Katherine Tolentino

Katherine Tolentino is a Chinese-Salvadoran filmmaker from the San Francisco Bay Area. Having grown up in several different cultures, she aims to make films that break down reductive stereotypes and shed light on what we all have in common.

Tolentino has worked for major studios including HBO, NBCUniversal, ABC, TNT, and FOX. Previously she was a radio journalist at KQED San Francisco, covering the Latino immigrant population in San Jose, CA. Her short films have screened at festivals nationwide, and her latest film Parachute was nominated for the NBR Student Film Award.

Tonya McCornell


Tonya McCornell is an American director who writes and produces a lot of her own content. Her work showcases strong female characters while exploring social issues as they relate to the human experience. Her recently released short film Too Much Love is being used in partnership with AIDS Healthcare Foundation as a PSA about HIV awareness. McCornell’s short film Trayvia was named to honor Trayvon Martin and it is being called "a visceral response to police brutality."

Her upcoming short film Tainted sheds light on the effects of mothers battling depression and PTSD after facing trauma. McCornell is also developing a dramedy feature film about surviving divorce called Getting Help. She started the Moms Network for New York Women in Film & Television and she is an active member of The Black TV & Film Collective.

Zoe Rae


Zoe Rae is an Australian-American filmmaker. She currently resides in NYC, crafting stories of funny women for human people. Before heading to NY she was a member of the Improv Theatre Sydney faculty and ensemble, where she performed improv and sketch regularly. She was co-director & host of the monthly show ITS Big House. Zoe is the writer & co-direct of the feature Slaughter House Bride. She also wrote and directed Shane and Kate which went on to screen at Palm Springs, Flickerfest, Oaxaca, CinefestOZ, and Heart of Gold film festivals.

Jessica Robinson


Jessica is a Sydney/New York hybrid and has been honing her directing, writing and producing skills since high school with many projects under her belt, including three web series, over a dozen short films and several feature film scripts. She has been acquiring skills and experiences to diversify her knowledge through tertiary study and courses (New York Film Academy, University of Technology Sydney & National Institute of Dramatic Arts, Sydney). Highlights of her career include working as a Director’s Assistant to Randall Einhorn on the new FX Television Pilot, Death Pact starring Tracy Morgan. As well as working on the Production team for Ratpac (Brett Ratner & James Packer) for a casino commercial with Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, Leonardo Dicaprio and Brad Pitt. She also acquired her first feature film Assistant Director/Co- Producer credits for, Spanish Director, Dani Zarendieta's film MET in NYC, which has been accepted into 8 film festivals worldwide and counting.

Stephanie Stender


Stephanie Stender is an award-winning director, producer, and screenwriter. Her works have been screened at film festivals around the world, from Australia to the UK, at such prestigious independent theaters as the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, and on television – from PBS to the WB. Still Right Here, the music video she directed and produced for Melissa Ferrick, premiered on the front page of The Huffington Post and won Fan Favorite and Best Pro Pop/Rock Video at the Right Out TV Music Video Awards. In 2001, she founded Doorstop Productions, an all-women’s film production company, with five fellow female filmmakers. Throughout her career, Stephanie has worked on various Emmy award recognized shows, from WordGirl to Antiques Roadshow, and was nominated three times as the Co-Executive Producer of America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country and was Executive Producer of Milk Street TV and Radio for two years.

Carrie Anderson


Carrie completed a Graduate Diploma in Screenwriting at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School where she won the Kenneth B. Myer Prize for Exceptional Talent from among all graduating students.


She is the creator and wrote the original script for the telemovie RIOT, which aired on ABC Australia in 2018 and won the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts for Best Telefeature or Miniseries in 2018. Her feature script Amala was a finalist in the Sundance Feature Lab and her feature script Reynold's Cargo was in the final of the Warner Bros-Veerhuis-Blacklist Feature Competition in 2018. Her feature screenplay On Water has gone through to the quarter final of the Write L.A. script competition.

Danae Grandison


Jamaican-born and raised Danae Grandison is an award-winning independent filmmaker based in Brooklyn. She studied Advertising at the Fashion Institute of Technology. At School of the Visual Arts (SVA), she made her directorial debut with Unconditional Love, a silent film shot and directed by her; which went on to win the SVA Audience Award. In 2016, she graduated from SVA with a Masters in Directing and her third short film, [Re]Defined, which toured domestically and internationally, premiering in Oscar-qualifying film festivals. Her most recent short film, Unspoken, is a literary adaptation, based off The Bed Head by Jennifer Grahame, which is currently in the festival circuit premiering internationally and domestically. Unspoken has since garnered her a Certificate of Achievement from the New York State Senate, as well as the Best Short Film Award from Katra Film Series. Unspoken has stirred timely conversations, and is under development as her first feature film.

