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AFTRS Announces new Head of Production and Discipline Leads

Jenevieve Chang | Simon Smith | Natalie Robinson Hurst | Indrani Kopal | Not pictured Dr Zanny Begg and Ann Megalla
Jenevieve Chang | Simon Smith | Natalie Robinson Hurst | Indrani Kopal | Not pictured Dr Zanny Begg and Ann Megalla

The Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) has announced the appointment of a new Head of Production and new positions in the School’s Bachelor of Arts Screen: Production and Master of Arts: Screen programs. 

Natalie Robinson-Hurst joins AFTRS as the new Head of Production. Natalie Robinson-Hurst is an award-winning Content Executive, with over 25 years’ experience in the screen industry. The content she has worked across has achieved success at Kidscreen, the AWGIE Awards, the ATOM Awards, the Asian Academy Creative Awards, the APRA Screen Music Awards and PROMAX. Internationally, Natalie has created a format adaptation to France Television, with content acquisitions to CBC and TVNZ, plus screenings at the Japan Prize and Chicago Film Festival. Previously, Natalie was Supervising Producer and Series Producer at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, as well as Viacom and Disney. 

Joining Natalie are Dr Zanny Begg BA Discipline Lead Directing; Jenevieve Chang BA Discipline Lead Screenwriting; Indrani Kopal as the new BA Discipline Lead Editing; Ann Megalla as the new BA Discipline Lead Production and Simon Smith ACS joins the School as the MA Discipline Lead Cinematography. 

Dr Zanny Begg has over 15 years of production experience across fiction and non-fiction including cutting edge experimental digital work. She has a PhD in Art Theory from UNSW with a focus on screen-based works. Zanny’s award-winning documentary and experimental work not only brings current and future industry trends into the classroom but will inform the development of the new BASP curriculum. Zanny has over ten years’ experience as an Educator at UNSW and USYD, has guest lectured at AFTRS and is also a mentor for Accessible Arts. 

Jenevieve Chang is a story developer, writer and educator who has worked in the UK, China and Australia. Jenevieve was most recently Development Executive at ABC Drama & Comedy and before that was Development Executive at Screen Australia where two of her projects were selected as the Australian entry for Best International Feature Film for the Academy Awards 2022 and 2023. Jenevieve was a founding member and Co-Chair of Screen Australia’s Equity and Inclusion committee. Jenevieve has also worked as a Creative Executive for Arclight Films. Her multi-generational memoir The Good Girl of Chinatown was published by Penguin Random House in 2017 and Jenevieve’s playwriting debut, Yong, won a 2023 Sydney Theatre Award. 

Indrani Kopal is an award-winning documentary director, editor and former Fulbright scholar with over 15 years global practice spanning Southeast Asia and the United States. As a former video journalist, Indrani’s films often focus on social issues and marginalised communities, particularly emphasising human rights and gender equality. In addition to her recent teaching at AFTRS, Indrani has taught editing at SAE and was involved in the curriculum transformation of Taylor’s university, Malaysia in 2019.  

Ann Megalla is an accomplished producer, production executive, and coach with over two decades of experience uncovering captivating narratives that shape our world and influence change. Founder of AM Media, Ann is dedicated to creating authentic and culturally impactful films, television series, and digital content for major broadcasters and production companies both domestically and internationally including ABC, SBS, Nat Geo, and BBC. Her recent work includes the AACTA award-winning documentary series Strong Women for ABC. 

Simon Smith is an award-winning AFTRS alumnus cinematographer with an extensive body in work in documentary, drama, commercials and music videos spanning several decades, including Senses of Cinema: the Sydney Filmmakers Co-op (Zubricki & Hughes 2023), Colour Theory (Marshall & Perkins 2014), The Redfern Story (Johnson 2014) and Paul Kelly: Stories of Me (Darling 2007). Simon is inspired by the work of British cinematographer, Geoffrey Unsworth (2001 A Space Odyssey, A Bridge Too Far, Cabaret) and the lyrical images of Russell Boyd ACS (Picnic at Hanging Rock). Simon has been accredited by the Australian Cinematographers Society and granted membership of the Cinema Pioneers Society of Australia. 

“We proudly welcome these exceptional educators and creatives to Australia’s national screen and audio school. With a steadfast dedication to industry collaboration and innovative pedagogy, AFTRS continues to lead the way in educational excellence. The School is committed to shaping forward-thinking learning environments and we know these remarkably talented professionals will make significant contributions to our students and community,” said AFTRS Director of Teaching and Learning, David Balfour.