TropTalk Speakers


Looking to learn about more about cinema and the film industry?

Come and join us from February 13 to 17 at Western Sydney University for Troptalks - Tropfest’s ideas and education program, jointly presented with Western Sydney University.

Filmmakers and film lovers alike will hear from leading innovators and creators, Tropfest family and friends, as they discuss and debate contemporary topics shaping the screen industry today.

Here’s the lineup:

New Technologies in Filmmaking
Tuesday Feb 13 (From 6:30pm)
Western Sydney University, Parramatta City Campus


  • Adam Johansen is a co-director of the Oscar & BAFTA winning prosthetic and creature effects company ODD STUDIO. He has an amazing body of work, which includes some of the biggest films and television shows in the business such as Mad Max: Fury Road, Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith, Farscape, Wolverine, The Matrix, Where the Wild Things Are, Gods Of Egypt, Pirates Of The Caribbean 5 –Dead Men Tell No Tales and Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant.
  • Colin Ware has been an international make up effects artist for the last 30 years, making his mark with everything from corpses and monsters to superheroes and aliens. His feature credits include Saving Private Ryan, Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith, Where the Wild Things Are, Mission: Impossible, Alien: Covenant, Gods of Egypt, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and Mad Max: Fury Road for ODD STUDIO.
  • Michela Ledwidge is an artist and director redefining the space between cinema and games. She is co-founder of studio Mod and has been both the creative and technical lead on numerous productions including ACO Virtual which has been touring since 2013.
  • Lynette Wallworth is an Emmy Award-winning artist/filmmaker who has consistently worked with emerging media technologies. Her immersive installations and films reflect connections between people and the natural world, and explore fragile human states of grace. She has been awarded an International Fellowship from Arts Council England, a New Media Arts Fellowship from the Australia Council for the Arts, the inaugural Australian Film, Television and Radio School Creative Fellowship and the Joan and Kim Williams Documentary Fellowship, a UNESCO City of Film Award and the Byron Kennedy Award for Innovation and Excellence.

Genre Busters
Wednesday Feb 14 (From 6:30pm)
Western Sydney University, Parramatta City Campus
Moderated by Jason di Rosso, host of Radio National’s The Final Cut


  • Abe Forsythe has had three films in Tropfest, debuting at 16 with Guided By The Light Of The Lord (1998) and more recently Being Carl Williams (2009) and Shock (first place 2010). In 2016, his Cronulla riots-inspired black comedy Down Under was released theatrically and played in festivals around the world. He has just completed filming his follow up feature Little Monsters, a romantic comedy (with zombies) starring Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o, Josh Gad and Alexander England.
  • Maryella Hatfield is a film-maker and lecturer in Media Arts Production at Western Sydney University. She brings a background in industry practice to both areas of teaching and research. Her film The Future Makers, broadcast on Discovery Channel and screened in international film festivals, explores stories of some of Australia’s leading renewable energy scientists and innovators, focusing on potential solutions to climate change and damage to the biosphere.
  • Yolanda Ramke is the writer and co-director of 2013 Tropfest finalist Cargo. Yolanda went on to co-direct the feature adaptation of Cargo alongside Ben Howling. The film, which stars Emmy Award-winning actor Martin Freeman, will be the first Australian feature to be released globally as a Netflix Original.
  • Ben Howling has worked as a producer, shooter and editor on series such as Big Brother, Gladiators, Beauty & the Geek, So You Think You Can Dance, X-Factor and The Project. An avid music fan, he has also gone on to produce and direct video clips for artists such as Reece Mastin, YMS and Lazy J. His short film The Puppet was shortlisted for Tropfest 2012, whilst his sophomore effort co-directed with Yolanda Ramke, Cargo, garnered over 13 million views on YouTube and an impressive international festival run. In 2016, Ben went on to co-direct his debut feature film; an adaptation of Cargo.

Indigenous Storytelling
Thursday Feb 15 (From 12:30pm)
Western Sydney University, Sydney City Campus
Moderated by Daniel Browning, host of Radio National’s Awaye!


  • Catriona McKenzie’s first feature Satellite Boy premiered at Toronto International Film Festival in 2012, the Palm Springs International Film Festival, collected both the international and children’s juries’ Special Mentions at Berlinale and was nominated for an Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) Award for Best Film. Her other credits include episodes of The Secret Daughter, The Warriors, Dance Academy, My Place, Satisfaction, The Alice, the absurdist comedy Kiki and Kitty and The Wrong Kind of Black; and the pilot for the award-winning Redfern Now. Most recently, Catriona wrapped on Hoodlum drama Harrow (ABC), starring Ioan Gruffudd.
  • Anousha Zarkesh has been working as a casting director on films and TV for over 25 years. She specialises in top end Australian TV and film and has gained a reputation for offering a specialised service in casting championing cultural diversity and local Indigenous talent.
  • Tysan Towney is an exciting new Australian talent, starring in the highly anticipated ABC/Sundance television show Cleverman as Djukara, the US television series The Leftovers and most recently in Stan’s Romper Stomper mini-series.

Adaptation: Bringing Stories To Life
Friday Feb 16 (From 6:30pm)
Western Sydney University, Parramatta City Campus
Moderated by Chris Taylor, host of ABC TV’s Screen Time


  • Robert Connolly is a writer, director and producer, with credits including Balibo (2009), International Emmy nominated miniseries The Slap (2011), Underground: The Julian Assange Story (2012), The Turning (2013), Paper Planes (2014) and Barracuda (2016). Robert’s films have won numerous AFI/AACTA awards and, as a director, he has screened his films in over thirty major international film festivals including the Berlin, Toronto and San Sebastian International Film Festivals.
  • Saroo Brierley wrote the #1 international bestselling autobiography, A Long Way Home. The film Lion, based on his autobiography, was released in November 2016 and nominated for four Golden Globe and six Academy Awards.
  • Angie Fielder is an Academy Award® nominated producer and partner in Aquarius Films. She produced Lion, directed by Garth Davis and starring Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman and Rooney Mara, which was nominated for six Academy Awards® and five Golden Globe Awards in 2017. Other credits include Berlin Syndrome, Wish You Were Here and The Other Guy.
  • Marty Murphy is a lecturer at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School and Western Sydney University PhD student. With a background in arts and entertainment, his screen directing credits include the horror film Lost Things (2003).