Stef Dawson


Stef grew up in Canberra, Australia and has worked as an actress in Australia and on an International Scale. Her acting credits include Creedmoria, The Hunger Games franchise, The Paper Store, The Lennon Report, Painted Woman, Cleverman, 7 Guardians of the Tomb. She is a graduate of Wollongong University and Screenwise and is currently in development for her first feature film screenplay, Two Bridges.

2019 Talent usA PARTICIPANTS

Niki Aken


Niki Aken is a prolific writer for television, working across both drama and comedy. She researched and wrote two episodes – including the finale – for the true-crime drama Underbelly: Badness. Mediaweek praised her debut screenplay Troubleshooting as “amongst the best the Underbelly franchise has delivered.” Underbelly: Badness was awarded the Best Original Miniseries AWGIE (Australian Writers’ Guild Award) in 2013. 

More recently, Niki co-wrote The Hunting for SBS / Closer Productions – a drama that follows the fallout of a sexting scandal in an Adelaide high school. In 2018, Niki also script produced the highly anticipated comedy-drama series Upright, starring Tim Minchin, for Foxtel and Sky UK.  She was Story Editor on Why Are You Like This? – a millennial comedy for ABC, and was Script Editor for the second series of commuter-comedy Squinters for ABC / Jungle.

Kodie Bedford


Kodie graduated from UWA with a Bachelor of Communications and gained her Masters in Creative Writing from University of Technology Sydney. She started as a cadet journalist for SBS before moving to the ABC as a researcher for documentary series Message Stick. After leaving the ABC in 2015, Kodie has worked as a freelance writer and co-founded Indigenous arts group Cope ST Collective. Her credits include her short film Last Drinks at Frida’s which was selected for the Sydney Film Festival, Flickerfest and ImagineNative in Toronto. Kodie wrote an episode for the AACTA award-winning ABC drama series Mystery Road and an episode of the AACTA Award nominated NITV and ABC ME children’s series Grace Beside Me. Recently, Kodie won the Balnaves Fellowship with Belvoir Theatre for 2019 to develop her own play. She’s currently working on ABC political drama Black B*tch starring Rachel Griffiths and Deb Mailman and the second series of Mystery RoadKodie is represented in Australia by Candice Thom at RGM. 

Alison Bell


Alison Bell is the co-creator/co-writer/producer and star of The Letdown, an ABC/Netflix Original co-production. The pilot episode won Alison and Sarah Scheller (co-creator/writer) the AACTA Award for Best writing for Television in 2016. Alison received a best performer nomination. In 2018 the series won the AACTA Award for Best Comedy and again, Alison was nominated for Best Comedy Performer. The second series, just completed, marks Alison’s debut as a director. 

Alison has also appeared in many Australian television series and starred in the AACTA award winning comedy, Laid. For US television she’s had roles in The Leftovers, No Activity and most recently, the reboot of Spielberg’s, Amazing Stories.

Joe Brumm


Joe Brumm worked as an animator for 10 years in London on numerous children’s series, including the Bafta winning Charlie and LolaHe then worked in Kenya on Tinga-Tinga Tales, for BBC/Disney, training local crews.

After returning to Australia he founded Studiojoho which now has an expanding body of quality work behind it. Joho’s clients include CollegeHumor, Viacom, ABC’s Good Game, New Form Digital GOMA, Ludo/Cartoon Network, Gallery of Victoria and Halfbrick. In partnership with HalfBrick his original web-series, Dan The Man has been turned into a successful mobile game. Joe is the writer and creator of the breakout hit Bluey, released in 2018, a 52x7 min pre-school for the ABC and BBC studios, made with Ludo Studio.

Matthew Cormack


Matthew is an AWGIE winning and AACTA nominated screenwriter. His writing credits include feature film 52 Tuesdays (Crystal Bear at Berlinale Film Festival, AWGIE Award for Original Screenplay), episodic series Fucking Adelaide for ABC, the award-winning short film My Last Ten Hours with You. Matthew is writer and co-creator of the four-part SBS drama The Hunting, due for release in 2019.

For the last 9 years, Matthew has also worked in development, production, and sales with Adelaide-based Closer Productions across such projects as feature documentaries Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure, Life in Movement and Sam Klemke's Time Machine, hybrid doco/drama I Want to Dance Better at Parties, co-creator of transmedia project My 52 Tuesdays, and was most recently script editor on feature drama Animals (Sundance 2019).

