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8 FROM 8

31 Jul 2019,
5:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Australian Film Television and Radio School

Eight exciting Australian screen storytellers from each of Australia’s eight States and Territories give their unique perspectives on genesis and development of Australian stories in a digital age.

New technologies, new platforms and new audience demands are changing the ways that we conceive and create content. What do these rapid and dramatic shifts mean for Australian creatives today? What opportunities arise from this fast moving, digitising and increasingly global marketplace for stories?

Storytelling has been at the heart of the AFTRS’ mission since its inception in 1973. The school remains committed to finding, developing and supporting the storytellers of the future and leading debates about the nature of the stories we conceive, create and consume.


Niki Aken (ACT)
Kate Croser (SA)
Philip Denson (NT)
Martine Delaney (TAS)
Kelrick Martin (WA)
Lee May (QLD)
Natasha Pincus (VIC)
S. Shakthidharan (NSW)

Hosted by AFTRS Chair Russel Howcroft and followed by drinks.

If you can’t make it on the night, the event will be live streamed on the AFTRS Facebook page.

Questions? Contact events@aftrs.edu.au.

Niki Aken (ACT)

Niki Aken is a writer for television, working across drama and comedy.

Niki co-wrote The Hunting for SBS / Closer Productions, which premiered at Series Mania in 2019. Niki also script produced the highly anticipated comedy-drama series Upright, starring Tim Minchin, for Foxtel and Sky UK. Prior to this, Niki story-lined on series two and three of acclaimed legal thriller Janet King for ABC, as well as script editing the second series.

Niki co-wrote the WW1 mini-series ANZAC Girls, which won the Best Adapted Screenplay AWGIE (Australian Writers’ Guild Award) in 2014, and was the most watched Australian drama series on the ABC that year. She researched and wrote two episodes – including the finale – for the true-crime drama Underbelly: Badness, which was awarded the Best Original Miniseries AWGIE in 2013.

Niki was one of three Australian writers to adapt the U.S. thriller Chosen for Playmaker Media, which has clocked over 30 million views on Chinese streaming platform IQIYI. Other television work includes Why Are You Like This? for ABC, Hyde and Seek for Matchbox Pictures/Nine Network and The Secret Daughter for Screentime/Seven.

Kate Croser (SA)

Kate Croser is Head of Production and Development at KOJO and an award-winning producer whose previous work includes Wayne Blair’s rom com feature Top End Wedding (2019 Sundance Film Festival), supernatural drama feature film Boys in the Trees (2016 Venice Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival); critically acclaimed time travel comedy feature film The Infinite Man (2014 SXSW Film Festival); two seasons of SBS cult comedy television series Danger 5, both of which were nominated for Australian Academy Awards Best TV Comedy series; and the Australian-Iranian feature film collaboration My Tehran For Sale (2009 Toronto International Film Festival, 2009 IF Independent Spirit Award). She is currently producing climate change sci-fi thriller 2067 in association with We Are Arcadia’s Lisa Shaunessy, and children’s TV series First Day for ABC Me with Kirsty Stark’s Epic Films.

Philip Tarl Denson (NT)

Philip Tarl Denson is a screenwriter living in remote Northern Territory. Philip has optioned several screenplays in the US and has a number of feature film and television projects in development including his 2016 INSITE finalist script, Borderline, his NT Literary Award-winning script, Lucid, and his sci-fi feature, Singularity, based off his original theatre piece of the same name, moving towards production with Intrepid Pictures. Philip was recently selected to take part in Imagine Impact, a professional development initiative founded by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer under the auspices of Imagine Entertainment, developing an original science fiction television series titled Anomaly which has since attached producer Michael London at Groundswell Entertainment.

In 2018, Philip produced the animated online series Mining Boom with support from Screen Australia and Screen Territory garnering over 6 million views online and winning Best Animation at the LA Film Awards. Philip was also the winner of the NT Literary Award for Screenwriting, shortlisted for the 2016 John Hinde award for Science Fiction, Finalist in the 2016 INSITE award, finalist in the BlueCat Screenplay competition, finalist in the Fresh Voices Screenplay competition, quarter-finalist in the Nicholl Fellowship screenwriting contest and finalist in the 2017 Gateway LA ‘Aussie List’ of the best unproduced scripts by Australian writers.

Martine Delaney (TAS)

Occasionally known as the Sex-Change Soccer Star Cyber-Tranny Granny, in recent years Martine’s been an LGBTI advocate/lobbyist, a stand-up comic, briefly dead, a ghost tour guide, a book in the Hobart Human Library and a Greens candidate in a Federal election. All while, with her partner of fifteen years, raising a child who – almost twelve years ago – was abandoned at their home as a six-week old baby.

