Bauer Media, through his invitation to judge the Most Outstanding awards for the TV Week Logie Awards, for the past five years. He has also accepted judging appointments with the Short and Sweet Festival, and Sydney Festival.
Glen defines a successful career in the performing arts where the skills of performance, creativity and innovation are brought together to develop the actor not only as a versatile, dynamic and spirited performer, but as an artistic entrepreneur, able to claim their unique space in an exciting and challenging industry.

Jill Brown

Jill Brown

Voice

Jill Brown is an acting graduate from Theatre Nepean (Western Sydney University), studied singing at the NSW Conservatorium of Music and has a Masters in theatre studies from UNSW. Jill has 30 years’ experience as a professional singer/ actor and has directed numerous theatre productions. She was the head of voice studies and a lecturer in performance at Theatre Nepean for ten years, and studied and performed with Roy Hart Theatre (France) as well as producing the Australian tours of company members (2010, 2012 and 2013). Jill is Artistic Director and conductor of a cappella ensemble Let it Go Edith. Jill has taught voice and coached voice skills in productions at AFTT since 2011. 

John L Simpson

John L Simpson

Marketing & Distribution

John L. Simpson is a graduate of the Masters of screen arts and business course from AFTRS, with a BA in performing arts. He is an award-winning creative producer/ distributor with over thirty years’ experience working in the performing arts arena. As a producer, John L. began working in film with Al Clark (Chopper, Priscilla Queen of The Desert), and on Thunderstruck, before producing Razzle Dazzle and Mike Bullen’s directorial debut Amorality Tale

John L. was also the co-writer and producer of the powerful film Men’s Group, winner of the Digispaa, Spaartan Award, and winner of Best Film, Best Actor and Best Script at the 2008 Inside Film Awards. 

John L. launched distribution and production company Titan View in 2007, in order to bring important Australian films to Australian and international audiences. Titan View’s first release, The Jammed, was the highest grossing independent Australian film on screen average ever, during its opening two weeks. In recent years, John L. pioneered in distributing the first international co-production between China and Australia to be released in Australia and New Zealand – 33 Postcards – starring Guy Pearce.

John O'Hare

John O'Hare

Acting

Renowned WAAPA and QUT graduate John O'Hare was Head of Acting and course supervisor at ACTT for fourteen years, and is co-founder of O'Punksky's Theatre Co. One of Sydney's premiere companies, O’Punksky’s received numerous awards and industry accolades, including the Sydney Critics Award for Best Actor, Best Director and Best Production.

John has been an integral part of the Australian theatre, film and television scene for three decades, working as an actor, director, producer and teacher for ABC TV, Channel 7, TEN, The Nine Network, Channel 4, Palm Beach Pictures and Fox Studios, Belvoir St, Sydney Theatre Company, Griffin Theatre, Melbourne Theatre Company and Playbox.

Production awards include Irish Times Critics Award, four Green Room Awards, two Glugs Theatrical Awards, a Logie and an AFI nomination. 

Karel Segers

Karel Segers

Screenwriting

Karel Segers wrote his first produced screenplay at the age of 17. Today, he is a story consultant, writer and producer, with experience in film rights acquisition, development and production. Karel is a certified teacher whose lectures have inspired students in Australia, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. His clients include award-winning filmmakers, as well as three Oscar nominees. 

Karel is the founder of The Story Department and www.Logline.it! and he ranks in the world's Top 10 of most influential people for screenwriting on Twitter.

Kate Hankin

Kate Hankin

Acting

Kate teaches The Eric Morris System at AFTT. She is a graduate of ACTT’s Advanced Diploma of Stage and Screen Acting and studied at NIDA’s Young Actors Studio. She spent two years training directly under Eric and Susana Morris in Los Angeles and returns to the States regularly. Screen appearances include the feature film While We Were, directed by Robert Roa, and I Rock on ABC. Theatre credits include: the Griffin Theatre playoffs; The Tempest directed by John O'Hare; The Happy House Show directed by Kate Gaul; Other Times with Judy Farr; and A Midsummer Night's Dream, under Anna Volska. 

