Getting Them Young : First Steps In film – Roughcut 2015 Speaker Biographics



Michael Laverty

Micheal Laverty, Managing Director of Tropfest was born in South Africa and immigrated to Australia in 1999. He is on Australian citizen and lives with his family in Sydney. Michael has manages the Trpfest festival since 2002 and is a passionate supporter of the short film community. Micheal worked for a number of years in the film screening and distribution sector, is an active member of a number of community focused programs and spent many years involved in youth based projects direct at marginalised young people in South Africa. Micheal is from a finance background and has worked in the advertising, marketing and communications sector for over twenty years. He has an honours degree in business science and has completed a four year international MBA program. He is also a board member of the Australia Thai Institute (ATI).

Sothea Ines

Winner of Tropfest SEA 2014, Southes Ines never thought she would direct a film so early in her career. Born in 1989, she graduated in 2013 with a Bachelor’s Degree in media management from the Department of Media and Communications of the Royal University of Phnom Penh. Her career goal after graduation was, as with the majority of the students, to work as a press/communication officer at one of the numerous INGOs in Cambodia.

While studying in year 3 she took on a part-time hob writing a TV drama series, just to try it out. She enjoyed it so much that she continues as a writer on the next two series and her ambition changed. Bitten by the bug of storytelling, she realised that making films was the best way to tell the stories she wrote. RICE is her foray into independent film production; the first film she has written, directed and produced. The film has gone on to be screened at Cannes Film Festival and Raindajnce Film Festival, London.

Hannah Espia

A graduate of the University of the Philippines Film Institute, Hannah Espia is a director, producer, and editor currently under the Manila-based production company TEN17P.

Hannah made her directorial debut in 2013 with the much-admired drama Transit, which premiered at the Cinemalaya Film Festival 2013 and won an armful of awards including Best Film and Best director. The film went on to compete in various film festivals such as the Busan International Film Festival (New Currents) and Tokyo FilmEx, with its festival journey still ongoing. The film was also selected as the Philippines entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards, but was eventually not nominated. At the 2014 Gawas Urian Awards, Hannah earnrd the award for Best Director, making her only the 3rd female director to receive this award in the 37 Years of Gawad Urian.

Learning to Build Fire, Hannah’s 2nd feature film in development, is a semi-autobiographical drama about an interracial couple trying to make their relationship work within the timeframe of a 90-day Schengen visa. The project has received the Asian Cinema Fund grant for Script Development, and the Nest Masters Support Program for Project Development.

Lucky Kusawandi

Lucky Kusawandi is one of Indonesia’s most exciting young director. His film have been screened in International festivals worldwide, receiving accolades, awards and distribution. The Wall Street Journal praised Kusawandi’s work as “original and uncharted.” His clients have included Sony Entertainment Japan, Samsung Indonesia and P&G.

In 2006 he was invited to the Berlinale Talent Campus in Berlin, Germany; a forum for young, promising filmmakers. He was selected among more than 6000 applications around the world.

In 2008 he directed a documentary shortMiss or Mrs? as part of the anthology At Stake, with the support of Ford Foundation and Kalyana Shira Foundation. The documentary, about women in Indonesia fighting for their sexual rights, was screened in the prestigious Berlin Film Festival. In 2009 Kusawandi was nominated for the Young Laureates Awardgiven by Rolex.

In 2010 he directed his first full-length film Madame X. The film was nominated for 2 Asian Film Awards in Hong Kong, and won Best Film in Mis Copenhagen Film Festival. Variety praises the film as “an assured first feature… as much fun as it sounds.”

Kusawandi recently finished his second feature film In the Absence of the Sun, which was screened at the Tokyo International Film Festival. He is also working on an Indonesian LGBT Web Series “CONQ Web series with the Ford Foundation. He is now in post-production of his new film, The Fax Exploits the Tiger’s Might. It scheduled to be released in 2015.

Kudsia Kahar

Kudsia Kahar, who currently helms Star Radio Group as the Chief Operating Officer, is an icon in the radio industry. With over 20 years of experience. Kudsia is not only leading one of the biggest radio broadcasters in the country, she is also the President of Commercial Radio Malaysia that represents 21 commercial radio stations in Malaysia.

Her contributions and achievements in the industry vary from programming, announcing, producing, training of news and announcing staff, administrating to positioning and managing multiple number one radio brands that cater to different racial and age demographic groups. She was a pioneer in launching and managing Malaysia’s first formatted radio stations of different languages, targeting different racial and age demographic groups. In Malaysia, some of the biggest radio brands at one time or the other have been in the number one position under her management.

In 2008, Kudsia decided to leave her position as Vice President of Group Programming and took up a new portfolio that oversaw the organisation’s corporate strategy and industry development, in order to be involved at policy-making level and contribute to the development of the radio industry. She was given the responsibility to develop training and compliance which has since become standard industry practice among many commercial radio stations in Malaysia.

The continues development of the local music industry regardless of language was also a major local music people’s choice awards which for years become stalwarts of the local entertainment industry. Kudsia also has been a constant member of working groups at industry level comprising content, regulatory and advertising policies.

For more that 10 years, Kudsia also served as a jury member for Anugerah Industry Music (AIM) Malaysia and a few years as jury member for Anugerah Planet Musik (a trip-nation Malay music awards collaboration), deciding to step back from that role to concentrate on industry Development & Corporate Strategy in 2008 onwards.

Her efforts in promoting local music in Malaysian radio go for back and have since been recognised and awarded by RIM (Recording IndustryMalaysia).

Further, her work in broadcasting and passion for causes pushed on radio was also recognized by both Tatler Malaysia (for Mist Outstanding Young Woman category) and Marie Claire (for Woman of Style & Subsytance) magazines in previous years.

Then in 2011, with huge migration required and emphasis on the digital platform, Kudsia was given the task to shoulder the organisation’s new media business. Her presence in industry development however was still a importance to the organization and she was asked to head both departments simultaneously.

In late 2013, Kudsia Kahar was given the privilege to be part of University Sains Malaysia’s academic consultative board for the Mass Communication Department. Her presence continues to be acknowledge by the industry players. Not only that has she been appointed as the Chief Operating Officer of Star Radio Group, but also the first-ever female President of Commercial Radio Malaysia.

Conversations with The Stars

Sullivan Stapleton

Sullivan Stapleton is emerging as one of the most sought-after film stars, having landed the lead role in Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures’ 300: Rise of an Empire, the next film in the 300franchise. Stapleton stars as Greek general, Themistocles, who battles an invading army of Persians.

The aAustralian native is best known for his co-starring role role in the SKY/Cinemas television series, Strike Back. It is currently in production on its fourth season. Stapleton was also seen in the Ruben Fletcher-directed film, Gangster Squad alongside Dean Penn, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone.

In 2010, Stapleton garnered international recognition for his role as Craig Cody in Animal Kingdom. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival that year and went on to garner numerous awards and accolades. Acting honours include the 2012 Australians in Film “Breakthrough Award”, and a 2010 AFI nomination for Best Supporting Actor (Animal Kingdom).

Sullivan Stapleton has been working in the industry for over a decade. Past TV credits include regular roles on Australlia’s hit shows Satisfaction and The Secret Life Of Us. Past Film credits include The Hunter and December Boys. Stapleton was born and raised in Melbourne , Australia. he splits his time Off from filming between Melbourne and Los Angeles.

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