Since its invention, television has been the centre of many a child’s life: ‘don’t sit too close, you’ll get square eyes’; ‘don’t believe everything you see on TV’; ‘what on earth are you watching?’
As times have progressed, though, what kids expect and demand have changed – and so has how they watch – so how are our storytelling producers changing too? How are they reflecting the breadth and variety of Australian society as well and predicting where the zeitgeist is going for incredibly fast-moving minds?
April’s TV Talks features a panel representing the breadth of the children’s television-making landscape including acting, producing, directing and commissioning.
Libbie Doherty: Acting Head of Children’s Content, ABC
Justine Flynn: Producer, The Unlisted
Virginie Laverdure: Actor, The Unlisted
Mary- Ellen Mullane: Senior Commissioning Editor, NITV
Catherine Nebaur: Head of Kids and Scripted, Northern Pictures
MC: Andrew Garrick, Producer/Director
As Acting Head of Children’s Content, Libbie Doherty is responsible for the Content Strategy and oversight of 380 hours of internally produced and commissioned content across the ABC’s two dedicated children’s channels, ABCME (6-12yrs) and ABC KIDS (2-6yrs). As a member of the ABC’s TV & Radio leadership team, she contributes to the ABC’s audiences, production and business strategy by building quality and distinctive programming, with local and international financing partners that delivers to existing and new ABC audiences.
With 55+ internal creative staff in Sydney and Melbourne, as the Creative Leader, she sets the bar for creative excellence, innovation and nurtures teams to deliver ambitious, unique and compelling stories for new and existing ABC Audiences.
Financing shows and discovering new pathways is an integral part of Libbie’s role and having worked in the film and television business for over 25 years, she prides herself on strong and reliable relationships with international and local partners.
Libbie joined the ABC as Commissioning Editor bringing experience from the animation and live action worlds to the position. She was responsible for developing and executive producing commissioned content in all genres for the ABC’s two dedicated children’s channels, as well as children’s production for ABC TV’s co-commissions. Commissions included: Mustangs FC, The Unlisted, Nowhere Boys Season 3 & 4, My Year 12 Life, My Year 7 Life, The Justine Clarke Show, Grace Beside Me, and a season of films for the #GirlsChangeTheWorld initiative including First Day.
Prior to joining the ABC, Libbie worked as a producer and director of development with renowned Australian production companies including Cheeky Little Media, Sticky Pictures, Blink Films and Hackett Films as well as being Production Executive at Screen NSW. She also spent 10 years in London at the BBC, Razorfish, Sky Television and NBC Europe in various producing roles.
Justine Flynn is a Writer, Producer, Director and project executive producing for networks.
Her industry experience spans 25 years and includes directing, producing, acquisitions consulting and development across children’s and adult content. In addition, Justine has held senior executive roles and executive consulting positions at Nickelodeon, ABC and Screen NSW.
Justine’s previous credits include writer for Heiress Films Accord Documentary From Korea With Love and senior production and creative roles on a series of award-winning productions for Nickelodeon. Justine formed part of the creative development team behind Blue Water High, was the co-creator of Bambaloo for the Jim Henson Company and Yoram Gross, and co-produced Raggs for Southern Star and Channel Seven.
Justine also co-produced the preschool series Five Minutes More for ABC and Disney UK, produced Hotspell for Heiress Films and SBS television and was the live-action director for the animated series Dirtgirl World for Mememe Productions which aired on the BBC, ABC and CBC.
In 2010 Justine merged her company Buster Dandy Productions with Sticky Pictures, where she established the role of Head of Live Action. While with Sticky, Justine produced the live-action sitcom series Me and My Monsters with Tiger Aspect and Jim Henson Productions for CBBC, ZDF and Network 10 and she co-created, developed and executive produced Bindi’s Bootcamp.
Justine later branched out as an independent executive producer under her own company Buster Productions generating a raft of television and film projects. Her company focuses on developing new concepts in collaboration with leading production houses.
In 2016 Random House published Justine’s first preschool book, Miss Mae’s Saturday and the following year she directed The Justine Clarke show for ABC Kids.