Kim Ramsay

Kim Ramsay

Production Support

Kim fell in love with the medium of film at the ripe old age of five when she first saw the movie Jaws. That initial moment of inspiration provoked her to dedicate her life to filmmaking. She began her film career as a continuity woman working on independent feature films such as Bitter & Twisted, Gabriel, Left Ear and over 40 short films. 

Going on to pursue a path as a storyteller, she has written and directed seven short films, which have collectively screened at over 60 festivals internationally and received 22 awards. Her work has screened on The Comedy Channel, Foxtel and SBS.

In 2012, she directed IFSS Uncut, a four-part TV series for Foxtel about the craft of short filmmaking, which screened primetime on Sunday nights.

In the past few years she has worked extensively in the field of documentary creating powerful stories for non-profits and charities such as CanTeen, CerebralPalsy Alliance and The Cancer Council, as well as directing TVCs and branded content. 

She is currently in post-production on a feature documentary about the empowerment of women in Nepal which will premiere mid 2016. 

Kyle Rowling

Kyle Rowling

Stage Combat

Kyle is a professional actor, director, weapons master and fight director with over 25 years’ experience in martial arts. He has trained, choreographed and performed stage combat for STC, Opera Australia, Ensemble Theatre, Belvoir St, Marion St, Bell Shakespeare, the David Atkins Group, Sydney Shakespeare Globe and more. He teaches regularly at AFTT and has worked in many theatre and film productions including Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith as Christopher Lee's fight double, Eric Bana's personal weapons trainer for Troy, fight director and performer for Pan at Sydney's Capitol Theatre, and the New York tour of STC's The White Devil.

Leng Te

Leng Te

International Communications Manager

Leng looks after marketing and communications for all international-related activities at JMC Academy. She joined the JMC Academy team in 2010 with experience in international education marketing in the language school, vocational education and higher education sectors.

Her interest in the creative industries has seen her release a few music projects, publish a book and spend a year working for an arts production company. Leng serves on the boards of Tabor Victoria and Candlelight Productions.

Lex Marinos

Lex Marinos

Acting

Lex studied Drama at the University of NSW, and later with renowned American acting teacher, Stella Adler. Since then he has worked in all areas of the entertainment industry as an actor, director, writer, broadcaster and teacher. He is best known for his television performances in Kingswood Country and The Slap, as well as other series, films and countless stage productions. Lex has also worked extensively on ABC radio, and has held many advisory and governance positions with arts and cultural organizations including SOCOG, The Australia Council, and Community Broadcasting Foundation. His memoir, Blood and Circuses, was published by Allen & Unwin in 2014.  

Lucia Mastrantone

Lucia Mastrantone

Movement

Lucia has enjoyed a successful and varied career in theatre, film and television with an extensive list of credits as an actor, physical performer/ movement director, movement teacher, writer and voice artist. She toured nationally and internationally with physical theatre companies such as Legs on The Wall, NYID and in Shaun Parker’s Blue Love and the internationally acclaimed physical theatre piece Verona for Magpie Theatre Co. 

As an actress she has worked with many of Australia’s major theatre companies including Belvoir St Theatre Co, Bell Shakespeare Company, Sydney Theatre Company’s Romeo and Juliet, Griffin Theatre Co., STCSA and MTC. In film and television Lucia was seen in the John Edward’s award-winning TV series Tangle and in AFI-winning film Look Both Ways. Lucia worked on the very successful production of The Baulkham Hills African Ladies Troupe as an associate director and movement director. This production was critically acclaimed and won The Humanitarian of The Year award, and toured the WOW festival, London and Sydney. She is co-starring in a Working Dog animation called Pacific Heat released early 2016. Her teaching experience at AFTT has spanned across 18 years and keeps her inspired to always be reinvigorated and keep abreast of performing arts industry trends.

Luke Eve

Luke Eve

Directing & Producing

Luke is an award-winning producer and director who began his career working as a freelance photographer. His passion for film lead him to form his own production company More Sauce. Over the years the company has produced multiple award-winning short films, music videos and online series. His short film Australian Summer was the winner of Tropfest and his recent online series Low Life, which he co-created, co-produced and directed, has won a dozen major international awards. In the meantime, Luke has directed several television series including Sex: An Unnatural History, Great Southern Land, Julia Zemiro's Home Delivery and The Elegant Gentleman's Guide to Knife Fighting. He currently splits his time between Sydney and LA directing high-end commercials for Sydney production company Playbig Film, while also developing a number of feature film projects both as a producer and director.

