Deb McBride (Chairperson)
Deb McBride has had various roles within the film, tv and digital media industry. Entering the film business 28 years ago she worked as a publicist for the Academy Twin Cinema when independent distributors, Ronin Films and Premium Films were co-owners. She stayed in the exhibition business for a further three years managing both the Walker Cinema and Dendy Martin Place.
Deb has extensive experience managing regional film offices holding the position of both Locations Liaison Officer and Manager for Film Illawarra in Wollongong and Creative Industries Development Manager at Northern Rivers Screenworks.
Her other previous roles include, Publicity and Marketing Director, Australian Film Television and Radio School; Client Publicist, Sony Music Publishing; Operations Manager, Dendy Cinema; Conference Director, SPA and SPA Fringe conferences and working in Production on several documentaries, films and TV series including the local UK production, I’m A Celebrity Get Me Outta Here.
Currently Deb works as a Freelance Communications Director with TM Publicity.
J’aimee Skippon-Volke (Vice-Chairperson)
With a working history in Event Management and Pre, Post & Production for Film and TV in London, New York and Sydney, and has held various freelancing positions in production support for music videos, corporate, charity, documentary and drama productions.
More recently in partnership with Osvaldo Alfaro at GreenhouseFX, J’aimee has been exploring and developing concepts for immersive VR experiences utilising the Oculus Rift. J’aimee blends her experience, interests and passions as the Byron Bay International Film Festival Director.
Chris Benaud (Treasurer)
Chris is a public relations and fundraising professional. After consultancy positions in corporate public relations with clients including CSR, Lend Lease and Credit Lyonnais, Chris developed a career as a professional fund raiser, holding consultancy and in-house positions for not-for-profit organisations including the National Heart Foundation, Foundation for Aged Care and The Royal Flying Doctor Service for which he was Marketing and PR Manager and at the University of Technology, Sydney as Director of Alumni and Development.
Chris is a Fellow of The Fundraising Institute of Australia, holds a Masters degree in Communication Management and a BA in Communication. Prior to his career in public relations, Chris was a freelance film and video editor and researcher, working in documentaries for Film Australia and drama for the Grundy Organisation as well as editing television news and current affairs, commercials and music videos. In his teens and early 20s, Chris was an actor with leading and co-leading roles in television, film and theatre.
Peter studied Chemical Engineering at the University of NSW (University Medal) and has a PhD in Systems Engineering from Lancaster University in the UK. His working career was with CSR, and in the later years was Managing Director of New Zealand Sugar, General Manager of the Australian Sugar Refining business and Managing Director of Monier PGH.
Peter retired from CSR in 1994, had a consulting business for a number of years and has been a director of companies including Adelaide Brighton Cement. He moved to the Byron area in 2001 and has become increasingly involved in community matters, is a director of the Northern Rivers Community Foundation, Chair of the Rising Stars Scholarships program at Southern Cross University, and served as a director of EnVite, and has mentored local businesses.
He lives in Bangalow with his wife of 48 years and has 2 children Jessica and Andre, both of whom also call Bangalow home.
Northern Rivers based Dustin Clare is an award winning Australian actor.
Dustin began his career with guest roles in Australian television series before becoming a series regular in the popular television drama McLeod’s Daughters, for which he won a Logie Award for Most Popular New Talent. Dustin went on to star in the Showtime series Satisfaction for which which he received a second Logie Award nomination for Most Outstanding Actor and a Golden Nymph Award nomination for Most Outstanding Actor at the 49th Monte Carlo Television Festival in Monaco. He also played Chris Flannery in the critically acclaimed second series of Underbelly.
Dustin made his feature debut in 2011 opposite Geoffrey Rush and Judy Davis in Fred Schepisi‘s The Eye of the Storm. He went on to star in the US series Spartacus: War of the Damned for the STARZ network alongside John Hannah and Lucy Lawless, and also starred in Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, and in Spartacus: Vengeance.
In 2013 he appeared in the musical feature, Goddess, opposite Ronan Keating and Magda Szubanski. In 2014 he played Lt. Harry Moffitt on the ABC’s mini-series ANZAC Girls for which he received and Equity Ensemble Award, and in the Australian feature film Love Is Now. In 2015 he appeared on the final season of the Cinemax series Strikeback and in the feature film Sunday, on which he was also a writer and producer. In 2016 Dustin starred in the Wolf Creek TV Series for STAN and will next been seen in Pacific Rim: Uprising for Legendary Pictures.
