Snapshot: Screenworks Board Member Lois Randall

October 27, 2018

Lois Randall is one of the founding members of Screenworks, a current board member and former chair.  She has established a busy production company in the Northern Rivers has recently had her TV series broadcast on SBS and ABC and is developing a range of projects. We spoke to Lois about her role on Screenworks board and as a busy regional producer.

SW: What is your role on Screenworks board?

LR: I’m a member of the Screenworks board and a former Chair. I see my role on the board now as mainly assisting with strategic planning of Screenworks and its programs, governance and attending board meetings, and supporting the programs and staff. The role of the board is to make sure the organisation is sustainable and effective in getting outcomes for regional screen practitioners.

SW: How long have you been a Screenworks board member? Why did you join Screenworks board?

LR: I’ve been on the Screenworks board since around 2011. I was also one of the founding members who established Screenworks in 2001. John Weiley, Cathy Henkel, Deb Cox, and many other wonderful people were involved. Catherine Marciniak and I wrote the funding application that enabled Screenworks to employ staff and open an office in 2003. The aims were to network screen practitioners in the region and develop the local industry to provide employment and career pathways.

I agreed to join the board because I wanted to contribute to what Screenworks was achieving and also to be connected into the screen industry cluster in the region.

SW: What Screenworks initiative have you been most proud of supporting/driving and why?

LR: There have been so many outstanding industry development programs and initiatives over the years – for example the Athena Project, the Createability Programs, and the Indigenous Screen Writers’ Residency in Lismore a few years ago.  I’m really proud of Screenworks overall, and the way it’s survived and thrived in tough times, and continues to support and champion regional filmmakers and provide programs of a national industry standard from a tiny office in the Northern Rivers. Ken, Lisa, Louise, and all the staff work hard so that Screenworks programs really make a difference for participants – we’re lucky to have such a talented and dedicated team!

SW: Tell us a bit about what you do in the Screen Industry and how you got involved.

LR: I’m a Producer of television drama, now also moving into features.

I graduated with a BA Communications from UTS and have worked in both production and industry roles since my first industry job which was running Metro Screen in the 1980’s. That was an exciting time  – collaborating with Radio Redfern and Aboriginal filmmakers in ’88; the Community Television test broadcasts.

Another highlight was working as Executive Officer at ASDA (Australian Screen Directors Association, now the ADG) which gave me a big picture perspective of the industry.

Then for family reasons, I moved from Sydney back to the region 20 years ago (having grown up around Lismore) and was very lucky to get production work with John Weiley (Solarmax). I’ve worked in production and the arts in the region ever since, including founding Arts Northern Rivers, arts consulting, producing short films, learning the art of “long-form” drama while working for Deb Cox and Fiona Eagger as production manager/line producer (East of Everything) then moving into producing (Gods of Wheat Street). Then a few years ago I established my production company Magpie Pictures.

SW: What’s the project you have most enjoyed working on, and why?

LR: I’m proud of Magpie Pictures’ first major project – the 13 episode children’s drama series Grace Beside Me, adapted from the novel by Sue McPherson. I produced the series with Dena Curtis. An extraordinary cast including many young first-time actors came to Beaudesert from all over the country with their families. We worked with the Mununjali Traditional Owners and a brilliant creative team and crew who all came together like a creative family and put their hearts into making Grace Beside Me beautiful and special. It’s that collaboration that I enjoy most – and the creative outcome and then seeing the audience response.

SW: What is important to you in running a successful and creative regional business/ working regionally?

LR: Its important to me to find skilled people with similar values and creative vision who I enjoy working with – wherever they may be located – and to stay connected with the wider industry. Its a collaborative and expensive medium so you need to build and maintain relationships with the people involved in the market, investors and agencies, and creative partners, and stay up to date.  That’s why Screenworks and its programs are so important!

SW: Tell us a bit about what you have been working on most recently?

LR: Magpie Pictures is developing a slate of drama projects, including co-productions with producer Dena Curtis, projects with writer/director Lawrence Johnston, and working with Every Cloud Productions. I’m about to take some Magpie projects to market – as always fingers crossed!

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