Luke Rogers

Luke Rogers

Acting

Luke Rogers is a theatre director, actor, producer and teaching artist. He is a graduate of NIDA (directing), Theatre Nepean (acting) and is the Artistic Director of Stories Like These. Luke has directed at Griffin Theatre Company, ATYP, Seymour Centre, Old Fitzroy Theatre, New Theatre and NIDA, and has worked with many drama schools including ACTT, Sydney Theatre School, CQUniversity, Actors Centre and AIM Dramatic Arts. Previous positions include Resident Studio Artist with Griffin Theatre Company (2014), Theatre Manager of New Theatre (2007 - 2012) and the Artistic Director of The Spare Room. 

Lyn Norfor

Lyn Norfor

Producing

Lyn is one of the three founding partners of Emerald Productions (2009), a boutique film and television production company with a slate of original projects across feature film and television drama, comedy and documentary. Lyn currently has 4 feature films in development, including two – Undertow (writer/director Miranda Nation) and Bereft (writers Andy Cox and Ranald Allan) – funded through Screen Australia.

Lyn's credits as a producer encompass drama and documentary film and television productions. Her films, including On The Loose, have won numerous awards and screened at the Sydney Film Festival and the Sundance Film Festival.

Lyn was selected for Screen Australia’s Springboard program (2011-12) for debut features with writer/director Miranda Nation for their psychological thriller Undertow. Lyn and Miranda’s Springboard-funded short film, Perception, won best Short Film in the Dendy Awards at the Sydney Film Festival, has been nominated for Best Short Film in the AACTA Awards and selected for screening in the Clermont-Ferrand Film Festival in 2014. Undertow received script development funding from Screen Australia.

The Love Song of Iskra Prufrock (writer/director Lucy Gaffy) won 12 international and domestic short film awards, screened at over 60 international film festivals and was nominated for an Australian Film Institute award for Best Short Film. Lyn and Lucy are recipients of Screen NSW’s Emerging Filmmakers Fund for their next short film, The Gift, which is about to launch on the festival circuit.

Marcus Cole

Marcus Cole

Screenwriting & Directing

Marcus Cole is an award-winning drama director, scriptwriter and script editor with thirty years’ experience. He has directed mini-series, telemovies and episodic television in Australia and the United States, Britain and Europe, working with such actors as Naomi Watts, Guy Pearce, Walton Goggins, James Earl Jones, Lauren Bacall and Sir John Mills.

A graduate of AFTRS, he has twice been Acting Head of the directing workshop at AFTRS, has worked as a Project Manager at The Australian Film Commission, a script assessor at Screen Australia, and is a visiting tutor at NIDA and TAFTA.

Michelle Dado

Michelle Dado

Production Design

Michelle is a NIDA design graduate designing for film, TV and theatre since 1988. She has lectured in design at AFTRS, SFS and IFSS from 2006 until the present. Michelle is currently developing an online and for-broadcast natural world issues series.
    
Michelle’s production and costume design credit highlights include the films: Scratch (2013); Soulmates (2006;) and The Easter Tide (2003); TV shows: Living Black (SBS); Sports Tonight (TEN); Saturday Disney; Roy and HG’sThe Monday Dump; The Cream; Denton; and The Wiggles (7 Network); production design for: Nickelodeon; The Lifestyle Channel; Channel V; Arena; XYZ Entertainment; and Foxtel; and theatre shows: The Life and Music of Stevie Wright and The Easybeats; Lovers at Versailles (Sydney Opera House); Marmalade and Egg (Perth Theatre Company); Shadow of the Eagle; Stories from Suburban Road (Ensemble Theatre/ Perth Theatre Company); Fully Committed; The Shoe Horn Sonata (Ensemble Theatre); and Europe (The Stables). 

Over the last 25 years, Michelle has production-designed numerous theatre productions, TV shows and pilots, special events, expos, conferences, promos, press launches, exhibitions, cyber casts and festivals here, in the USA and the UK. 

