Check out our special guests at HRAFF 2017.
Benjamin Law is a journalist, columnist, TV screenwriter and author of two books – The Family Law (2010) and Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East (2012). Both were nominated for Australian Book Industry Awards. The Family Law is now an AACTA-nominated TV series for SBS.
Marti Salva is a visual FX artist based in Manila. He was awarded the 2011 grand prize in the Q Short Film Festival, Philippines, for his short film Anne. He currently works as a freelance visual FX artist for commercials and films, including the 2015 Cinema Ones original entry, Dayang Asu, which won the best cinematography award.
Santilla Chingaipe is a Zambian-born award-winning Journalist and documentary filmmaker based in Melbourne. She has spent seven years working as a journalist for SBS World News, reporting from Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania and Zambia, and also covering Australia’s diverse African community. Santilla recently presented a one-off television documentary, Date My Race, examining the role race plays when looking for love.
Amrita Hepi is a Bundjulung and Ngapuhi dancer and choreographer whose work explores transitional spaces, her rich cultural heritage and contemporary dance training. Amrita trained at the NAISDA Dance College and Alvin Ailey American Dance School and has exhibited and performed extensively in Australia and North America. Amrita is a member of Western Australia's Indigenous contemporary dance company OCHRES.
Hollie Fifer’s documentaries are inspired by the true life stories that are too bizarre and courageous too believe. Her short films include Children of the Rainbow Serpent (SBS), Common Ground (SBS), Corinna and Very Impressive. Hollie’s first feature film is The Opposition which premiered at Hot Docs in a redacted version before the full world premiere at IDFA 2016.
Genevieve Clay-Smith is leading the way of making the film industry accessible and inclusive. She is a millennial with a portfolio career that spans the film industry, not for profit space and advertising. She's an award-winning writer/director, with work showcased nationally and internationally – firmly placing her on the global stage. Genevieve is the 2015 NSW Young Australian of the Year and winner of the 2014 100 Women of Influence, Young Leader award.
Kaff-eine is an Australian street/contemporary artist and filmmaker. Her stylised street characters explore the imagined and unreal, while her studio portraits are rendered in photorealistic detail. As creative director and lead artist of Cheeseagle Projects, she is dedicated to making visual art projects with social impact, by collaborating with and sharing stories from marginalised, forgotten or invisible communities.
Sally Goldner’s eighteen years involvement in Victoria’s LGBTIQ communities includes Transgender Victoria (now Executive Director), co-facilitator of Transfamily, presenter of 3 CR’s “Out of the Pan” and Bisexual Alliance Victoria. She is a life member of 4 organisations, the 2015 LGBTI Victorian of the year and joined the Victorian Women’s Honour Roll in 2016.
Emily Cheesman is an Australian-Filipina filmmaker who has worked and volunteered in the not-for-profit sector for over 10 years. As creative director and producer of projects under the Cheeseagle banner, she is committed to exploring how the arts and storytelling can create social change.
Dr Shirleene Robinson is National Spokesperson and Director for Australian Marriage Equality and a historian at Macquarie University. She is the co-author of Gay and Lesbian, Then and Now: Australian Stories from a Social Revolution (2016), along with a range of other publications.
Meena Singh is the Associate Director, Aboriginal Services at Victoria Legal Aid. She is a Yorta Yorta woman of Indian descent, raised on Wurundjeri land, Melbourne. Meena started her legal career at VLA as an articled clerk and worked in criminal, human rights and civil law. She moved into developing professional legal education programs before becoming a consultant in organisational development, and vocational education and training. Meena has worked with the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service as Strategic Advisor and as Director, Legal and Strategy, heading up the legal team and policy responses. Her return to VLA in her current role sees her focus on strengthening how VLA services Aboriginal clients and community.
A passionate advocate for the African and Muslim community, Idil Ali is a Youth Activist Leader with Plan International, works at Drummond Street Services and is a member of RISE: Refugees, Survivors and Ex-detainees. Idil is currently heading up her local FREEZA VoiceFest and is proactively engaging local young women to facilitate their participation in the arts.