Glen Dolman


Glen wrote the feature film, I Met a Girl, a romantic dramedy, which recently wrapped production in Australia (produced by Adam Dolman and directed by Luke Eve). Last year, he created, wrote and executive produced the six-part supernatural drama series, Bloom (Playmaker Media/Sony International) which premiered on Stan in Australia in early 2019 and stars Jacki Weaver, Bryan Brown, Phoebe Tonkin, Ryan Corr and Daniel Henshall. 

In 2017 he wrote the web series dramedy, High Life (starring Odessa Young, produced by Adam Dolman and directed by Luke Eve) which screened on Channel Nine in Australia, sold to Fullscreen in the US, was AACTA nominated and won the C21 International Drama Award.  

Liz Doran


Liz has written a wide range of TV drama including Please Like Me, Doctor Doctor, Dance Academy, The Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries, The Secret Life of Us and Sugar Rush. In 2015/6 she co-created and was the head writer/script producer on Ready For This (AACTA Awards, Logies, International Emmy Awards). She also wrote the first episode for Molly, a two-part, 90 minute mini-series, producer John Molloy, for Channel 7, which had the highest consolidated ratings for an Australian drama series for the year. She is currently developing a drama set in the 70’s about the birth of surf business for ABC Australia. 

Ben Gilmour


Ben Gilmour is an author and filmmaker, director of the Australian/Afghanistan drama feature Jirga (2018) that won CIneFestOz, Australia's richest film prize, and the 2018 AACTA Award for Best Independent Film. Jirga premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and had its U.S. theatrical release in June 2019. 

Gilmour's credits also include the feature documentary Paramedico (2012) and Son of a Lion (2008), his critically-acclaimed feature that was selected for the Berlinale. 

He is also the author of several books, including ‘Paramedico – Around the World by Ambulance’ (HarperCollins), a tie-in with his film of the same name, and ‘Warrior Poets’ (Pier 9) about the making of his first film in Pakistan. 

Kate McCartney

Kate McCartney is a writer/director, producer, and performer. In 2015, McCartney and writing partner Kate McLennan created, executive produced and starred in their original concept The Katering Show. The web series was released on YouTube, clocking up millions of views. In 2016, the Kates returned with a new season of the hit series premiering on ABC iView. To date, it has attracted over 9 million views and 100,000 subscribers. With McLennan, McCartney was the co-recipient of the 2011 Kit Denton Disfellowship for Bleak. Bleak launched in 2014 on YouTube, before McCartney co-wrote, co-produced and directed its TV pilot for ABC’s Comedy Showroom in 2016. 

In 2017, McCartney and McLennan served as executive producers on their new full-length ABC series, Get Krack!n, where they set their satirical sights on the world of breakfast television. Series Two of Get Krack!n premiered on ABC TV in early 2019. 

Kate McLennan

Kate McLennan is an award-winning writer, comedian and actress. She is the co-writer of The Katering Show, where she plays an intolerable foodie alongside her food intolerant mate, Kate McCartney. The show launched on YouTube in 2015 and hit over 2 million views in its first week online. In 2016 a fresh new season of the hit series premiered on ABC iView. To date, the series is iView’s most viewed original series, has had over 9 million views on Youtube and the channel has over 100,000 subscribers. 

Both Kate McCartney and Kate McLennan won a 2018 AWGIE award for an episode of Get Krackin and received an AWGIE for The Katering Show in 2015. The second season of The Katering Show was nominated for an AACTA award in 2016. The Katering Show won Best Short-Form Digital Series and tied for a Best of the Fest award at the New York Television Festival in 2015.

Grant Sputore

Grant Sputore is an award-winning commercial director whose work has been recognized at almost every major international advertising award show, including the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the D&AD Awards, the London International Advertising Awards, Spikes Asia, and the AWARD Awards.

Sputore’s debut feature, I Am Mother, premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and was sold to Netflix. The film stars new comer Clara Rugaard alongside two-time Academy Award Winner Hilary Swank and the voice of Rose Byrne.

Prior to his foray into features, his critically acclaimed short Legacy has screened at festivals around the world.

Samantha Strauss

Samantha co-created the hit Australian teen drama series Dance Academy which screens in over 160 countries. Samantha was head writer across the 65 episodes, writing 25 episodes. Samantha has been nominated for six Australian Writer’s Guild Awards and won three times. She’s been nominated for two NSW Premier’s Literary Awards in 2011 and 2014. In 2017 Samantha wrote the feature film Dance Academy: The Comeback, directed by Jeffrey Walker and produced by Joanna Werner. Samantha’s television credits include: The Wrong Girl (script producer and writer), Mary: The Making of a Princess, among others.

She is currently writing and executive producing her latest original series, The End, produced by See-Saw Films for Foxtel and Sky Atlantic, starring Frances O’Connor and Dame Harriet Walter. Samantha wrote all episodes of this 10 x 30 minute series which will air in 2019.

