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Ambassadors

Screenrights Ambassadors are a group of filmmakers who passionately promote the film/TV production industry, understand Screenrights’ mission, provide intellectual leadership and inspire the next generation of filmmakers. The following people have accepted the Board's invitation to represent Screenrights as Ambassadors.

Vincent Burke

“What has always attracted me since the early days are stories about real people, stories that count.”

And throughout his incredible career Vincent Burke has brought just such stories to the screen. Setting up his own company, Top Shelf Productions in 1988, he earned international acclaim early on with inspirational documentaries like I Want to Die at Home (1990) and Cinema of Unease (1996).

From there he guided Top Shelf to greater successes and, with a slate of thought-provoking and entertaining documentaries and dramas, he’s seen the company through to become a well-established fixture in the New Zealand industry. He’s also branched out into the online sector as head of Choice TV.

On the importance of Screenrights, Vincent says, “I think the overall role Screenrights plays is really important for Australasia,” Vincent says. “It provides another important voice for independent filmmakers.”

Vincent himself has long been an advocate for the industry, culminating in being awarded SPADA’s Industry Champion 2012, and he also hopes to make a significant contribution as a Screenrights Ambassador, “We’ve had a long association,” he says, “we’ve been members for a long time and it’s time to give something back.”

Ian Collie

Ian and Essential Media are long time supporters of Screenrights. “Not only does Screenrights provide an invaluable income stream for Australian producers, but through Enhance TV and other publicity measures it helps promote local programming to schools and bridges the gap between the media and educational sectors”, says Ian.

Ian Collie is a producer and partner at Essential Media & Entertainment, makers of television documentary and drama programming. Ian was an executive director of the Arts Law Centre of Australia and then the Australian Directors Guild as well as a former solicitor.

His credits include the popular ABC series Rake starring Richard Roxburgh and the  telemovies Hell Has Harbour Views and Stepfather of the Bride, and various documentaries including On Trial, The Making of Modern Australia, Whatever! The Science of Teens, Rogue Nation, The Catalpa Rescue, A Case for the Coroner, Art House, The Shadow of Mary Poppins, and The Original Mermaid.

Ian is currently producing the ABC drama mini series Jack Irish starring Guy Pearce and in 2012 he will produce Rake 2.

Melanie Coombs

“I am delighted to be an Ambassador for Screenrights. Screenrights is a win-win organisation: it helps audiences find Australian film and screen content, and it helps filmmakers by actually making sure that they get paid. It doesn’t get better than that!” said Melanie Coombs

Melanie Coombs is joint owner of Optimism Film, a new film production company. Joining forces are 3 award-winning creative producers who champion talent, push boundaries and enjoy the process: Mish Armstrong (Movie Mischief), Alicia Brown (Honeymooner) and Melanie Coombs (Melodrama Pictures). Optimism are proudly Australian Film and TV storytellers - their credits belie this. They have offices in Melbourne and London, to bring Australian stories into wider circulation.  Optimism brings Australian talent back home.  Alongside their slate of dynamic and distinctive projects, they offer a different approach to project development with their own fund, and their unique approach to industry mentoring and training, Learned Optimism.

Melanie has produced award winning shorts, animation, documentaries and features since 1999 under her Melodrama Pictures banner.  Harvie Krumpet won 2003 Academy Award ® for Best Short Animation.  Mary and Max, opened 2009 Sundance, won Grand Cristal at Annecy and the Asia Pacific Screen Award APSA Best Animated Film 2009 and released worldwide. Melanie was awarded Screen Producers Association of Australia SPAA Feature Film Producer of 2009 Award.

Veronica Fury

Veronica Fury is a Principal and Executive Producer at WildBear Entertainment.

In 2003 she produced two QPIX documentaries for ABC as part of the Odd Jobs initiative.  After a stint at Network Ten in Brisbane she produced (with Mark Chapman for Big Island Pictures) a one-hour historical documentary for SBS TV entitled Black Soldier Blues (dir Nicole McCuaig) which was short-listed for the NSW Premier’s Award in 2006.

After setting up Fury Productions she completed a two part series titled The Glamour Game (dir/s Susan Lambert & Aviva Ziegler) for SBS in 2007 and produced Fairweather Man in 2008 (dir Aviva Ziegler) for ABC, which won the 2010 NSW Premier’s Award for best Script. Fury then went on to produce World Champion Santa (dir David Downey) for ABC in 2009. In 2011, Fury completed The Trouble with St Mary’s (dir Peter Hegedus) for ABC and The Curse of the Gothic Symphony (dir Randall Wood) which premiered at MIFF and will be broadcasted on ABC next year. Recently, her project Machete Maidens Unleashed! (dir Mark Hartley) for ABC and 2010 MIFF Premier Fund premiered at Toronto in 2011.