From 1988 - 1993 Michelle worked in the art and costume departments of multiple prime time television shows and feature films in the USA and the UK including Star Trek, Batman, Cheers, Dynasty, LA Law and Murder She Wrote.

Miro Bilbrough

Miro Bilbrough

Screenwriting & Directing

Miro trained as a curator of contemporary art and was employed as an art critic, however after migrating from New Zealand to Australia in 1990 she began writing poetry and film scripts.
 
Her film debut as writer-director was with the award-winning short Urn (1995), which enjoyed a theatrical release and a strong festival life internationally. Later she made the award-winning Bartleby (2001) and the short feature Floodhouse (2003), which was nominated for three AFIs and an AWGIE, and was broadcast by Arte/ZDF in France and Germany and by SBS in Australia. 

Her feature film Being Venice (2012) premiered at the Sydney Film Festival, and was nominated for The Age Critics Award. Internationally, it premiered in competition at Mannheim-Heidelberg IFF, has been broadcast by Arte/ZDF and enjoyed theatrical release in New Zealand.
 
Miro has written for animation and docu-drama. Animation Bad Baby Amy was nominated for a BAFTA in 2002, while docu-dramas Carcrash (1994) and The Fifth Continent (1998) were short-listed for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. More recently she has written voice-over narrations for Neil Oliver in Coast Australia, series 1 and 2.
 
Her script editing credits include Kim Mourdant’s The Rocket, a multiple winner at Berlinale 2013, and Kathy Drayton’s critically acclaimed documentary about Australian photographer Carol Jerems, Girl In A Mirror (2005).

Miro is currently developing her feature screenplay Joyriding as part of a creative arts doctorate at Western Sydney University. As a poet she is widely published online, in literary journals and in her debut collection Small-Time Spectre.

Nicole Leiva

Nicole Leiva

International Student Recruitment & Admissions Officer

BACHELOR OF EDUCATION

Nicole is the first point of contact for international students applying to study at JMC Academy. She has over five years of experience working in international education and thrives in diverse, multicultural environments.
 
Nicole has always been drawn to the creative industries and has a keen interest in music and film. In her role as International Admissions and Recruitment Officer at JMC Academy, Nicole is able to combine her passion for international education and the entertainment industry by guiding prospective international students to pursue their goals within the creative industries.

Nour Hope Lawrence

Nour Hope Lawrence

Student Recruitment Advisor

With over ten years’ experience in both the film industry as well as corporate events, Nour is passionate about the creative arts and entertainment industry. Hailing from Egypt and the Netherlands, but raised in Singapore, Nour has a strong understanding of new beginnings and the importance of support networks. Her role as Student Recruitment Advisor sees Nour assist and guide prospective students through their journey from application to their first day at AFTT. 

Patricia Rowling

Patricia Rowling

Stage Combat

A graduate of The Sydney Acting School, UNSW and Charles Sturt University, Patricia has an impressive roll call of experience. Her theatre credits include: 11 seasons of Shakespeare by the Sea; The Women of Troy (Sydney Theatre Co); Actors at Work and The Comedy of Errors (Bell Shakespeare); Canute Production’s Shakespeare on Trial and Soldier Boy; Cut Theatre’s Queen Lere; Wendy Darling in Pan (Capitol Theatre); and Bard On The Beach. Her TV credits include: Tricky Business (Nine Network); All Saints (Channel 7); and Double the Fist (ABC). Film credits include: Phobos: Fear Kills; and Domestic. Patricia is a dance choreographer, a certified stage combat instructor, and Artistic Director of Bard on the Beach.

Paul Barakat

Paul Barakat

Screenwriting & Directing

Paul has been under the spell of cinema since he accidentally saw ‘Taxi Driver’ at the age of 8. That same year, his parents took he and his siblings to war-torn Beirut to see their ancestral homeland before it completely imploded. They also went to Disneyland. 

The absurdity of these vastly different experiences profoundly influenced Paul’s work and life. He has been an ardent student and practitioner of many facets of the screen craft, beginning his career in his late teens as a freelance camera operator and editor.

As a filmmaker, he has written, produced and directed numerous award-winning short films, including ’Squalor’, ‘Pavel’ and ‘Fragments’, which took him to New York in 2005. 