Jonathan Olshefski is a documentary filmmaker and artist. He strives to tell intimate and nuanced stories that honor his subjects’ complexity by employing a production process that emphasizes collaboration, dialogue, and relationship to amplify their voices and reflect their points of view in an artful way. He has an MFA in Film and Media Arts from Temple University and is currently an Associate Professor at Rowan University.
Tyson Wils is a lecturer in media and communication and has a taught in courses on human rights and screen. He has had work published in a range of academic books and journals and is the co-editor of Activist Film Festivals: Towards a Political Subject. He has also worked as Features Film Programmer at the Human Rights Arts & Film Festival.
Bobuq Sayed is a queer and non-binary writer, artist and community agitator of the Afghan diaspora. Bobuq co-edits Archer Magazine and is co-founder of the QTPoC activist collective, Colour Tongues, which organises the monthly initiative Bridgemeals for queer and trans refugees. His writing can be found in local and international publications.
Xen Nhà means 'stranger at home' and is the artist persona of Thanh Hằng Phạm. She is a việt lai artist, writer, & radio producer broadcasting skin through words. She writes about finding intimacy in unlikely places and has produced two award-nominated radio documentaries: Remotely Intimate (2016) and We Weren’t Born Yesterday (2015). Find her work at xennha.com.
Marion Lau is the Deputy Chairperson of the Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria and has vast experience in addressing ethnic health, ethnic aged care and many other issues relating to access and equity for all migrants. Marion received an Order of Australia Award for her work with older Australians and a Centenary Medal for services to multiculturalism.
Bentley Dean participated in the ABC-TV’s inaugural Race Around the World series in 1997. After working as a freelance director and cinematographer, he started making long form stories around the planet for SBS-TV’s Dateline in 2001. Bentley went on to make the award-winning documentaries Anatomy of a Coup, The President Versus David Hicks, The Siege and A Well-Founded Fear. In 2009, he teamed up with Martin Butler to make Contact, which won many awards around the world including an AFI for best feature documentary. In 2013 they completed First Footprints, winning many accolades including the 2014 Walkley award. Tanna in 2015 was Martin and Bentley’s first feature film and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
Felicity Marlowe is Convenor and Co-founder of Rainbow Families Victoria, current member of the Victorian Government's LGBTI Justice Working group and a long-term LGBTIQ advocate. A community campaigner, Felicity coordinated the successful Love Makes A Family and Adoption Equality campaigns leading to law reforms for Victorian rainbow families, as well as the Rainbow Families say No Plebiscite campaign in 2016.
Rebecca Langley volunteers her time at Amnesty International as part of the Indigenous Rights Campaign called Community is Everything. This is a campaign to reduce the number of Indigenous kids being incarcerated by focusing on Indigenous-led community solutions and putting pressure on State and Federal politicians to change discriminatory policies on youth justice. Rebecca engages with Victorian activists at Amnesty International on local strategy, decolonizing our solidarity and building partnerships with local Indigenous organisations.
Ruby Wharton is a 20 year old Gamilaraay Kooma woman from Cunnamulla, south-west Queensland and is based in Brisbane where she continues to advocate and fight for the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander people. Ruby is the youngest member of Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance- WAR and has been heavily involved in Aboriginal political activism since the young age of 15.
Lee Carnie is a lawyer at the Human Rights Law Centre specialising in LGBTI rights. Lee works closely with LGBTI community organisations to provide legal expertise and advocates for equal relationship recognition and marriage equality in Australia. Lee has experience on the boards of the Victorian Gay & Lesbian Rights Lobby and Fitzroy Legal Service and has worked for a range of community legal organisations.
A Cross-cultural Consultant, Tasneem was listed as one of ‘50 Women you Need to Know’ in this years Herald Sun International Women’s Day count, following a listing in Latte Magazine’s ‘2016 - Women to Watch’. Through her consultancy, she speaks across the private and public sector to issues of cultural competence, identity, gender, leadership and intersectional discrimination.
Dan Edwards is an independent scholar and writer based in Melbourne. From 2007–11 he lived in Beijing, China. He has taught Film Studies at universities in Melbourne and Sydney, and his writing has appeared both popular and academic publications, including The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney Review of Books and RealTime. His debut monograph, Independent Chinese Documentary: Alternative Visions, Alternative Publics, was published by Edinburgh University Press in 2015.