Fury is currently producing Bringing Uncle Home for ABC and a children’s series, Dancing Down Under (dir Susan Lambert) for ABC3 and First Fagin (dir Helen Gaynor) for MIFF Premiere Fund.

Megan McMurchy

Megan McMurchy is an independent producer with almost thirty years experience in the Australian film and television industry, most recently producing Khoa Do’s feature film Footy Legends. Her other feature credits are Breathing Under Water and Talk, while her documentary productions include Remembering Rain, Mr Patterns, Sadness, Mystique Of The Pearl, For All The World To See, and For Love Or Money.

Megan's company, SuitCase Films produced the series Fine Line and Hybrid Life for SBS-TV and was series producer of the multi-platform series Fat Cow Motel for ABC-TV and Austar. She worked for several years as executive producer at Film Australia, and has served as director on the boards of Film Australia and the New South Wales Film and Television Office. She is currently engaged as Enterprise Manager for Screen Australia.

Megan enjoys mentoring emerging producers and always emphasises how important it is to register their productions for Screenrights. She comments, “It wasn’t until Fine Line returned so much Screenrights income to its investors that I realised what a difference it can make. I’m really pleased to be an ambassador for Screenrights so I can help spread the message to other producers.”

Jessica Wiseman

“I like being involved in the creation of a product that people really love and respond to,” says Jessica Wiseman, Legal and Business Affairs Manager at South Pacific Pictures. “When you’re in a law firm you don’t often see the end result of what people are working on, you’re just a part of a chain of advice people get. Here you really feel a part of something.”

Wiseman’s background is in intellectual property law. As a junior lawyer, Wiseman was drawn to entertainment law while at well-known New Zealand firms Kensington Swan and Chapman Tripp. She joined South Pacific Pictures in April 2008 and until recently was a member of the SPADA executive.

When asked about what she sees as some of the challenges facing the New Zealand film industry Jessica responds, “I think it’s probably the same as anywhere, it’s maintaining an economically sustainable business in the face of things like illegal file sharing, the global financial crisis and limited funding.  It’s really tough.”

Wiseman characterizes the importance of Screenrights as something more than just royalty payments. “It also answers a couple of those challenges, that in the face of illegal file sharing, Screenrights is an organization that’s out there encouraging people to be licensed and do things properly and you’re also returning revenue from doing that.” 

Ultimately, Jessica has come on board as a Screenrights ambassador to help others understand the work that we do, “I did find the concept of secondary revenues and how it all works confusing when I first started in the industry. I’m happy to help other people find their way through it.”

 

Tony Wright

"I run December Media, one of Australia’s most experienced companies in factual and documentary production. I have over 25 years experience in documentary, education, drama and animated children’s television development, financing and production.

"I enjoy what I do even as the times get tougher. For producers our job is to think laterally and always look to ways of getting our shows made and seen by the biggest audience we can. Domestically, our audience love Australian stories and delivering a high rating show I am proud of is a huge reward for all the hard work. Television in all its new forms is a part of the future. It is where most people will watch their movies in far greater numbers than go to the cinema.

"I have long been a big supporter of Screenrights once I realized that it effectively accesses a kind of ‘box office return’ on TV transmission. Now that Screenrights are not part of gross returns to Screen Australia there are plenty of reasons to sign up our productions."

Some of Tony's credits include:

Australia on Trial - 3 x 1 hour docudrama for ABC (Australia).

Immortal - 1 x one hour in Blue Chip Science documentary for ABC (Australia), NGTI (U.K.).

Catching Cancer - 1 x one hour in Blue Chip Science documentary for ABC (Australia), NGTI (U.K.)

The Extraordinary Tale of William Buckley - 1 x one hour docudrama for ABC (Australia)

Valentine’s Day - 1 x one hour Telemovie drama for ABC (Australia)

Captain Cook - Obsession & Discovery - 4 x one hour documentary series for ABC (Australia), Sky TV (New Zealand), History Television (Canada). (Australia/Canada Treaty co-production)

Family Footsteps - 8 x one hour factual series for ABC (Australia)

Carbon Cops - 6 x ½ hour factual series for ABC (Australia)

Revealing Gallipoli - 2 x one hour documentary series for ABC (Australia),S4C and S4C Int (Wales), RTÉ (Ireland), TRT (Turkey) and TVNZ (New Zealand)

Grey Voyagers - 6 x 1 hour documentary series for SBS (Australia), RTÉ (Ireland)

Plasmo - Animated children’s series for the ABC (Australia) (international co-production)

Li’l Horrors – 52 episode animated children’s series for the ABC (Australia) (internationally financed).