Paul is also a former graduate of IFSS. He returned to the school to teach screenwriting and within two years, he was promoted to the Head of Teaching, overseeing the development of the school curriculum and managing the faculty and students.

In 2014, Paul decided to pursue a screenwriting opportunity in Los Angeles after his pitch for an original TV series, ‘Zealot’, garnered strong interest from multiple production companies. He was mentored by leading industry consultant and former TV exec, Jen Grisanti, who championed the project. During his time in LA, Paul also had a chance meeting with a well-known U.S. director, who gave him an opportunity to write a feature screenplay. The film is currently in financing stage. 

In 2015, he was commissioned to create the multi-platform sci-fi project ‘Gish’, through which he developed his first comic book with artist 
Marcelo Baez. After securing finance for his low-budget feature film, Paul is set to direct the production at the end of 2016.

He is also a professionally trained actor, having appeared in local and international productions, including ‘ East West 101’, ‘ Love My Way’ and ‘Farscape’, as well as numerous TVC's and stage productions. 

Besides sharing his passion and knowledge of the craft as a tutor, Paul also works as a script consultant for multiple screenwriters and directors across the globe.

Peter Gainey

Peter Gainey

Director of International Services

Master of Education (International Education) - Monash University

Peter Gainey is responsible for overseeing all international initiatives, including outbound and inbound mobility of staff and students, offshore and onshore pathway partnerships, and offshore course delivery initiatives.  
 
Peter’s previous roles included directing the Wollongong, Flinders and New England universities’ Japan office and the Australian National University’s Asia regional office.  His extensive independent consulting experience focused on developing international student recruitment channels, profile raising and brand building in new markets, sourcing transnational education opportunities, institution linkage development, and market entry strategising and implementation. 

Richard Michalak

Richard Michalak

Cinematography

Richard Michalak has been shooting film since 1969 and has worked in the film industry since 1973. He has shot 18 feature films and many commercials, music videos and documentaries, gaining a wealth of experience shooting in many countries and all budgets and formats.

Richard was a successful, award-winning student director and cinematographer at AFTRS when he completed the course in 1980. He then concentrated on cinematography for 30 years but is once again branching back into writing, producing and directing. From this he brings a broad understanding of the cinematography process from all angles.

Ryan Tate

Ryan Tate

Stage Management

A graduate of ACTT and The University of Wollongong, Ryan has worked in events and stage management in both Australia and Britain. Australian theatre credits include: Strictly Ballroom The Musical; Hot Shoe Shuffle; Priscilla Queen of the Desert; Hedwig and the Angry Inch; and Bell Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. His British theatre credits include: 42nd Street; The King and I; Singin’ in the Rain; and Cameron Mackintosh’s Hair: The Musical. He was also Venue Coordinator for the 2012 London Olympic Games opening and closing ceremonies.

Samantha (Sam) McLean

Samantha (Sam) McLean

Campus Manager

Thanks to her extensive background in customer service, administration, hospitality and film & tv makeup,  Sam brings a broad range of experience and expertise – both creative and commercial – to her role as AFTT’s Campus Manager.
Sam has undertaken a number of different roles at the film school since 2008 (Enrolments & Administration Officer to Admin Coordinator, to Course Operations Manager, and everything in between), she has a unique and  thorough understanding of the processes required to keep the Academy running smoothly. Sam has lived and breathed every moment of her exhilarating journey with the Academy of Film, Theatre and Television.
In 2018, Sam took on the role of Campus Manager, and oversees all the day-to-day operations at our Holt Street Campus.

Sean O'Riordan

Sean O'Riordan

Acting

Originally from London, Sean graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. After working on the London stand-up circuit he toured the UK for six years, playing everything from Macbeth to Captain Hook. 

In Sydney he worked with the Sydney Theatre Company with is Shakespeare detective show, before joining AFTT and forming Barestage Theatre – writing, directing, producing, and performing in many plays. He teaches/ directs for a number of Sydney schools and companies and his film credits include Candy with Heath Ledger, and The Man Who Sued God with Billy Connolly.    