Courtney Wise

Courtney Wise is a freelance writer and producer based in Sydney. She recently created and produced the critically acclaimed four part drama mini-series On The Ropes, broadcast on SBS in December 2018. Prior to this she was Development Producer of the slate at Lingo Pictures, including the two-part telemovie Wake In Fright, broadcast on Network Ten in 2017.

In 2015, Courtney produced Series 1 and 2 of the award winning online narrative comedy series Fragments of Friday, funded by Screen Australia. While working in the Television Fiction Department at the ABC, Courtney was Development Manager on The Secret River, a two-part telemovie adaptation of Kate Grenville's award winning novel, and The Beautiful Lie, a six part contemporary Australian adaptation of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. Both projects were broadcast on the ABC in 2015.  

2018 Talent usA PARTICIPANTS

Kacie Anning

Kacie Anning is a writer and director best known for Fragments of Friday (2016) and The Other Guy (2017-2019). She is currently working on the TV series Hardball.

Dave Carter and Nikos Andronicos


Dave Carter and Nikos Andronicos are an animation team based in Sydney who have been collaborating since high school. Currently they’re making the short-form series Psychotown for FX and developing a satirical series with Ed Helms' Pacific Electric Picture Co. Their work has been commissioned by Mike Judge, MTV and Verizon.

Natalie Erika James


Natalie Erika James wrote/directed and produced Creswick, which has screened at over 45 festivals including New York, Fantastic Fest and Fantasia, and was awarded a 2017 Australian Writers' Guild AWGIE Award for Best Short Form screenplay. Natalie will make her feature directorial debut with Relic, which was originally developed through Gender Matters Brilliant Stories and will be produced by Carver Films and co-written by Christian White. 

Alice Englert


Alice Englert enjoyed wide success with her first short film THE BOYFRIEND GAME. It premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, and screened at Berlin, Melbourne and Flickerfest, winning Best Screenplay at the St Kilda Film Festival. Her second short film FAMILY HAPPINESS premiered at Sydney Film Festival, and screened at the BFI London and Melbourne International Film Festivals. Alice is also known for her acting work, including her recent role in TOP OF THE LAKE: CHINA GIRL.

Julie Kalceff 


Julie Kalceff is the creator of hit online drama STARTING FROM NOW and recently wrote and directed FIRST DAY as part of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation/Screen Australia Girls series, focused on a transgender girl starting high school. She is currently in development on a feature, OUT OF BOUNDS, and drama series TOM through Gender Matters Brilliant Stories.

Stephen McCallum


Stephen McCallum’s debut feature 1%, is a Shakespearean tale of loyalty, ambition and betrayal set within the primal world of outlaw motorcycle gangs. It premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival to wide acclaim and will be released theatrically in 2018, including by A24 in the U.S. Stephen has worked as second unit director on Netflix’s ‘I Am Mother’ (2019). 

Alexei Mizin and Ryan van Dijk

Alexei Mizin and Ryan van Dijk’s first feature screenplay VANISHED won the Monte Miller Award at the Australian Writers' Guild AWGIE Awards and is slated for production. The writing team has been supported by Film Victoria, Screen Queensland and Scripted Ink through a range of initiatives, and has a slate of projects including a new drama series in the works with AMC Studios in the U.S.

Catherine S. McMullen


Catherine S. McMullen’s feature script THE OTHER LAMB was on the BLACK LIST, HIT LIST and BLOOD LIST, as one of Hollywood’s best unproduced scripts. Produced by David Lancaster and Stephanie Wilcox at Rumble Pictures (DRIVE, WHIPLASH), directed by Malgorzata Szumowska, and starring Raffey Cassidy (VOX LUX, KILLING OF A SACRED DEER) and Michiel Huisman (GAME OF THRONES, HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE).

Billie Pleffer


Billie Pleffer is an award-winning writer and director known for Deadlock (2018), Bino (2012) and Baby Baby (2014). She has received awards at the Berlin International Film Festival, an Australian Writers' Guild AWGIE Award, and Australian Directors Guild and AACTA nominations. 

Dylan River


Dylan River is an accomplished filmmaker with shorts NULLA NULLA, BLACK CHOOK and COAT OF ARMS screening at festivals around the world. Furthermore, Dylan was the Second Unit Director/DOP for the critically acclaimed Warwick Thornton western SWEET COUNTRY and his documentary BUCKSIN won the Foxtel Documentary award at the Sydney Film Festival. He is currently working as director on the Australian TV series ROBBIE HOOD. 

Miley Tunnecliffe


Miley Tunnecliffe is an actress and writer, known for Calling (2018), Lola & Luis (2016) and Love in a Disabled Toilet (2015).