Dustin also heads up Northern Rivers based independent production & distribution company Fighting Chance Films and was named one of Screen Producers Australia’s emerging producers of 2015. Dustin is a graduate of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA).
With a wealth of knowledge and experience in post-production and visual effects, Will moved to the Northern Rivers to establish Cumulus Visual Effects and Syclone Technology. Will is passionate about establishing remote pipeline management solutions and believes working in your chosen ‘Mecca’ is the key to a happy work/life balance.
During his career, Will has contributed to some of the worlds most iconic films such as Lord of the Rings – Return of the King, The Last Samurai and Blood Diamond. He was also sequence lead on projects such as Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince, and many other blockbuster films.
Roger is an award-winning screen entertainment writer who heads up Essential Media’s Brisbane office. Roger won the Australian Film Institute, Independent Film and Critics Circle awards for best script for the feature film Walking On Water (2002). It also won the Teddy award and Siegessaule prize at the 2002 Berlin Film Festival and special mention at BIFF.
More recently Roger wrote episodes for the multi award-winning and Emmy nominated Nowhere Boys. His pilot episode was nominated for an AWGIE Award. Roger was a writer on The Doctor Blake Mysteries S3 and co-creator and writer of East of Everything. Other TV credits include: Dance Academy and The Secret Life of Us. His script for the series Love Bytes (Fox Aust & UK Shine) was nominated for a QLD Premiers Award.
Lois Randall has extensive experience in screen and arts production and industry development. Lois was Producer and Executive Producer of the thirteen-episode live action children’s series GRACE BESIDE ME, coming to NITV and ABC in 2018, and Producer of the six-episode mini-series THE GODS OF WHEAT STREET (Every Cloud Productions for ABC), awarded Miniseries of the Year at the 2014 Screen Producers Australia Awards. She was also an Executive Producer on the Every Cloud Productions web series DEADLOCK in 2017, and previous credits include line producer of EAST OF EVERYTHING drama series (ABC); production manager on John Weiley’s international Imax documentary SOLARMAX, and producer of short films including LAST DRINKS AT FRIDA’S (Sydney Film Festival, ABC, ImagineNative), NAN AND A WHOLE LOT OF TROUBLE (ABC, Flickerfest), AIR (animation, SBS, Dendy Awards) and THE NEW BOOTS (Sydney Film Festival). Professional experience includes Executive Officer at Australian Screen Directors Association (now ADG), CEO at Arts Northern Rivers, and Manager of Metro Screen. Lois is a member of the NSW Film and Television Industry Advisory Committee and a board member of Screenworks.
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Di’s interest and career in film and TV began in her early 20’s while working as a production assistant at Scottish Screen Locations and being exposed to films such as Braveheart, Shallow Grave and Trainspotting.
Upon her return to Australia Di worked for several years at Flicks Australia first as a PA and eventually as a producer where she gained experience in all areas of production.
Over the next few years Di worked as a Production Manager on the documentary Waves of Change in Indonesia (aired ABC, director Bill Leimbach), Producer for SBS Croc Eisteddfod Festival in Northern Australia, as a Producer for the pilot program for Channel 9, What Do you do? and as the Art Department Coordinator for the US feature film Airtight.
Di was then invited to join Cherub Pictures by Executive Producer Michele Bennett (Chopper, 2000) as an in-house Producer. During her 10 years at Cherub Pictures Di worked with some of Australia’s top directors including Luke Shanahan (Rabbit), Justin Kurzel (Snowtown, Macbeth, Assassin’s Creed) and Samantha Lang (The Monkey’s Mask, Carlotta, The Killing Field). Her production skills were honed through producing dozens of award winning TVCs’ for some of the world’s largest brands, music videos and short films as well as script consulting on numerous features. Highlights were script editing and producing the highly acclaimed dark comedy short It Takes Two to Tango, which screened at Palm Springs, LA shorts festival, MIFF and The News which was a finalist at Tropfest 2010. Both shorts went on to be selected for numerous festivals screening worldwide. During this time Di was attached as script editor and producer on the feature Talk Fast (in development).
Di has worked as an associate producer and script consultant on the feature film Rabbit (Director Luke Shanahan) which premiered at the Melbourne International Film Festival in August 2017 and has begun an International tour including FantasticFest, Sitges, GrimmFest UK and Toronto After Dark.
Working alongside Writer/Director Hattie Dalton (Third Star), Di recently produced Summer’s Day for ABC ME and Screen Australia. She currently resides in Byron Bay NSW and is aiming to further support the creation and production of projects within the region.