Steve Wright

Steve Wright

Screenwriting

Steve has worked as a writer since 1983. During that time he has written books, plays, feature films and television series. His books include the detective stories: Love; Avalon; A Drop in The Ocean; A Break in the Traffic; and his comic novel The Life of Riley. He has also co-written a biography of stuntman Grant Page, titled Man on Fire: A Stunt of a Life. And he has made significant editorial contributions to several books: What the Mother Knew by Edmund Tadros; and Ashbygate by Ross Jones. His plays include Did Somebody Say Something About a Drink Of Bourbon, and The Joke. His credits for television include episodes of: Special Squad; Rafferty’s Rules; Police Rescue; Mortified; and Stringer, which he also co-created. He wrote the feature film Lilian’s Story, adapted from the novel by Kate Grenville, and provided additional script material for the feature Risk. His latest project to air on television is Old School, which he co-created. It was nominated for an AWGIE for Best Mini-Series in 2014. 

Steve has also script edited a number of award winning programs: Mortified received an AFI for Best Children’s Series and was nominated for an International Emmy; and Lenny Cahill Shoots Through won an AFI for best Television Original and an AWGIE for Best Short Film. Steve has been nominated for an AWGIE twice: Lilian’s Story – Best Adapted Screenplay, and Mortified – Best Children’s Television ‘C’ Classification.

He has assessed scripts for the private and public sector and has taught screenwriting at a number of institutions including NIDA and AFTRS. He holds a BA from the Canberra College of Advanced Education in Professional Writing and is a graduate of the one-year screenwriting course at AFTRS and the NIDA Playwright’s Studio. He is currently working on a feature – Friends Upstairs – as well as several television series, and continues to write regular commercials for CHOICE, Australia’s leading consumer advocacy group.

Virginia Ferris

Virginia Ferris

Dance

Virginia is a choreographer, artistic director, adjudicator, dance tutor and event coordinator specialising in contemporary choreography, musical theatre and jazz styles. As a classical ballet dancer for the Tasmanian Ballet Company, Virgina has performed as a TV and film dancer, as a musical theatre performer in shows such as Hello Dolly, and Dancin’ Man, and as a contemporary performer for Company in Flight (San Francisco). She has also choreographed and performed with Frank Sinatra, Kylie Minogue, Peter Allen, Marilyn Jones, KD Lang, Kath & Kim, Bob Downe, Keith Bain and Jimmy Somerville to name a few. 

Career highlights include: City of Sydney Chinese New Year 2016 (Performance Director); Dance Fusion Red Earth Arts Festival 2015 (Artistic Director); Daft Punk Launch 2013 (Creative Consultant); The McDonald College (Head of Dance); Gay Games 2002 (Director of Choreography); Australian Dance Awards for Ausdance (Director); and Superleague Launch (Choreographer).

Winston Cooper

Winston Cooper

Acting

Winston is an MFA graduate from Queensland University of Technology. With 20 years’ professional experience, he is an acclaimed performer who has trodden the boards in major, indie and regional theatres across Australia and New Zealand. He has also filmed television and feature film roles screened nationally and internationally, and has been awarded Best Actor recognition at a number of international festivals.   

Winston has an inherent passion to empower artists in their technique, and help them understand what makes them tick as an artist. He looks to inspire dynamic and honest performances, as well as addressing the welfare of the actor on and off the stage. He considers it his personal goal to see actors flourish.   

Woody Naismith

Woody Naismith

Course Director - Film

For almost two decades Woody’s acting roles in film, theatre and television have not only nurtured his dramatic instinct, they’ve allowed him to explore the dramatic arts extensively. He’s worked on productions in Australia, Tahiti, Japan, UK and America before a five-year stint in which he called Hollywood home. Here his acting branched into teaching and  film production. 

As a teacher, Woody desires to encourage others to understand their empathetic self by attaining the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. Woody aims to inspirer his students to evolve their artist voice, their creativity and to develop a strong point of view through teaching them a true understanding of themselves and how they relate to their craft. 

Having written, produced and directed fashion videos, art films, short films, behind the scenes, and commercials, Woody has become an experienced camera operator, editor and colorist. Woody has a keen eye for capturing moments and conveying visually appealing and interesting stories. His work both in front of and behind the camera gives him a great sensibility and understanding of film production. 

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