Board Members

Sandra Pires President

Sandra Pires is a multiplatform producer/director CEO of Why Documentaries – a professional video production house specialising in Multicultural marketing and founder of Yesterday stories – a tech solution for community histories..
Work in multicultural marketing has led to a number of partnerships and national/state awards including the NSW Premier’s Multicultural Communication Award,

UN Human Rights Finalist Award, Best Small Business at the Australian Multicultural Marketing Awards. Films on local history produced and directed by Sandra include Beneath Black skies about the history of coal mining and The Dalfram Dispute 1938 – about the Pig Iron Incident on Port Kembla both screened on the History Channel, with the latter also screening on CCTV China and voted as a finalist by the Screen Producer’s Association of Australia for best Australian documentary.Screen Illawarra is a fantastic organisation to bring skills to Wollongong screen practitioners in the fastest growing industry in the area, that of content creation.  The aim is to provide a screen industry that is sustainable, local but global and involves our local talent.
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Anousha Zarkesh Vice President

Anousha has been working as a Casting Director on films and TV for over 25 years. Credits:  Sweet Country, Mystery Road, Jasper Jones, The Principal, Rake Series 1 – 5, Redfern Now, Peter Allen, Catching Milat, Cleverman, Ready for This, Black Comedy, Alex and Eve,Tomorrow When the War Began, Beautiful Kate, The Reef, Unfinished Sky, Accidents Happen, Suburban Mayhem, Mabo, Wild Boys,

First Australians to name a few. Nominated for AACTA award for casting “Sweet Country” 2018.  Won 6 Casting Guild Awards – Redfern Now, The Principal, Black Comedy etc. Website:
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Karen Pouye Member - IT

Karen is an Australian digital producer/entrepreneur & artist with a Master’s Degree in digital media. She has  worked in the industry for over 18 years during which time she founded Screen Weaver Media, which specializes in innovative internet technologies with particular focus on video. She recently won the Australian NBN award for successful businesses expanding into China. .

Prior to entering the media industry Karen worked for the Department of Education and Training as a teacher, later teaching film & digital media at a tertiary level.
Karen also studied graphic design and developed skills as a web developer. Working as a freelancer she acquired “hands on” expertise in a broad range of  tasks from conceptial design through to programming and advanced video production.

Karen later worked in the Australian film industry, creating  animation and visual effects for both independent and large film companies. She has to her credits an award winning film which she wrote, produced and directed which has screened at numerous film festivals around the world. She also produced music videos and acted as a consultant for many independent film productions.
She is currently developing an inovative video based customer support platform ( which is being scaled globally.

Karen’s ambition in life is to meld together her passions: technology, education and creativity in the belief that there couldn’t be a more exciting era in which to be a digital pioneer.

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Sue Turnbull Treasurer

Sue Turnbull is Senior Professor of Communication and Media at the University of Wollongong. Her publications include Media Audiences (Palgrave Macmillan 2020) The TV Crime Drama (Edinburgh University Press 2014) and Media and Communications in Australia with co-editor Stuart Cunningham (Allen and Unwin 2014). She currently holds an Australian Research Council Discovery grant  investigating the transnational career of the TV crime drama

and two ARC Linkage grants exploring the role of television in the experience of migrants, and the value of the newly emergent web-series form to the creative industries. Sue reviews crime fiction for the Fairfax press and is an Ambassador for Sisters in Crime, Australia.
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Nick Bolton Public Officer

Nick has been acting, producing, writing, directing for over 20 years in film, theatre, tv, documentary and online.
He co-founded content production company TEN ALPHAS which provides content across many formats, such as TVC’s, branded content, social, documentary, case studies, explainers and much more.
TEN ALPHAS are very proud to have created the content for the Invest Wollongong campaign for Wollongong City Council.

TEN ALPHAS create original content including the award winning short The Road to Vagator (winner of Coal Coast Film Festival, and Short&Sweet Illawarra Festival) and the rock documentary Off the Leash in Chiang Mai
At TEN ALPHAS, Nick manages the business, looks after the sales and marketing, runs the strategy consultations, and writes, produces and directs the content.
As a creative, he has developed much of his own original work, and as an actor has appeared in  many film, theatre and tv productions, including the feature films Back of the Net and Rough Stuff
Nick has an entrepreneurial nature with proven business management experience having built several production companies in his career, providing consulting and production services to corporate and government organisations like Google, Salesforce, Mission Australia, Telstra and hundreds more.
Nick acquired his Masters in Screen Art and Business from AFTRS in 2014 and is now very proud to teach at AFTRS.
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Gia Frino Secretary

Gia Frino is a writer/producer who has been working in the entertainment industry since 1996, devoting herself to the screen industry since 2014. Gia’s goals are to focus on inclusion in the Screen Industry by supporting and producing female stories in the screen industry, diverse filmmakers, and emerging filmmakers across various platforms, also by using design thinking to develop and establish solutions for screen practitioners, and her current Ph.D. research thesis

‘Exploring the role Australian Film Festivals play in gender equality in the screen industry. She has already made steps in this direction by continually working with female cast and crew about and below the line, and by founding the Illawarra Film Festival which was created as part of her One Girl Ambassadorship. A visual story, whether narrative or factual, has the power to stimulate a response, to transport, to education, to change opinion, and inspire people to act and this is the direction Gia’s storytelling will focus on.
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Tom Papas Member

A 25-year veteran, experienced in creative design, project management and stakeholder engagement with arts and media organisations. My expertise in various aspects of festival management include administration, programming, graphic designing, marketing, event and media management and everything from formatting files and editing to writing print and online articles.

My years as festival director have been filled with highlights, introducing many screen and digital media initiatives that engaged thousands of people, from short film competitions to global film challenges that raise awareness, provoke and inspire social change with key stakeholders. I combine film programming with other art forms and introduced numerous special focus strands from new media screenings to educational programs.

Founder of Montage Film Festival (Wollongong) | Scifi Film Festival (Sydney) & Veterans Film Festival (Sydney)

I am passionate about exploring diverse representations in the film and media landscape, with a focus on creating festival experiences that bring people together to discover creative talent and gives artists a platform to tell their stories.

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