Justine is currently producing The Unlisted with Aquarius Films. The Unlisted is a 15-part drama, Justine has created, directed and executive produced for Netflix and ABC.
As Senior Commissioning Editor at NITV, Mary-Ellen Mullane facilitates and oversees the delivery of a wide-ranging slate of award-winning content including animation, documentary, VR and live-action children series in collaboration with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander filmmakers. Mary-Ellen’s executive producing credits include 13 part Grace Beside Me (Prix Jeunesse 2018, Logie nominee) children’s live-action television series and as commissioning editor, Little J and Big Cuz animation series 1 & 2 (Logie Winner 2018 Best Children’s Series) as well as Future Dreaming a VR and documentary series which has been invited to Tribeca 2019. She is a past International Emmy Juror (documentary) and 2018 International Emmy Juror (children’s series).
Virginie Laverdure is a stage and screen actress. She has just wrapped on The Unlisted for the ABC and Aquarius Films in the role of Anousha and had a recurring role recently in Home and Away as Oncologist Dr Callan. For GPTV she was seen as the Pathologist in Cleverman, Season 2.
Virginie has also been a professional performing artist (vocalist) for over ten years, working as a lead vocalist and backing vocalist for well-known artists such as Jessica Mauboy, Paris Wells and Andrea Rieniets respectively. She has sung with DJs and fronted bands during that period, excelling in particular jazz, RnB and soul.
She can more than hold her own, with theatrical acting credentials including A Sunday Morning in the South & Bronze (Dir: Rachel Jordan), Hamlet Machine (Dir: Glen D’Cru), Comedy of Tragedies (Dir: Simon Fisher). She also played the lead role in two short films that made their successful debut at state-wide festivals and competitions Dear Ginie with director Samuel Hilton and Zombie Beaters with director Kenny Foo. The latter took out Official Selection at Annual Lucky Film Festival (2013); Short Film Social competition (2013) in 3rd Place; Actors Anonymous Film Festival (2014); Sydney Underground Film Festival (2014) and Sydney Fringe Festival competition (2014).
She is a graduate of screen acting at NIDA under the guidance of Les Chantery and Sonia Todman.
Catherine Nebauer has had over 25 years’ experience in the media space in a wide range of roles including channel management, distribution and as an Executive Producer.
Since joining the Northern Pictures team in September 2014, she has had a slate of over 430 episodes commissioned in both Australia and Internationally including preschool series Teddies and Hiccup and Sneeze (both co-productions with Singapore) as well as factual entertainment series for Australian broadcasters Channels Nine and Seven and a large slate of original programming commission by Nat Geo Kids Latin America.
In 2018 Catherine commenced production on the scripted comedy-drama series Hardball commissioned by the ABC. The series is slated to air from 1 April 2019 on the ABC Me app and then on linear from the 22 April. Hardball will be distributed by ACTF and also has funding from Screen Australia and Create NSW.
Catherine was previously General Manager, SVP, for Nickelodeon Asia where she oversaw distribution, production, programming and marketing. Before moving to Asia, Catherine was the Managing Director for Nickelodeon Australia where she was responsible for launching Nick Jnr., as well as delivering the #1 Channel and online portal for kids.
Andrew Garrick is best known for Creating and Executive Producing late-night comedy show Tonightly with Tom Ballard. While at the ABC, he also produced a variety of pilots and shows including Comedy Next Gen, Stand & Deliver, as well as directing the acclaimed documentary Rookie Reporter for ABC Kids.
Before working with Aunty included developing, writing, producing and directing major TV projects for all of the local networks as well as major production houses both here and abroad including Shine, Freemantle, Beyond. He also made documentary films around the globe from the Great Barrier Reef to Malawi.
Andrew directs lots of ads, including one just recently choreographing 14 animals to perform in a 60s one-take. His long list of advertising directing credits includes Westpac, Formula 1, Opera Australia, RSPCA Target and Volvo.
He’s currently working with Screentime, and teaches Applied Storytelling For Business for AFTRS. He’s also the Managing Director of Zedtown, a live zombie apocalypse experience for thousands of people at a time (yeah, it’s pretty ridiculous fun) which has recently expanded from Australia into the USA and across Asia.