Aged 59, and frustrated by the lack of employers looking for an outspoken transgender employee, she tried writing a feature film two years ago. Weirdly, this first attempt was optioned and is now in slow development. And Martine entered a new world, one she still doesn’t really understand. She’s spent most of the time since working with Hobart’s Roar Film, on some very cool projects.

Her personal slate currently includes three feature projects – that original optioned project, another about a month away from delivering a script to producers, and a third sitting on a backburner with a LOI attached. With support from both Screen Australia and Screen Tasmania, she’s also developing a 3×1-hr documentary series on the world’s most revolutionary dementia village. Martine’s a little excited by all this. Confused, but excited.

Kelrick Martin (WA)

Kelrick Martin is a Ngarluma/Bunuba man from Broome WA, currently Head of Indigenous at ABC TV. Kelrick started as a cadet radio broadcaster for Goolarri Media. Moving to Sydney in 1998, he presented ABC Radio National’s Awaye! and was the inaugural presenter of ABC TV’s Message Stick. In 2002 he completed his Masters in Documentary Writing and Directing at AFTRS, and in 2007 returned to WA to become NITV’s Commissioning Editor.

He formed Spear Point Productions in 2010 – credits include documentaries Yagan, Outside Chance, Prison Songs, and short drama, Karroyul – a 2015 AACTA Award nominee. Prior to re-joining the ABC, Kelrick was the Indigenous Manager for Western Australia’s state screen funding agency Screenwest.

Lee May (QLD)

Lee May is a game designer at Defiant Development, where he serves as a writer and editor on the critically-acclaimed Hand of Fate series. Prior to joining the studio, he spent nine years as a critic and journalist on Brisbane’s 4ZZZ, co-hosting Australia’s longest-running gaming radio program.

Natasha Pincus (VIC)

Natasha Pincus graduated with first class honours in Law and Science. She worked as a research scientist and practiced corporate law before hanging up her lab coat and suit to focus on her screenwriting and directing career.

Natasha has written and directed short films that have screened at dozens of film festivals worldwide and received recognition through awards such as the Platinum Remi (Short Drama) at the Worldfest International Film Festival, and a nomination for the Sydney Film Festival Dendy Award.

Natasha specialises in creating distinctive music video works and has directed internationally regarded videos for a number of Australia’s favourite musicians, including Powderfinger, Paul Kelly, Gotye, Missy Higgins, Kasey Chambers, Pete Murray, Paper Kites and Sarah Blasko. Natasha has won two ARIA awards for Best Music Video and has been nominated for the MTV VMA for Best Music Video and Best Editing. Natasha’s iconic video for Gotye’s Somebody That I Used To Know has been viewed over 1 billion times on YouTube.

Natasha was recently commissioned to create a large-scale film work for the Australian premiere of David Bowie’s Lazarus, a theatre musical performed at Melbourne’s Arts Centre. The project saw Natasha devising, directing and producing 16 bespoke Bowie music videos and integrating them into a singular screen work live projected through the show.

As a screenwriter, Natasha’s screenplay Middle of the Air was a Winner of the UCLA Screenwriting Competition and her screenplay Clive was included on the US Hollywood Blacklist and was a semi-finalist of the Nicholl Fellowship. The feature film of Natasha’s screenplay Fell, directed by Kasimir Burgess, premiered In Competition at the Sydney Film Festival. Natasha has now written more than 20 feature film scripts on assignment or spec, including adapting the Pulitzer-nominated novel Snow Child for New York producers Amy Hobby and Anne Hubble (Tangerine Entertainment), and co-writing The Twisted for Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Productions. She has just completed writing the original screenplay North Star (director Stephen McCallum) and is currently writing Second Time, a new TV series for Christopher Sharp at Thumper Pictures.

S. Shakthidharan (NSW)

Shakthi is a western Sydney storyteller with Sri Lankan heritage and Tamil ancestry. He’s a writer, director and producer of theatre and film, and composer of original music as one half of the band Kurinji. Recent projects include his debut play, Counting and Cracking, which recently completed a sold out season to rave reviews at the 2019 Sydney Festival, with Belvoir; Laka, a multi-platform film and VR project touring around the world, from Brewarrina to Los Angeles; and Rizzy’s 18th Birthday Party, which premiered at Carriageworks in 2014 and was adapted into feature film Riz for the 2015 Sydney Film Festival.

Shakthi is the current Artistic Lead at Co-Curious. Co-Curious is a sister company to CuriousWorks, where Shakthi was the Founder and Artistic Director from 2003-2018 and his leadership led to several long-term, multi-platform arts initiatives as well as significant grassroots social change in communities in Western Sydney and remote Western Australia. Shakthi was the inaugural Associate Artist at Carriageworks and is the recipient of both the Phillip Parson’s and Kirk Robson awards.